Our Ascension and Pentecost worship can sometimes use a healthy dose of spring tonic. A robust swig of solid Reformed doctrine will help to kick us out of our lazy, monochromatic approaches to these traditional festivals. Granted, a spoonful or two of Heidelberg or Westminster may be hard to swallow. But they will revitalize our worship planning by steering us to some rich biblical perspectives that we so easily ignore.
Articles in this issue:
Chris Stoffel Overvoorde. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2002. 800-253-7521. 210 pp. ISBN 0-8028-3953-3. $20.00.
We used this reading in place of the sermon for Pentecost Sunday at Beech-wood Presbyterian Church. It is written for three readers, but you could easily use more. We did feel that it was important for the same person (Reader 3) to read all the Scripture passages from the pulpit, thus setting God's Word apart from the rest of the narrative. We used the New Revised Standard Version of Scripture for the reading.
Alva William Steffler. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2002. 800-253-7521. 176 pp. ISBN 0-8028-4676-9. $12.00.
When I was the minister at a chapel situated on the edge of the University of Michigan campus, I would prop open the door to the outside so that I could watch the students walk by. As I sat in my office preparing the Sunday service or working on some of our weekday activities, 1 would frequently glance out the door, wondering who these students were and what it would take to engage them with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Phyllis Vos Wezeman and Anna Liechty. Colorado Springs: Meriwether Publishing, Ltd., 2002. 800-937-5297. 28 pp. $2.50.
A book of liturgical materials for twelve weeks. Each week introduces a different part of the worship service, from Call to Worship (illustration: a bell) to Benediction (an outstretched hand). Each week is scripted for an adult leader, four child readers, and a child to add the symbol for that week. The actual banner kit must be purchased separately.
"Their life's not natural!" a relative exclaimed when the subject of monks came up. Those few words made it clear that the monks' lifestyle had nothing to teach us.
Yet along the way, natural or not, I began visiting monasteries. After twenty years, I have seen many. They are wonderful places to experience hospitality, to go on retreat, and to find inspiration to pray. Gradually, 1 also grew to appreciate monastic worship.
Pamela T. Hardiman and Josephine Niemann. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2002. 888-933-1800. 196 pp. $20.00. ISBN 1-56854-368-9.
After introductory information on the liturgical year and celebrating rites and sacraments (from a Roman Catholic perspective), the authors provide helpful chapters on the basics of design and hardware, techniques for quilted fabric panels, block designs, and working from free-form drawings. Appendices include several detailed patterns and colored photographs.
Every two months, at 6:00 on a Sunday evening, three to four hundred people gather at St. Mary's Church (Lutheran) in Reutlingen, and in over fifty towns throughout Germany, to participate in an ecumenical worship service called the Thomas Mass. The service is advertised with the slogan "A worship for doubters and other good Christians." The term Mass comes partly from its Lutheran roots in Finland, but it also hints at the strong liturgical aspect of the worship. Both old and modern liturgical elements have their plate in the Thomas Mass.
David Philippart, editor. Published bimonthly by Liturgy Training Publications. 16 pp. per issue. $20.00 for one year. 800-933-1800; www.ltp.org.
Includes sixteen pages of full-color photos of beautiful worship spaces—interior and exterior, windows, liturgical furniture, and more (also includes ads). Roman Catholics take the relationship between worship and architecture very seriously, and each issue provides teaching to ponder as well as examples of beauty for visually starved Protestants to feast their eyes on.