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.
Articles in this issue:
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."
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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