This service was adapted from a New Year’s Day service prepared by Elizabeth Nanninga for First Christian Reformed Church of Orillia, Ontario. She is a member of the worship committee and serves as coordinator and leader of a praise team at her church.
Articles in this issue:
THIRTEEN AND THEOLOGICALLY PROFOUND
By all means read the Christmas story from Luke today. But if you want people to get what God is really up to, preach a Christmas Day message on Mary’s Song.
The commentary combines song notes found in the Leader’s Edition of Sing! A New Creation and additional comments by Emily R. Brink, editor of Reformed Worship. The song notes were written by a team of writers and edited by Ron Rienstra, associate editor of Reformed Worship.
God of Justice, Ever Flowing
Click to listen [ full version ]
Monday mornings, life gets a tad tedious here by the organ bellows. So I sneak up to the church office for some serious on-line conversation with my fellow church mice. No, I’m not worried I’ll be caught. The pastor religiously participates in some kind of ritual that involves hours of walking on a grassy field and some swift swooshes of a metal stick—these punctuated by a string of words that I never hear from the pulpit.
We’re janitors—my husband and I and our kids. There are times when I get tired of having to do it. But we need the money. And we do it together, our family.
I’ll admit that our being janitors makes me a bit hesitant to throw my lot in with those who’d love to stage Aida in our sanctuary, if you know what I mean. Extravaganzas—and Lattimore Park is good at extravaganzas—make janitors work overtime.
Q After many years of planning Advent and Christmas services, our worship planning committee wants to use Old Testament readings other than Isaiah 7, 9, 11 and 40. Do have any fresh ideas?
A Great question! Many congregations limit their search for Old Testament readings to texts from Handel’s Messiah (who would have ever guessed that a 17th-century oratorio librettist would have so much influence on worship today!).
Neal just e-mailed his topic for Sunday’s service. Texts are Genesis 1, John 1, and Ecclesiastes 3—“A Time to Be Silent.” Says there’s a rhythm between silence and speaking, a rhythm as old as creation, seen in the Incarnation. In the fullness of time, God finally speaks the Word into the world.
Makes sense to use silence in the service. The trick will be how to make the silence as lively and participatory as the singing.
Consider this scenario: All eyes are glued to the screen as the hero Indiana Jones attempts to save his dying father. This mission requires him to somehow cross what seems like an insurmountable chasm. He stands poised at the edge of the precipice overlooking the bottomless chasm. In his hands he clutches a scroll with instructions that suggest he simply “step out in faith.” That doesn’t make sense. As the audience waits in tense anticipation, the soundtrack builds to a crescendo and then falls quiet.
Increasing numbers of churches are celebrating World Communion Sunday on the first Sunday of October. It’s a service I look forward to more each year, especially as I get to know brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. Early this year I met several in Geneva, Switzerland, when I had the privilege of attending an International Consultation on Reformed Worship.
The marriage of rock music and church music has often been, well, rocky. Just think of the Catholic priest in the 1960s who changed the lyrics of Beatles songs to reflect a Christian message. Unfortunately, songs like “I Want to Hold His Hand” did little more than show that the church was desperate to try anything to reach young people.