Articles in this issue:
Robert E. Webber. Published by Star Song Group for The Institute of Worship Studies, Box 89, Wheaton, II. 60187, 1994.103 pages.
This small-group study course on Christian worship is the first of seven courses in the Alleluia! Worship series being prepared by Robert Webber.
Many congregations invite individuals or families to read Scripture and light candles in an Advent wreath at the beginning of Advent services. The readings provided here are correlated with the Scripture readings in the Revised Common Lectionary. Three sets are provided for each Sunday in Year A, which begins with Advent, 1995. Churches may choose readings the Old Testament, New Testament, or the salms, depending on the theme of the services during Advent.
THE FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT
The worship committee asked me to create a parament to hang in the sanctuary for the season of Advent. They wanted something that would enhance worship—that would help the congregation pause, reflect, wonder, and look during this season of anticipation and hope. I have made art for years and have occasionally had the opportunity to contribute my work to the church. But the request started me thinking again about the whole purpose of art in worship, both its pastoral and prophetic uses.
It's fall. You are already noticing the Christmas catalogues showing up in your mailbox. Though school has barely begun, your calendar tells you it is time to plan for Advent and Christmas. And the very thought of it makes you tremble just a little.
We used to hear about "music wars" in the church. But have you noticed the shift? Today we hear more about "worship wars" and "culture wars." As distasteful as the war imagery is, I take some comfort (as a musician) in finally seeing the discussions about music placed in the larger worship and cultural arenas—even though musical issues are still very close to the front lines.
Thanks for a Good Service
We made use of the service of lessons and carols "Unto Us a Child Is Born" (RW 33) for Christmas Day. We had good participation from readers and a child who bore the symbols (banners for the angel and lamb) to a front table where we could all visually appreciate the rich texts of Scripture. We expanded the reading of the shepherds into a first-person account, and we incorporated the Children and Worship manner of telling the story of Jesus, the Light of the World (Christ Candle).
The Christingle Service described on these pages is a service of light and ceremony, of song and symbol. Christingle means "Christ light," and the service focuses the congregation's attention on the hope and joy that light brings to a dark world. In the dark of winter, the coming of Christ, the light of the world, is a powerful message of hope.