I-to Loh and Pablo Sosa are highly respected authorities on congregational song, I-to Loh on Asian hymnody, and Pablo Sosa on songs from Latin America. We’re thrilled that both are planning to come to the 2003 Calvin Symposium on Worship and the Arts, and they’re looking forward to seeing each other again—previously they’ve worked together in international ecumenical conferences, including the World Council of Churches. Here is a brief introduction to both.
The commentary combines song notes found in the Leader’s Edition of Sing! A New Creation and additional comments by Emily R. Brink, editor of Reformed Worship. The song notes were written by a team of writers and edited by Ron Rienstra, associate editor of Reformed Worship.
All but one of the songs in this issue were included as part of service plans outlined in this issue of Reformed Worship. “My Soul in Stillness Waits” was sung as the opening hymn of every service during the Advent series from Hope Christian Reformed Church, Thunder Bay, Ontario (see p. 3). “O Gladsome Light” was recommended for the New Year’s Eve service plans (see p. 34). “Miren qué buenoÂ¡” was sung at the joint English/Spanish service at West End Presbyterian Church in New York City (see p. 24).
According to the Revised Common Lectionary, most of the Sundays from September through November fall under the general heading “Ordinary Time.” This designation is not meant to imply that these weeks represent an unimportant part of the Christian year. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Ordinary Time is a valuable reminder that the Christian life is an everyday vocation and is not reserved simply for special occasions.
The liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, and Easter take lots of time and energy. By the time Ascension Day and Pentecost come around, sometimes our energy is waning. The school year is coming to a close, choirs are finishing up, and we are looking forward to the freer time of summer. Suddenly Ascension Day is upon us. Since Ascension Day and Pentecost are two of the major religious holidays of the year, they deserve some special musical attention.
With this “Songs for the Season,” we again introduce songs on the working list for the new hymnal supplement being prepared jointly by CRC Publications, the Commission for Worship of the Reformed Church in America, and the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. This supplement is intended to introduce twentieth-century hymnody, praise music, and world music that will enhance Reformed worship.
The setting is a Protestant church in Havana, Cuba. The sanctuary is packed on this hot, humid June Sunday afternoon. Following the reading of la palabra de Dios (the Word of God), the pastor delivers the sermon. He speaks of esperanza (hope) and la paz de Cristo (the peace of Christ) during this “special time”—a euphemism used by Fidel Castro to refer to Cuba’s crumbling economy and the resulting suffering of the people.
Again in this issue at Reformed Worship, we offer a glimpse at the forthcoming Psalter Hymnal Handbook, a large project that is nearing completion at long last. You will be hearing much more about it in the next issues of RW!
In every issue for the past eleven years, Reformed Worship has included a set of "Songs for the Season," formerly called "Hymn of the Month." The criteria for selecting those songs include choosing something accessible to children, something old and something new, something based on a psalm, and something fitting for the particular season of the Christian year.
Are you looking for ways to bring a spirit of renewal to your worship this fall? One way to do that is to breathe new life into your congregational hymn-singing through the addition of istruments, soloists, children, concertato arrangements, reharmonizations, and antiphony.
The songs on these pages share three characteristics that might help you encourage revitalized hymn-singing in your worship this fall:
All of the songs in this issue of Reformed Worship—the three "Hymn of the Month" selections as well as the song on page 41—will be included in a new chUdrens hymnal scheduled for release by CRC Publications later this year. The new hymnal, Songs for LiFE, is designed for use with children in preschool through grade 6. It will be an excellent resource for church school, children's choirs, or Christian day schools. Some churches may even want to consider using it as a supplementary pew hymnal.