September 2007

RW 85
Advent/Christmas
Reformed Worship issue cover

Articles in this issue:

  • A Song Worth Singing

    This article continues the conversation begun in RW 84 by Martin Tel on the state of congregational song. —JB

     

    Martin Tel’s article “They Just Don’t Sing Like They Used To” (RW 84) outlines several cultural and architectural challenges to congregational singing.

    First, our culture has turned music into a commodity that is professionally produced and passively received.

  • Songs from the Gospels

    These three songs for Advent and Christmas are scheduled for inclusion in a forthcoming hymnal based directly on New Testament texts copublished by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and Faith Alive Christian Resources. The committee charged with selecting Scripture texts that are most likely to be connected to preaching texts for the collection has found it a very interesting exercise.

  • Pulpit Politics

    Though written from the perspective of someone living in the United States, the insights in this article apply to citizens of all nations. In the next issue of Reformed Worship we will address the same topic from a Canadian perspective. —JB

  • Setting the Table

    How should pastors prepare themselves and the churches they serve to participate in communion?

  • Each time we gather as a congregation there are those among us who are struggling with sexual temptation. As worship leaders we are called to help God’s people present our struggles—even the ones we’d rather ignore—before God and receive God’s care. We need to come before God honestly.

  • We Have AIDS

    Advent is a time of waiting and expecting thecoming of our Savior. The Hebrew people faithfullyawaited the promised Messiah during atime of captivity, and we also live and wait amidpain and suffering. We await the second comingof our risen Christ and we anticipate the fulfillment ofGod’s promises, even in the face of global tragedies.

    AIDS is one of those tragedies. With more than 12 millionchildren orphaned by AIDS (www.avert.org) and entiregenerations of people dying, it is time for Christians totake a stand.

  • I don’t know anyone who enjoys waiting. We do whatever we can to avoid it. We scrutinize each checkout line to predict which one will be the fastest. We speed up to make it through the yellow light so we don’t have to stop for the red. We use ATM machines, automated lanes, and Instant Messaging in hopes that we won’t need to wait. But try as we might, waiting is unavoidable. Christians are a people living in advent—an in-between time, a time of waiting.

  • Choosing a Solid Rock

    This New Year’s Eve service is really a series of three services connected by music sung by the congregation. Each section focuses on a different part of the Old Year or New Year.

    In the first section we thank God for what he has done for us in the past. In the second section we ask God to forgive us as we enter into a New Year, and in the third section we are reminded to start out the New Year with a solid foundation. Each section consists of songs, Scripture
    readings, a short reflection on the topic and the Scripture reading, and prayer.

  • Between Two Advents

    Some years ago Bill Murray starred in a movie that riffed on Charles Dickens’ classic story A Christmas Carol . Murray played the Scrooge figure in the film: a hard-nosed television executive who disliked everything about Christmas except for the fact that his TV network could make a lot of money off the holidays.

  • Q I feel that lay participation in worship has gotten out of hand in my church. People use the line “priesthood of all believers” to justify everything and the kitchen sink. Is this really what Luther had in mind when he stressed this doctrine?

    A My guess is that there’s more to your question than simply this doctrine, perhaps having to do with good communication within the congregation. Here I’ll simply address the doctrine itself.