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.
Articles in this issue:
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.
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.
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.
In April 2007, Robert E. Webber finished his eightmonthbattle with pancreatic cancer. There have beenand will be many tributes to him (see http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/aprilweb-only/118-12.0.html). Webber influenced countless worship leadersthrough his books and articles on worship renewal, histeaching in countless classes and seminars, and his expansiveand entrepreneurial vision in producing the amazingComplete Library of Christian Worship and in forming theRobert E.
This is the first of a two-part series on the church year. Part 1 presents a general context for the use of the church year and a brief introduction to the Christmas Cycle (Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany). Part 2 will discuss the Easter cycle (Lent, Easter, Pentecost)—the most ancient of the church seasons, as well as the twentieth-century developments that have pointed us back toward this useful tool for telling the good news.
O ComeEmmanuel:A MusicalTour of DailyReadings forAdvent andChristmas byGordon Giles.ParacletePress, 2006.
This daily devotional for Advent andChristmas by Gordon Giles, vicar ofst. Mary Magdalene’s Church, Enfield,North London, presents one entry foreach day from December 1 throughJanuary 6. Each daily entry includesthe text of a hymn or carol, the authoror source of the text, and a tune nameoften associated with it.