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September 1998

Roll Call of Light Bearers: A candlelight service based on the Matthew 1 genealogy of Christ

The genealogy in Matthew 1 provides a list of "light bearers," saints whom God used to prepare the way until Jesus, the true Light of the world, was born. In this service, we walked through Matthew's genealogy, highlighting a few of the light bearers he mentions with some Scripture readings and songs that help us see why their particular light shone so brightly. The version printed below does not include the actual Scripture texts; however, we did prepare a script of the service including all the texts for the Scripture readers.

Letters

RESPONSE TO THE LORD'S SUPPER ISSUE (RW 48)

Thank you so much for the special issue on the Lord's Supper! I'm ordering copies for each member of our worship committee.

I especially appreciated Leonard Vander Zee's "Too Spiritual for Our Own Good." He's right about the centrality of both Word and sacrament in New Testament worship. The early Christians celebrated the Lord's Supper weekly without fear that it would thereby become routine and meaningless.

I'm Waiting: A thoughtful approach to using the Advent wreath in worship

Once again the Advent season approaches, and with it comes a challenge for many congregations: How do we light the Advent wreath with integrity, so that its lighting encourages and enables a faithful passing on of the Christian faith?

Faced with this challenge, our congregation developed certain standards or guidelines for the rite of lighting the candles of the Advent wreath. Specifically, we want this rite to

Notes

RW WINS AWARDS AT ACP AND EPA CONVENTIONS

If you ever visit our offices at Reformed Worship, we'll show you our growing hallway gallery of awards received from the Associated Church Press (ACP) and (the Evangelical Press Association (EPA). Those organizations, consisting of several hundred religious periodical publishers, hold annual conventions and offer awards in a number of categories based on the previous year's issues.

Congratulations to several of our authors and staff for these 1997 awards:

From the Realms of Glory: An angel banner and bulletin notes for Advent

God used angels to announce the news of the coming of Christ. As I thought about the first coming of Christ and the promise of his second coming, the following Scripture verses came to me—and out of those verses came the concept and design for the angel banner. The Scripture verses were placed in the bulletin for each Sunday of Advent and Christmas Day. Along with the banner, those verses served as an invitation for the people to prepare their hearts for worship.

Coming Home for Christmas, page 2 of 2

CHRISTMAS EVE/DAY
CALL TO WORSHIP

(Psalm 97:1, 12)

The LORD is King! Let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!
Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!




LIGHTING THE ADVENT WREATH

First Person: [lights the white Christ candle] Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life."

Take Two Praise Songs and Call Me Monday Morning

Got time to browse through this editorial before heading straight for the service helps? Great! Let's take a quick tour of heaven together. Yup, heaven—not Sioux Center, not Vancouver—but heaven, the real thing. Will they let us in? Yes, but not to stay. Not yet. Not quite dressed for the occasion? Don't fret. The clothes we received when we took on Christ are whiter than we know. No wrinkles, and not a trace of starch either. So let's take a peek. See that elderly gent over there? That's our tour guide. Name's John.

The Care and Keeping of Church Musicians: It takes money and a lot more, page 1 of 2

At the end of a typical week a church musician may have served in any number of complicated and varied roles: counselor, teacher, guide, disciplinarian, stage director, consultant, financial planner, worship leader, accompanist, program director, rock musician, classical musician, researcher, biblical interpreter, babysitter, set-up crew, cleanup crew, and more. Was it worth it? If the congregation was led to a more inspired worship of God, then yes, it was worth it. Can it be done again next week? Next month? Next year? That depends.

Every Time I Feel the Spirit: God's actions told through the musical and literary heritage of African Americans

While on vacation, a member of my congregation attended a jazz worship service that she enjoyed immensely. She wondered if we might try something similar. I had heard about jazz worship services but wasn't sure how to put one together. To take a regular order of service and insert jazz music into it seemed ill-advised, yet so did a radically altered worship service that bore little resemblance to what normally occurs on Sunday mornings.

More Than Technique: All worship planners and leaders have a pastoral calling

This article is adapted from an address Witvliet gave at the inauguration of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.

Most of us probably read Reformed Worship for practical ideas. We want to find resources, songs, texts, scripts, and images that we can use in our congregations—preferably by next week.

Mary Remembers: A children's Christmas drama

Mary, the mother of Jesus, had many memories that "she treasured in her heart" (Luke 2:51). In this drama, we meet both the young Mary and the older Mary, who remembers and tells once more the wondrous story of how Jesus was born. All the parts can be played by children except for the older Mary, who could well be one of the children's worship leaders in the congregation.

Characters

Coming Home for Christmas, page 1 of 2

An Advent and Christmas series that reaches out to inactive members and neighbors

Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go! Do you remember singing this bouncing little piece as a child? I sure do!

It was my song.

And it didn't seem to matter that the trip from Battle Creek, Michigan, where I grew up, to Kalamazoo, Michigan, where Grandma and Grandpa Brown lived, didn't include a single river crossing and hardly any woods.

Songs for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany

The songs selected here are on the working list of a supplement scheduled for release in the year 2000.

TWO ADVENT HYMNS
As the Deer

Wisdom from Afar: God comes to humankind in ways that God's own

When I read the note, I went perfectly blank. I thought about what it said for every moment of the afternoon, even though I finished the mid-semester meetings without anyone suspecting a thing. I went about my work as if I hadn't read what I had. I kept it all in. I told myself that I'd call her immediately when I got home.

My daughter is pregnant—my daughter the lawyer, my daughter the lawyer who is not married.

On Children's Sermons, Blended Worship, and Introits

Q. In our church, we begin every service with something called an "introit." What does that term mean?
—Georgia

Books: The Presbyterian Hymnal Complete Concordance and Indexes; Hymnsearch; The Presbyterian Hymnal

The Presbyterian Hymnal Complete Concordance and Indexes, compiled by Judith L. Muck. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1997. 340 pp. Paper $26.00.
Hymnsearch: Indexes for The Presbyterian Hymnal, compiled by William S. Smith. Jackson, Mississippi: William S. Smith, 1995. 458 pp.
The Presbyterian Hymnal: Software Edition, produced by Steve Metzger. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1997. CD-ROM with some documentation. $199.00.

Book: Between Sundays: Daily Bible Readings Dased on the Revised Common Lectionary

BGail Ramshaw. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1997. Paper, 140 pp. Reviewed by Emily R. Brink, editor of Reformed Worship.

Book: Sourcebook of Worship Resources

vol. 1 (232 pp.) 1994, vol. 2 (244 pp.) 1996, Communication Resources, Inc., 4150 Belden Village St., 4th floor, Canton, Ohio 44718. $39.00 per volume. Reviewed by Al Hoksbergen, a retired Christian Reformed pastor living in Spring Lake, Michigan.