In the front of the church where I worship, we have always had a beautifully proportioned cross that is mounted against a light-colored wall. This wall is lit from both sides, and where the light mixes in the middle, there is the most interesting vertical stripe of light. Because of its prominence and the lighting, I wanted to do something with the cross--something different than our usual crown of thorns and purple cloth, perfectly draped for Easter. Something for Advent.
Articles in this issue:
Responses to the Hosea Service Series for Advent
At the beginning of our fifteenth year of publishing Reformed Worship, we’re introducing a few changes. You may have already noticed some new design features; more significantly, we welcome Ron Rienstra as new associate editor. Ron is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America; he’ll be working with us while also continuing his association with Calvin College, where he directs student-planned and -led worship services every Sunday night during the school year.
New from CRC Publications
Three more Scripture Alive: Dramatic Readings from Scripture scripted by Bert Polman are now available. $14.95US/$21.70CDN. Order by phone (800-333-8300) or on the web: www.crcpublications.org.
God Speaks, Creation Listens: The Story of Beginnings
(40 minutes; order no. 415112)
Savior of Her People: The Story of Esther
(40 minutes; order no. 415110)
Heal Us Today: Stories of Jesus the Healer
25 minutes; order no. 415111)
FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT
Service Plans and Sermon Sketches
for Advent and Christmas
“The King Shall Come” by Michael Burkhardt, Five Advent Hymn Improvisations (MorningStar MSM-10-004, 1991)
“The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns” by David Johnson, Preludes and Postludes, Volume 2 (Augsburg 11-9319, 1973)
Partita on “Freu dich sehr, O meine Seele” by Johann Pachelbel, Selected Organ Works, Volume 4 (Kalmus 3763, reprinted by Belwin Mills)
Every year around Halloween, our worship committee strains brains and resources: How can we memorably, intelligently, and accurately place worship of God above “Trick or Treat” to our increasingly diverse congregation? We have many from various Protestant and Roman Catholic backgrounds, and some who claim no Christian heritage at all. Thus in 1999 our Reformation Day communion service tried graciously, seriously, yet somewhat lightheartedly, to present three main Reformation-era figures in a conversation imagined from eternity.
Recognizing that some people may be going through difficult times when they worship, our worship committee came up with an idea for a Thanksgiving service that speaks about giving thanks both when we are “in the desert” and when we are “in the promised land.”
Each year near the end of October the congregation at LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church gathers for an evening hymn festival. Last year the festival was called “Songs of the Covenant,” a service focusing on various biblical characters with whom God kept covenant. While the hymns and anthems were central to the festival, the pastor’s brief meditation entitled “Why Are They Singing?” set the tone and explained the theme for the entire service.