March 2005

RW 75
Ascension/Pentecost
Reformed Worship issue cover

Articles in this issue:

  • Few events in the life of Christ are as underappreciated as the Ascension. We often become so concerned about how to picture it that we do not move on to consider its significance. In fact, trying too hard to imagine or depict the Ascension can result in images that reduce Jesus to a kind of person-shaped rocketship blasting off for points unknown. Nor is this a new problem. Numerous chapels dedicated to the Ascension in European cathedrals have sculpted ceiling designs that feature a pair of stone feet dangling out of a stone cloud.

  • Quentin Schultze. Baker, 2004. 103 pages. $10.99.

    In the past five or so years thousands of churches of nearly every liturgical tradition and style, size, denomination, and setting have begun using electronic media in worship. The rapid rise of presentational technologies has made a big impression and created some confusion as well. Electronic media has our attention, but have we stopped to ask whether such media is appropriate for worship? What are the limits? What are the criteria for theologically responsible use?

  • After returning from the Calvin Symposium last January (2004), I began to think of ways I could implement some of the ideas I came away with. One of the results was this Pentecost service, inspired by several services at the symposium as well as previous resources in Reformed Worship and The Worship Sourcebook (TWS). Our congregation invited three area churches for this evening service in order to get a larger choir as well as a full church. Unfortunately, there was a tornado watch in our area that night, so Pentecost had to be put on hold for two weeks!

  • My firstborn got married this summer. The setting was the church she’s attended ever since she was three months old. In these familiar and well-worn surroundings she and her new husband spoke the vows of a lifetime.

  • Art, in its many forms, touches the soul in powerful ways. It helps people bring their bodies and emotions into worship, as well as their minds. As more and more people find that they are visual learners, the integration of the arts into worship becomes more and more important. This is something I am acutely aware of as an artist and something I struggle to put into practice. I would like to share with you a process that has helped me realize some of my dreams about worship and art.

  • Letters

    Appreciated Resource for Those with Alzheimer’s

  • This litany of food and stewardship comes from the 1990 Hunger Packet distributed by the Mennonite Central Committee (www.mcc.org) and is used by permission. It journeys through the Bible, recalling how hunger and poverty are deep concerns for God.

  • Notes

    Bible Studies on Worship Available on the Web

    Every month a new Bible study on worship written with worship committees in mind will be available at www.calvin.edu/worship. The studies, which provide thoughts and questions aimed to spark study and discussion, will deal with issues and Scripture passages that are relevant to the tasks of worship leaders and planners.

    Hymn Search

  • For more information about this touring company of professional Christian actors, visit www.friendsofthegroom.org. The group in the photographs is the Youth Drama Team sponsored by Friends of the Groom (made possible through a grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship): Julia Albain, Robyn Hubbuch, Becca Long, Becca Maher, Aimee Morton, David Morton, Annie Sluka, and Jacqueline Voss.

  • The Lord’s Prayer has often been a source for structuring congregational prayers. This service is actually an extended prayer based on the Lord’s Prayer and the commentary on it in the Heidelberg Catechism (Q&A 120-129). It was designed as the conclusion to a preaching series on the Lord’s Prayer; each of those services also included sections of the Heidelberg Catechism.