The following worship service took place at the Ridgewood Christian Reformed Church of Jenison, Michigan, on the Sunday evening before Christmas—traditionally a candlelight service involving the adult choir. This year we wanted to expand the involvement to include the junior choir and as many teens as possible. Since Christmas is a family time, we felt it was important to include all ages and make it a family gift—our gift to God, celebrating his gift to us.
Articles in this issue:
Three wise men
Children dressed in costumes representing some nationality. Each carries the flag of the country represented; for our drama we chose
—South Americans (Venezuela)
—Native Americans (Canada)
[Stage is two levels of risers, empty except for a floor mike, a lectern, and a candle. Angel enters.]
One of my strongest memories, of growing up is the tradition we and many others used to share of coffee time after church on Sunday morning. Mom would always bake a cake on Saturday, and Dad would often invite visitors at church to come over for coffee, perhaps to stay for dinner. As a matter of course, one of the topics of conversation was the sermon we had just heard. I cut my theological teeth on those conversations, while listening to the adults wonder about this point or that emphasis or that interpretation.
Lament is a sign of both honest faith and resolute hope. When we worship together, we bring with us our experience in the world, from our most profound joys to our most painful sorrows. Like the Old Testament psalms, thoughtful liturgy allows us to express the whole range of our experience in ways that are fitting to the message of the gospel.
Once more in this issue, we have selected (some Q&A's from the final section of Authentic Worship in a Changing Culture, a report to the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) synod in June 1997. The purpose of this study is to equip church leaders with perspectives and insights that will help them make decisions about worship—decisions that are biblically and theologically informed as well as culturally discerning.
Quiz time! Without digging out that old bulletin, what did your pastor preach on last Sunday morning?
Not a clue? You're in good company. You belong to the ninety-and-nine percent of the Coro's sheep who don't remember either.
HARK,THE GLAD SOUND!
THE SAVIOR COMES
Again in this issue at Reformed Worship, we offer a glimpse at the forthcoming Psalter Hymnal Handbook, a large project that is nearing completion at long last. You will be hearing much more about it in the next issues of RW!
Leading in Worship by Terry L. Johnson. Oak Ridge, TN: The Covenant Foundation, 1996.184 pp.
Worship in Spirit and Truth by John Frame. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1996.171 pp.
Here are two books by conservative Presbyterians who do not at all agree on how Presbyterians (and other Christians) ought to worship.
Johnson's book consists of two main sections—an essay on Reformed worship and a collection of liturgical resources. We'll look at the second part first.
with Sue Mitchell-Wallace. Kingston, NY: Selah Publishing Company, 1995, in cooperation with The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. Two videos with accompanying 44-page workbook. $80.00.
I've had the privilege of singing in a congregation with Sue Mitchell-Wallace at the organ. In these helpful videos, she offers a resource that will provide any organist—or pastor or congregational member—a stimulating and challenging view of the high calling of leading God's people in congregational song at the organ.