Let’s be honest: those of us who plan and lead worshipare often exhausted by January 1. Too oftenwe pour our imagination, energy, and time into theworship services and programs of the season andthen crash afterward. After a few decades of thiscycle, a few lessons have emerged for me. Try them on forsize, and just for fun use the lyrics at the end to sing themto the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
Articles in this issue:
Genealogies often look like a grocery list of names. But if you
take the time to “listen,” a genealogy reveals a story—a thread
woven into the history of a family that connects one generation
to the next.
The genealogy in Matthew 1 tells the story of Christ’s human
ancestors; evidence that God became flesh and dwelt with us. Jesus
was born into a family whose history, like ours, is filled with stories
of heroes and stories that people might prefer to leave hidden.
At Inglewood we try to involve all age groups inworship as much as possible. For this servicethe children created a banner of many of thenames of Jesus; Scripture readers representedevery age group; high schoolers distributedcandles; the junior high group lit the candles. Both adultand children’s choirs participated in the service. Thenames of Jesus were projected on a screen as the serviceprogressed.
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.
- In Matthew's Gospel There Are Five; Angels in the Field Appear; My Soul Does Magnify the Lord
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.
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.
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.