The following service from First Presbyterian Church, Slidell, Louisiana, was planned cooperatively with a conscious effort to include the congregation. The whole congregation was involved with singing and some Scripture reading. In addition, the church choir sang, six narrators took part in various readings (including those marked unison), and the children created covers for the service booklets (which included the words to all the music and readings).
Articles in this issue:
All the readings and music in this service intentionally focus on light; the service is appropriate for Christmas Eve, Christmas, or Epiphany. Multiple songs are listed; we encourage you to choose songs that would work best in your worship setting.—JB
In RW 80 the column “Songs for the Season” featured the song “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah,” which has been changed in some hymnals to “Guide Me, O My Great Redeemer.” The fact that RW on this occasion did not change the text prompted Bert Polman to write this challenging and informative essay.
"I want more of that!” a toddler loudly asserted during the children’s worship time one Sunday morning. She had just eaten bread during “the feast,” and her appetite had been whetted. Those nearby smiled, the meaning not lost on them. Many in this congregation had a similar desire to experience more, in particular more of God’s nearness through extended times of worship. A typical Sunday service is just a snack. They wanted to feast.
Nestled in the heart of Central Valley California is a church that daily exemplifies community and growth. First CRC in Visalia, currently pastored by Rev. George Vink, is a vibrant and active congregation dedicated to serving the community around them while caring for the spiritual growth and well-being of their own members.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it (Heb. 13:2).
These days hospitality may most often be associated with a Martha Stewart-esque home decor complete with fluffed pillows and fresh flowers placed just so. In Scripture, though, it means something quite different than creating the perfect environment. Instead, hospitality refers to creating a space in which relationships can develop.
I despise change! That may be an odd statement coming from someone who has moved repeatedly, attended four post–high school institutions, and worked as a high school teacher, youth pastor, research assistant, and editor, not to mention the biggest change of all—adopting an infant. Regardless of all that change in my life, I am no fan. Change destabilizes, creates tension, and requires us to adapt. Frankly, it is often uncomfortable, at least for a while.
A Prayer of Thanksgiving for Ministry
[This prayer is included in the bulletin for people to pray during the preservice music. Worship begins when entering the worship space.]
“Glimpses of Glory” marks the beginning of a new column, Reflections. It is our prayer that Reflections will be a source of spiritual encouragement as you are used by God in the leading of his people in worship. —JB
What we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2b).