September 2006

RW 81
Advent/Christmas
Reformed Worship issue cover

Articles in this issue:

  • The Longest Night

    The Gathering

    Our service will begin with fifteen minutes of contemplative music for healing. During this time you are invited to come forward and light votive candles as a visible sign of your prayer(s) of remembrance and hope.

    Lighting Candles for Others, Ourselves, and Our World

    Music for Healing

    Hymn: “Jesus, Remember Me” PsH 217, SFL 168, SNC 143, WR 285

  • Whether you know it or not, your church likely has the potential for creating an orchestra or instrumental ensemble among your own congregation. Why should you consider doing so? As the psalmist so exuberantly proclaims in Psalm 150, because tambourine and trumpet, strings and flute—even loud crashing cymbals—offer fitting praise to our Lord! You’ll find that using the talents of church members is an excellent way to add variety and interest to hymn accompaniments and other music, as well as involving more people in the ministry of the church.

  • Off the Wall

    The large platform in the front of the church I belong to is made of wood. Recently, an hour or so before worship was to begin one Sunday morning, a large light fixture decided it had had enough and fell with a loud clatter to the floor—that is, we assume it was a loud clatter. No one was present to witness it. Because the area of the wood floor where the lamp hit had to be repaired and refinished, everything had to be removed from the platform. The platform furnishings were brought down into the worship space helter-skelter so the repair people could go about their business.

  • Sing a New Song

    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).

  • A Service of Light

    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

    Prelude

    Welcome

  • What's in a Name?

    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.

  • All-Night Worship

    "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.