Food is one of the cornerstones of God’s good creation. It nourishes and sustains God’s creatures. Its richness and diversity brings joy to many who delight in the bounty of gardens and grocery stores. But whenever food is hoarded, over-consumed, scarce, or withheld, it can also be emblematic of the brokenness of humanity. When access to nourishing food is lacking, justice is also lacking.
This series of services based on the parable of the prodigal son was developed by Rolf Bouma when he was copastor of Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was influenced by Henri Nouwen's The Return of the Prodigal Son and Robert Farrar Capon's The Parables of Grace. Bouma also acknowledges contributions by others in churches where he preached this series, including copastors Leonard Vander Zee and Roy Berkenbosch at Eastern Avenue and Paul Brink and Charlotte Larsen of the Ann Arbor (Michigan) Christian Reformed Church.
Opening is structured as congregation is accustomed. Songs should be celebrative. Include the song "And Jesus Said," by Gloria Grindall and Joy Paterson (see RW 41, p. 32). Include prayers of the people in this section.
Opening is structured as congregation is accustomed, with emphasis on praise for God's gracious-ness. Suggested hymns include "I Will Sing of My Redeemer" (PsH 479), "Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing" (PsH 501, PH 466, RL 362, 363, TH 164).
God Embraces Us in Grace
Drama: The Wayward, Wanton, and Wasteful Daughter (see p. 24)
In this reflection on Romans 13:11-12, Pastor Kelderman tells the story of the death of one of his parishioners. Kelderman first presented this message the week the parishioner died and repeated it as part of an Easter Vigil service at COLAM1991.
Duane and Carl are preachers. It's Wednesday noon, and they're having lunch together at Burger King. Over a Whopper and a large order of fries they discuss the meat and potatoes they'll be dishing up for their congregations on Sunday.
This lunch is a regular part of their week. If s also a regular and important part of their sermon preparation.
This service is intended for the first service of a new calendar year or as a Watch-Night Service. Churches might use such texts as 2 Chronicles 16:9 or Hebrews 6:13-20 to emphasize God's commitment to us during the new year. Psalms and hymns are selected from the 1987 Psalter Hymnal (PH) and Rejoice in the Lord (RL). Scripture verses are taken from the NIV.
CALL TO WORSHIP
Congregation, what is your source of comfort and encouragement?
Worship is at the heart of congregational life. Without so much as knowing the word liturgy, the people of God bring their praises and gifts, listen to the Word, are fed at the table, and are strengthened by each other's fellowship. Our congregational worship is good and pleasing to the Lord.