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Content about Church Year (Year A)

March 1, 2007

Our church follows the seasons of the Christian year and the lectionary Scripture passages, changing banners and colors accordingly. When we planned a service called “Singing Through the Christian Year,” it provided us with the opportunity to “walk through” the Christian year in one evening and to reprise many of the choir anthems we had learned and used in services over the past year.

September 1, 1998

Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go! Do you remember singing this bouncing little piece as a child? I sure do!

It was my song.

And it didn't seem to matter that the trip from Battle Creek, Michigan, where I grew up, to Kalamazoo, Michigan, where Grandma and Grandpa Brown lived, didn't include a single river crossing and hardly any woods.

June 1, 1996

We are off on a journey—a four-week venture into familiar and unfamiliar territory. What follows are a series of suggestions for sermons, liturgies, and bulletin covers for the month of October, beginning with World Communion Sunday and ending with Reformation Sunday. The familiar part of our journey is our chosen theme, "A Better Righteousness," suggested by the lectionary lessons of the current year (cycle A).

March 1, 1996

It may seem strange for someone whose ministry career has focused on new-church development and seeker-sensitive worship to be following the lectionary. But I have found the discipline of following the series of lessons from the Old and New Testaments an ongoing discovery of the rich relevance of the Bible for contemporary hearers.

September 1, 1992

It was Heidi's fourth birthday, and we had planned to go on a family outing to Playland in Rye, New York. As we sar-dined ourselves into the "birthday mobile," we were in a festive mood, ready for a day of fun and celebration. But just as we were about to pull out of the driveway the telephone started its ominous j anglings. The kids were armed with ready wisdom, "They'll call back— c'mon, Dad." But Dad didn't listen; the Calvinist tug was too intense.

September 1, 1992
Metrical Psalms

A New Metrical Psalter, Christopher Webber, Church Hymnal Corporation
Psalter Hymnal, CRC Publications, 1987
Rejoice in the Lord, Eerdmans, 1985
Trinity Hymnal, Great Commission Publications, 1990

September 1, 1992

Singing Scripture has always been a cherished part of Reformed worship. In fact, most of the early Reformed Christians limited their singing to scriptural texts, concentrating on the psalms. John Calvin himself said, "Singing [the psalms] we may be sure that our words come from God just as if he were to sing in us for his own exaltation."

September 1, 1992

The following brief song services were prepared for the Sundays after Epiphany in 1993; the topics were chosen to correspond with the Revised Common Lectionary (Year A) for that season. These song services could be used in the morning service during this portion of the church year, as part or all of a second-service hymnsing, or at any other time in Christian worship (independent from the use of the Lectionary). Selections not in your hymnal could be sung by a small group taught by rote and sung from memory, or printed in the bulletin (with proper copyright permission).

December 1, 1989

Lent is a time of spiritual preparation, six weeks long, leading us on an intentional journey into the Easter rising of new life. Our challenge in the next few weeks is not just to experience the salvation journey of Christ, but to respond to it and live it.

September 1, 1989

Sermon and hymn suggestions for Epiphany

In The Service of God: How Worship and Ethics Are Related (Abingdon, 1983), William H. Willimon says that before preachers can summon the congregation to action, "We move aside and point the people to see God who has summoned us, telling them what we see and hear… The first job of the preacher is to give them a vision so true, so concrete, so clear, so demanding, so gracious, so alluring that it evokes their most courageous response" (p. 156).

March 1, 1987

The Common Lectionary (see REFORMED WORSHIP 1) provides pastors with a guide for preaching on the Christ-centered events and teachings of the liturgical church year. Below are the Scripture passages that year A of the lectionary suggests for the Sundays from Easter to Pentecost. Also listed are hymns and service music that focus on the themes of the resurrection and the presence of Christ in our lives. Hymn page numbers are given for four hymnals:

The Hymnbook (HB)

September 1, 1986

The practice of preaching according to a lectionary is an old one, although Reformed and Presbyterian churches have not always used this method. The lectionary encourages both pastor and congregation to focus on the great salvation events recorded in Scripture. (See the article on page 14 for further background.)