March 2005

RW 75
Ascension/Pentecost
Reformed Worship issue cover

Articles in this issue:

  • As the time for the worship service approaches, church members gather in the sanctuary, animatedly sharing stories about sick children, new babies, workplace conflicts. Suddenly the sanctuary light flickers on and off. Rather than showing surprise, parishioners take their seats facing the altar. There is no prelude. Pastor Dorothy Sparks smiles broadly as she makes the parish announcements. But the voice I hear is not Pastor Dorothy’s.

  • When we hear Scripture read in worship, it is usually in carefully chosen chunks or discrete units. The Bible, however, is one large overriding picture/story of God’s action with his people, written down over many generations. It contains hugely complex overlapping images and concepts, like a tapestry of multiple interweaving strands. The overall effect has a rich and vibrant depth, as individual elements placed next to each other bring out a whole range of associations and meanings.

  • Edited by Tim A. Dearborn and Scott Coil. Baker Books, 2004. 206 pp. $16.99.

    Whether you are a worship planner or leader, or simply have a desire to participate more fully in corporate worship, this helpful collection of previously published articles will raise important questions and offer a path for exploring worship today.

  • 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