We've all heard them—those words that strike fear in the hearts of choir directors everywhere: "And what are you doing for Christmas?" Each year, toward the end of the summer, we start struggling with the annual problem. Our minds begin sorting through sundry ideas and possibilities, recalling the successes of Christmases past, searching for just the right combination of music and the Word.
Articles in this issue:
Every Christmas Sunday at Pultneyville Reformed Church we do away with the sermon. In its place, we have our children present the Word of God.
Pastor Buntz was out of town—strategically, Mona Lefers thought—at a seminar on relationships held, of all places, in Las Vegas. Diane Kramer (the "other woman," as Butch Vermulm liked to call her) had season tickets to the symphony, so she was absent too. Grady Fisher had tried, but failed, to get out of his daughter's Girl Scout banquet.
Welcome and Prayer
Hymn: "Hours and Days and Years and Ages"
The Lord Is My Rock
Scripture Reading: Psalm 62
Family Choir: "God Is Like a Rock" (2)
Hymns (by congregation):
"Built on the Rock"
[PsH 503 TH 351]
"God Is My Rock"
Why Celebrate Epiphany?
Epiphany seems particularly appropriate for a gentile church. It reminds us that God did something quite remarkable: he extended his grace to those who were originally outside the covenant. As Paul reminds the Eph-esians, we were aliens and strangers, but Christ made us part of the new Israel.
The following brief song services were prepared for the Sundays after Epiphany in 1993; the topics were chosen to correspond with the Revised Common Lectionary (Year A) for that season. These song services could be used in the morning service during this portion of the church year, as part or all of a second-service hymnsing, or at any other time in Christian worship (independent from the use of the Lectionary). Selections not in your hymnal could be sung by a small group taught by rote and sung from memory, or printed in the bulletin (with proper copyright permission).
On the Navajo reservation, many congregations are small. People know each other well, and the informal worship service flows naturally into a fellowship meal. Families worship together, feeling no need for nurseries or childrens worship. If it gets a little noisy, the minister just speaks a little louder!
The service that follows is told in narrative and outline form. See the sidebars in this article for specific examples of prayers and other liturgical elements common to a typical Navajo Christian Service.
Old Testament: Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalter: Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Epistle: Romans 15:4-13
Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12
Two years ago a freak tornado whirled its way through Wyckoff, New Jersey. "This never happens here; this isn't Oklahoma," said the old-timers. Many of us shared that sentiment. What can you count on anymore when even weather patterns, that normally don't produce such destructive entities, prove unreliable?
Although the name Lowell Mason may be unfamiliar to many his hymn tunes are among the best known and best loved in our hymnals. It was Mason, for example, who composed the stately, reverent melody for "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" and the majestic strains of "Joy to the World."