It’s hard to have a relationship with ants. Try as you might, they’re just not very good listeners, and they seem to pay little mind to humans. Granted, ants are marvelous creatures with amazing strength and a way of communicating and working together for the good of all that serves as an object lesson for humans. But since they can’t communicate with us, there is no relationship.
So why are we including a series on Romans in this Ascension/Pentecost issue? Because Romans helps us see what a difference Christ’s resurrection and ascension make in the lives of believers and highlights the role the Holy Spirit plays in our daily striving to become more like Christ.
This article shows how a focus on creativity changed a church’s worship. Through a Worship Renewal grant, the congregation of First Presbyterian Church in San Bernardino, California, was able to create meaningful, intergenerational opportunities to express the image of God the Creator in members young and old.
There are many different ways to tell the story of the Protestant Reformation. A favorite centers on the heroic tale of Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk newly convicted by his discovery of Paul’s forensic
gospel, furiously hammering his ninety-five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg. The Reformation is thus launched by a kind of medieval blog post about justification by faith that becomes the catalyst for a theological
Why This Dark Conspiracy/Psalm 2
Psalm 2 may be best known through that famous aria in Handel’s Messiah in which the bass thunders and the strings shudder: “Why do the nations so furiously rage together? And why do the peoples imagine a vain thing?”
There is not one square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’”
O comforting fire of Spirit,
Life, within the very Life of all Creation.
Holy you are in giving life to All.
Holy you are in anointing
those who are not whole;
Holy you are in cleansing
a festering wound.
O sacred breath,
O fire of love,
O sweetest taste in my breast
which fills my heart
with a fine aroma of virtues.
O most pure fountain
through whom it is known
that God has united strangers
and inquired after the lost.
If you’ve ever watched a group of dancers on one of those reality so-you-think-you-can-dance shows on television, you might have asked yourself “What makes this group so much better than the last?” When a group is in sync with each other through each movement and transition, that makes them stand out. It’s the unity within the choreography—both physical and emotional—that heightens the excellence of a dance piece.
Over the past fifteen months, it has been my joy to worship with more than forty congregations from twenty different denominations as part of our family’s sabbatical in southern California. It would take a book to unpack all the things we experienced. For now, here is a brief report on eleven things that we noticed—some to celebrate, some to ponder, some to lament.
A service in which every congregational song is a Genevan psalm? In this day of blended services, of drawing on song resources in many styles and from the global community? That is exactly what First Christian Reformed Church did on Reformation Day in 2010.
When the prayers of the worshiping community, the small group or family, and the individual are formed and guided by the psalms, the result is a balanced, God-centered, complete diet of prayer. People grow in grace and God hears what God is waiting to hear. Here are some examples and suggestions for including this diet in Sunday worship and throughout the week.
Note: All Scripture quotations in this article are from the NRSV.
Q: How can we publicly welcome children who are ready to participate in the Lord’s Supper for the first time without putting too much pressure on very shy children?
A: Churches are wise to find ways to publically celebrate this milestone moment in children’s lives. Here are a few suggestions from a variety of congregations for doing so in age-appropriate ways:
This worship outline is adapted from the opening service of the "With a Shout: What Difference Does the Ascension Make for Everyday Life?" conference held on Ascension Day 2006 at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Litanies and prayers marked TWS are from The Worship Sourcebook, 2004, Faith Alive Christian Resources (www.faithaliveresources.org).