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Content about Psalms

April 17, 2018

We often lead services that focus on a particular part of the gospel story, but we rarely step back to see the big picture—the “metanarrative,” as it is sometimes called. A Tapestry of Grace is a hymn festival that does just that, telling the story of God’s love from the garden of Eden to the new Jerusalem.

February 10, 2015

In 2009, Emily Brink and Paul Neeley participated in two worship conferences in Pakistan co-sponsored by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) and the Tehillim School of Church Music and Worship (TSCM). Rev. Eric Sarwar, a pastor in the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan and founder of TSCM, arranged both conferences, one at the Presbyterian Seminary in Gujranwala, and the other hosted by Christ the King Roman Catholic Seminary in Karachi.

November 11, 2014

In 2009, Emily Brink and Paul Neeley participated in two worship conferences in Pakistan co-sponsored by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) and the Tehillim School of Church Music and Worship (TSCM). Rev. Eric Sarwar, a pastor in the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan and founder of TSCM, arranged both conferences, one at the Presbyterian Seminary in Gujranwala, and the other hosted by Christ the King Roman Catholic Seminary in Karachi.

February 14, 2014

O God, you are like coffee to me!

. . . I thirst for you in the morning when I wake.

. . . Your warmth continues to travel through me.

. . . I return to you throughout the day and get renewed and refreshed.

May 9, 2013

The psalter has long played a prominent role in the worship of Christians in the Reformed tradition. John Calvin held the newly reformed church to the singing of the inspired words of the psalms. In the nineteenth century, particularly in North America, Reformed denominations began to accommodate hymns by binding them to the back of their psalters. The Christian Reformed Church (CRC) has maintained this “Psalter Hymnal” format right up to the twenty-first century.

November 20, 2012

We all have a story to tell. But as Christians, our story is God’s story. We are called to tell our stories in order to tell “the old, old story of Jesus and his love.”

December 1, 2010

The following article, though not typical for Reformed Worship, is well worth spending some time on. Pastors, musicians, and worship planners alike can benefit from considering the pairing of text and tune and the challenges that arise from a plethora of choices. In addition, several denominations are in the process of developing new hymnbooks for congregational song. This series of articles provides a glimpse of some of the detailed discussions that take place when considering the pairing of texts and tunes.

—JB

August 31, 2010

The following article, though not typical for Reformed Worship, is well worth spending some time on. Pastors, musicians, and worship planners alike can benefit from considering the pairing of text and tune and the challenges that arise from a plethora of choices. In addition, several denominations are in the process of developing new hymnbooks for congregational song. This series of articles provide a peek into some of the detailed discussions that take place when considering the pairing of texts and tunes.

—JB

May 31, 2010

A colleague and friend once described a game she played with her children. They called it “I’ve got a song for that.” It was an opportunity to nurture in her kids a repertoire of songs for times of joy or sadness.

May 31, 2010

A colleague and friend once described a game she played with her children. They called it “I’ve got a song for that.” It was an opportunity to nurture in her kids a repertoire of songs for times of joy or sadness.

May 31, 2010

My quest to understand the psalms of lament began in the midst of a deep period of depression. I had spent a wonderfully rich two months in Ethiopia, recording Christian Somali music for broadcast from Ethiopia over Somalia. During my time there I received numerous “prophetic words” that doors would open for me when I returned to Canada. But within a few short months of my return I was unemployed and living in the basement of a friend’s parent’s house. My familial home had burned down and a friend of mine had committed suicide.

May 31, 2010

My quest to understand the psalms of lament began in the midst of a deep period of depression. I had spent a wonderfully rich two months in Ethiopia, recording Christian Somali music for broadcast from Ethiopia over Somalia. During my time there I received numerous “prophetic words” that doors would open for me when I returned to Canada. But within a few short months of my return I was unemployed and living in the basement of a friend’s parent’s house. My familial home had burned down and a friend of mine had committed suicide.

May 31, 2010

The biblical heading for Psalm 102 is “The prayer of an afflicted person who has grown weak and pours out a lament before the Lord.” In the honest and vivid language typical of the psalms, the writer expresses a cry of pain and desolation, coupled with a poetic and, strangely, almost clinical description of the emotions, thoughts, and physical symptoms of a dying person. So how might we use this psalm in pastoral ministry and worship?

I suggest using the adaptation of Psalm 102, found on the next page, in at least two pastoral settings.

May 31, 2010

When someone makes profession of faith at our church, after all of the important theological questions are answered, my favorite question to ask is, “What talents or abilities might you be able to share with others in our church?” The answers are what you’d expect: “I like kids, so I’d be good working in the nursery or teaching Sunday school”; “I own a business, so I think I could be a good deacon”; “I can sing, so perhaps I could join a praise team.” But never once have I heard, “I can paint” or “I can sew banner

May 31, 2010

May 31, 2010

May 31, 2010

Early this year I began working on an article for RW on the liturgical use of difficult psalms. Then on January 12 we received the news that an earthquake had struck the island nation of Haiti. By Sunday it was evident that the number of people killed, injured, or homeless would be measured in the hundreds of thousands. That Sunday morning I worshiped with two different congregations. The first congregation offered impassioned prayers for Haiti, but in a liturgical context that did not deviate from the plans laid out earlier in the week.

May 31, 2010

Early this year I began working on an article for RW on the liturgical use of difficult psalms. Then on January 12 we received the news that an earthquake had struck the island nation of Haiti. By Sunday it was evident that the number of people killed, injured, or homeless would be measured in the hundreds of thousands. That Sunday morning I worshiped with two different congregations. The first congregation offered impassioned prayers for Haiti, but in a liturgical context that did not deviate from the plans laid out earlier in the week.

May 31, 2010

Imagine a piece of art that you would like to hang or install in your home. If it’s a painting, you’d want to frame it and then find the right spot in the right room for it, so that your viewing of the painting would be enriched by its placement. If it’s a sculpture, you’d want to find the spot that best honors the piece and allows you to enjoy it fully.

May 31, 2010

As our worship committee planned a service around Psalm 130, we were reminded that this is a Psalm of ascents, sung by the people of Israel as they approached the temple to worship. The psalmist begins in the depths of sin, moves to trusting in God as the One who forgives, and concludes with a communal call to trust in God. Wanting to remain true to the text, we planned our service as a journey moving from sin to trust. This momentum helped us all to acknowledge our need for a Savior and to go forward, confidently trusting in the Lord’s compassion.

May 31, 2010

As our worship committee planned a service around Psalm 130, we were reminded that this is a Psalm of ascents, sung by the people of Israel as they approached the temple to worship. The psalmist begins in the depths of sin, moves to trusting in God as the One who forgives, and concludes with a communal call to trust in God. Wanting to remain true to the text, we planned our service as a journey moving from sin to trust. This momentum helped us all to acknowledge our need for a Savior and to go forward, confidently trusting in the Lord’s compassion.

May 31, 2010

Growing up in a conservative Reformed church in the Netherlands, I sang only from the Genevan Psalter, a collection including all 150 psalms that was created hundreds of years ago under the supervision of John Calvin.

Behind this almost 500-year-old practice was the belief that singing the words of the psalms together meant we were singing the divinely inspired Word of God.

May 31, 2010

Growing up in a conservative Reformed church in the Netherlands, I sang only from the Genevan Psalter, a collection including all 150 psalms that was created hundreds of years ago under the supervision of John Calvin.

Behind this almost 500-year-old practice was the belief that singing the words of the psalms together meant we were singing the divinely inspired Word of God.

May 31, 2010

It’s time we held a special service of prayer for the Middle Eastern Church.

Some of you may be taken aback by this. Is there such a thing as the “Middle Eastern Church?” Is there really a Christian presence in the Middle East? And if there is, what does it look like?

May 31, 2010

Am I really supposed to pray like this? That is the question I kept asking myself when I first started praying through the psalms. I tried to make the prayers “my own” but found that I could not. I tried to pray through the psalms in their totality—their joy, anger, praise, lament, exultation, despair, longing, and hope—but it was just too much for me. I wanted these prayers to echo through the depths of my heart. I tried praying through the psalms in a week, in a month, in three months.