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Why and How to Worship with the Christian Year

There are a number of ways that worshipping in concert with the Christian liturgical calendar benefits churches, their established memberships, and inquirers or novice Christians. In fact, one lesson to draw from an interview with Japanese church leader Takayuki Ashida is that the less Christian a society, the more valuable is the embodiment of the liturgical calendar. For inquirers and new Christians, the Christian Calendar functions as a valuable outreach and catechism tool as it rehearses God's entire salvation plan from Advent to Christ's resurrection, to the life of the church in Ordinary Time. Even mature Christians benefit from the recurring rhythm of the year, with its ability to imbue daily life with the story and practice of Christian experience and values. For churches as institutions, following the Christian year enables planning far in advance, enabling worship leaders to be more reflective, mindful, and intentional in thinking through and enacting the salvation story, building on each element year by year. The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, a project of Calvin Seminary to promote and support Christian worship renewal, has posted several related articles supporting the adoption and embodiment of the Christian Calendar. The interview with pastor Takayuki Ashida makes a case for embracing the discipline of the liturgical calendar; in a related interview, the director of worship arts and music at Beckwith Hills Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., Kevin Soodsma, adds his perspective on the advantages of worshipping with the church calendar for integrating worship and preaching elements. In a 12-page downloadable PDF primer on how to worship with the church calendar, Howard Vanderwell of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship seeks to encourage and empower congregations to observe the liturgical seasons, to better understand themes of the Christian Year and to more intentionally embrace and express them in worship. You might also appreciate our feature article, "Beyond the Worship Wars: Creative Ideas for Renewing Church Services," and our "Best Resources on Spiritual Practices." 



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