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Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Book of Worship - John Randall Dennis

The Book of Worship: 365 Inspiring Readings Based on Worship Songs and Classic Hymns by John Randall Dennis is designed to follow the weeks within the Church Year.

It includes the author's selections of hymns and choruses for every week in the year along with minor adaptations to Thomas Cranmer's collects from the Book of Common Prayer (the English is mildly updated for modern style and vocabulary).

Here's what I find valuable about it:

1. This author serves as a bridge between the theologically oriented pastor's concern for faithful worship and the congregation's yearning for "modern songs". Without agreeing with every selection, one can at least respect the author's guiding principle: each song must contain or allude to a biblical reference or references.

2. It presents these musical selections in the appropriate order for the church year to help the busy pastor prepare worship services that are seasonally relevant. It also helps keep the music in sync with the season and scripture readings while increasing the breadth of the congregation's muscial repetroire.

3. It puts the venerable collects of the Book of Common Prayer within the grasp of church members who will simply find this to be a very accessible aid that can be used in private or family devotions bringing the worship of the church into the home.

4. It includes devotional readings that pastors and church members may find thought provoking and helpful for personal or corporate devotion.

For such low price, I consider it a worthy compliment to more technical prayer books and worship books.

It can be a quite helpful tool in congregational renewal to help you bypass the worship wars