March 2007

RW 83
Ascension/Pentecost
Reformed Worship issue cover

Articles in this issue:

  • If we’re honest with ourselves, we know we’re not always in the “right” frame of mind to plan or lead worship. Much as we might hate to admit it, outside factors do affect our view of worship at a Tuesday night planning meeting or a Sunday morning service. We may be struggling with financial issues, grieving the loss of a friend, or dealing with a family member’s difficult illness. Or we may just be tired and crabby after a long day or a traffic jam.

  • When Steve Caton gets that glint in his eye and I see that hint of a smile working around the edges of his mouth, I know he has something unusual in mind.

    Steve, the Director of Worship and Arts at Covenant Life Church, had just stuck his head in my door and said, “How about if we have the congregation go out into the community for some kind of service activity on that Sunday?” I knew exactly which day he was talking about: an upcoming Sunday when he and many key members of our worship leadership team would be out of town.

  • Ascension Talk

    Sing! A New Creation includes a delightful little sung meditation by John Bell of the Iona Community that has as its opening line, “Take, O take me as I am; summon out what I shall be” (SNC 215).

  • Q: Why should we observe Trinity Sunday when it isn’t a clear event in Scripture? What is gained from dedicating one Sunday a year to this theme?

    A: It is true that Trinity Sunday is unlike Pentecost and Christmas in that it doesn’t focus on a particular historical narrative.

  • Union with Christ is the basis for our relationship with the triune God. By it we may join Jesus in joyful communion with the Father in the loving bond of the Holy Spirit so the deepest longings of our souls are satisfied. The meaning of our lives unfolds in loving and serving the God with whom we are united. This, in turn, leads to communion in love with others and meaningful service to the world.

  • If I say that good worship requires good chemistry, I imagine you’ll think I mean the kind of chemistry that exists between preachers and musicians, or between hymn text and melody. But at The King’s University College we recently discovered that good worship can also include good chemistry of the traditional bubbling test tube, don’t-spill-the-acid variety—and we learned that the converse is also true: good chemistry requires good worship.

  • In a phone conversation with my sister, I mentioned that I had led a session at a conference called “With a Shout! What Difference Does the Ascension Make for Everyday Life?” There was a long pause on the other end of the line, followed by a bewildered “Why would you spend a whole day talking about the ascension?”

  • Reviews

    Experiential Worship by Bob Rognlien. Navpress, 2005.

    This volume is a treasure for all who are eager to move beyond balance, blend, or convergence in worship to a holistic, communal encounter with God.

  • Our God goes up with shouts of joy!
    Our Lord ascends to the sound of trumpets!
    All: Sing praises to our God, sing praises!
    Sing praises, sing praises to our King!
    The Almighty rides in triumph.
    The Almighty leads captivity captive.
    Who shouts for joy?

  • Letters

    We want to hear from you! Send us a letter or an e-mail (info@reformedworship.org) with how you have used and adapted ideas and articles from Reformed Worship or other suggestions you may have.