September 2009

RW 93
Advent/Christmas
Reformed Worship issue cover

Articles in this issue:

  • A Community Banner

    The purpose of Reformed Worship is to support the creative and discerning process of worship planning and leadership. We hope that churches will adapt all the resources included in this journal, but sometimes we wonder how they’re doing that.

    We were encouraged by the following note from Mary Winters, particularly because her whole church got involved in the project. We share this with you in the hope that you will find it equally encouraging. —JB

  • A Christmas Dilemma

    I admit it. I’m a self-professed worship nerd. I’ve been known to match the color of the runner on my office table to the current season of the church year. In fact, just about all the décor in my office and home is liturgical in nature. I like to surround myself with reminders of who I am in the much larger scheme of God’s plan of redemption. At Christmas, of course, the décor includes a nativity set.

  • Q My pastor was explaining John Calvin’s understanding that in the Lord’s Supper “the Holy Spirit lifts us up so that we commune with Jesus in heaven.” This sounds beautiful—but it also sounds pretty far-fetched. The Lord’s Supper doesn’t feel, taste, or look like heaven. What are we to make of this?

  • Who Is Jesus?

    For this Advent series we created dialogues where parents would speak informally with their children about who Jesus is. Each week we sang Graham Kendrick’s “Meekness and Majesty” (SNC 109), which contrasts Jesus’ divinity with the humble circumstances of his birth. These dialogues accompanied the lighting of the Advent candle each week.

  • Review

    The Message in the Music: Studying Contemporary Praise & Worship
    Robert H. Woods and Brian D. Walrath, eds. (Abingdon, 2007)

    This excellent study seeks to give a balanced assessment of both the text and music of contemporary worship music by studying the seventy-seven most commonly used songs in American churches as reported by CCLI (the copyright licensing company).

  • A Universe of Promise

    How far and deep does the meaning of Advent go? Christmas can easily become sentimentalized with nativity scenes or mistakenly celebrated as the beginning of an escape to heaven. Our worship planning group tried to bring out a sense of the deep adventure that Advent really is by drawing in the cosmic scope of Christ’s incarnation in the world.

  • News, Notes and Letters

    New Search Engine for RW

    Searching just became much easier on the RW website, as it is now powered by Google. Search results are more accurate and comprehensive, making it much easier to navigate the large amount of material available. Check it out!

  • What Child Is This?

    This service is modeled after the renowned “Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols” heard every Christmas Eve over BBC radio. It was first drawn up by Archbishop Benson when he was Bishop of Truro for use in that Cathedral. In 1918 it was simplified and modified for use in King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England, by Eric Milner-White, who, at age thirty-four, had just become dean of King’s College.

  • “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’ When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.”
    —Matthew 2:1-3

  • The Advent/Christmas/Epiphany cycle is a time of newness: a new liturgical year begins with the first Sunday of Advent. A new year on the secular calendar begins before the cycle is done. And let’s not forget the new babies in the stories!