When worship leaders get together, they inevitably trade favorite new songs with the eagerness of children on the playground swapping Pókemon cards. Part of this is the earnest desire to find and share with others “the good stuff” amid the staggering amount of new music available today. Another motivating factor is simply a desire to see what others are using in their churches.
Articles in this issue:
After all the busyness of Christmas, it can be a relief to plan a simple service to mark the end of the year. Our pattern for New Year’s Eve has been to invite everyone for a potluck supper, a time of worship, and then a party that lasts as long as people want to stay. Because there will always be some people who have no invitations or plans for New Year’s Eve, we extend an open invitation for this time of worship and fellowship. People come with a hot dish and salad or dessert as well as munchies for the evening.
Q. Each week in worship, we read from both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Sometimes the New Testament readings are direct fulfillments of the Old Testament prophecy that is read. Sometimes these passages seem entirely unrelated. Why?
A. First, I’m happy to hear that you have those two readings each week. This is a wonderful way of ensuring that the congregation is exposed to a balanced diet of biblical readings. It gives a sense of God’s actions over time.
At 10:55 we still needed a tambourine player, someone for the castanets, and a third for the wood block. I also noticed that the tune listed in the bulletin for “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” was not the one the organist had been cued to play. At 11:01 I slipped into my seat in time to hear the last announcement and sucked in air as the liturgist shifted our focus to worship. This was not an atypical Sunday morning at Grace Church.
Compiled by Terri Bocklund and Rob Glover. Minneapolis: Augsburg/ Fortress, 2000. 263 pp. $29.95. ISBN 0-8066-3874-5. 1-800-328-4648.
This book is just what you’ve been waiting for. The church is swimming—drowning?—in new music written for worship. We can’t keep up, let alone organize, evaluate, and learn all the new songs coming our way.
Fifty years ago, on the 200th anniversary of Bach’s death, composer Paul Hindemith gave a speech titled “Heritage and Obligation.” Like Hindemith, many composers since the time of Mozart have felt some kind of obligation to Bach’s heritage—composers as diverse as Mendelssohn, Chopin, Brahms, Stravinsky, and the jazz pianist John Lewis.
John D. Witvliet, Editor. ©1999 by Choristers Guild (CGBK64; www.choristersguild.org); published in cooperation with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (www.calvin.edu/worship); distributed by the Lorenz Corp., 501 E. Third St., Box 802, Dayton, OH 45401. 125 pp. $19.95. Reviewed by Carrie Vroege, Prospect Park, New Jersey.
Anne Francis drove alone to church last Sunday night, the car silent in light traffic, Frank sitting back home in front of some scandalous segment of 60 Minutes.
“How long has it been,” he had said, “six weeks now, maybe?”
She knew what he was thinking because she was thinking it too.
“I know it’ll be a prayer service tonight,” he told her. “I can feel it in my bones, Annie. I’m just not up for sharing tonight, so I’m sitting this one out.”
Hal H. Hopson. Carol Stream: Hope Publishing, 1999 (Code 8013).1-800-323-1049. 222 pp. $49.95.
Sunday morning has arrived. The children are dressed in clean clothes. Once seated in the pew, mom and dad breathe a sigh of relief and worship begins. Or does it? In our attempts to keep the kids quiet, most parents pass out the candy and become adept at the meaningful glance. The result? Kids become skilled not at worship but at daydreaming the hour away. So even though the family can make it through a service of worship, they may not be worshiping God together.