SPRING FORWARD!!

In last spring’s issue, I wrote about the season of Ordinary Time, which falls between Pentecost and Advent. Sometimes referred to as Kingdomtide, this season in the liturgical calendar often concentrates on growth: growth of God’s kingdom, the church, and the spirit of the individual. A perfect pairing with the season of growth in the natural…

RING IN THE NEW WITH THE OLD

Many of the symbols we use in worship today pre-date Christianity or have roots in other traditions, including the secular. As we have made them our own, they have given us tangible ways of expressing the deeper aspects of our faith that lie beyond words. The Advent season is a prime example of “borrowing” from…

THROUGH THE VALLEY

When disaster strikes, whether in the form of nature, violence, war, or other tragedy, the church becomes a place of refuge and solace. While many of us attended services in our own churches after 9/11, television stations aired a service from the National Cathedral for the nation-at-large and those around the world. Humans need ways…

SING TO THE LORD A NEW SONG!

Singing is mentioned throughout the Bible as a way to praise God. Singing “a new song” occurs at least seven times in the Old Testament, and twice in the book of Revelation. I love old hymns (as well as the oldies and classic rock on the radio), but for those of us who are writers,…

MANY PEOPLE, ONE BODY

The word “bread,” in the original languages of the Bible, appears close to 500 times in the Old and New Testaments. It is a prominent symbol, woven throughout Scripture. Christ, the bread of heaven and the bread of life, was born in Bethlehem which means “house of bread.” Bethlehem was the home of Naomi, who…

A Litany for Heritage Sunday or Homecoming.

LEADER:​ You are living stones, cut from Christ, who is our Rock and Cornerstone. PEOPLE:​ We are members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. Brought together by faith with those who testified before us, we stand on their shoulders. LEADER:​ In Christ, the whole building is joined together….

O Chrismon Tree! O Chrismon Tree!

Many churches decorate a Chrismon tree during the Advent and Christmas seasons. The Chrismon (literally, Christ’s monogram) tree is decorated with symbols of Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection. As we recall his birth, the tree stands as a remembrance to his overall life. Either an evergreen tree or a bare-branched tree may be used….

NOW THANK WE ALL OUR GOD –– GIVING THANKS IN DIFFICULT TIMES

This generation, like those that have come before, says that we are living in difficult times. We are not unique in making this declaration: All times are difficult in their own way to those living in them. What matters is how we live in those times. One of the Thanksgiving hymns of my childhood is…

HAVING A MUSICAL CONVERSATION

I grew up with the tradition of responsive readings, long before litanies were printed in our Baptist order of worship. It was the only time I could talk during the service without getting in trouble! By listening to the voices around me, I learned how to read in unison, when to pause, where phrases began…

FINDING MEANING IN THE “ORDINARY”

The long stretch of weeks we refer to as “ordinary time,” the period between Pentecost and Advent, makes up half of the liturgical year. It is called “ordinary” not because it is commonplace or routine, nor because it doesn’t contain a major Christian holiday, but because its Sundays are counted by ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd,…

FLOWERS AS ALLELUIA

When I think of flowers and Easter, white lilies are always the first to come to mind. The front of our sanctuary was always decorated with pots of white lilies given by the congregation in remembrance of a loved one. Their glorious fragrance filled the auditorium, the scent of spring and new life and resurrection…