When Heaven Stands Open- A Review

ImageA few weeks back the power of social media became apparent to me...again. I got an email from a person I've known online a little and met in person once or twice asking if I would be willing to review a liturgical resource by Timothy Matthew Slemmons, that she was working with. My first thought was, "Liturgical Resource? I'm in!"

The resource is called Liturgical Elements for Reformed Worship...I know catchy, right? The volume I have had a chance to look at is called "When Heaven Stands Open: Liturgical Elements for Reformed Worship, Year B"

I have had some time to read this resource and I can say I am excited to have a resource on my shelf that I can turn to for solid, scripturally based, and Reformed prayers and liturgical pieces. I find myself at a dearth of that kind of resource and as a new member of the solo pastor club I find it refreshing and helpful to now have a go to book from which to round out worship on a weekly basis.

I know that I will use other resources but the prayers and other pieces in this resource I believe will become key elements in the rotation of worship leadership. Many of those other resources, especially the Book of Common Worship, seem to provide prayers that don't seem to fit in the contexts that I have served. They don't feel right. The prayers I have been able to read feel right. They feel like they speak to me and will speak to my community. 

I was especially drawn by this quote from the Series Forward regarding the nature of this resource, why it was created, and my belief that in order to move a more complete God-consciousness we first acknowledge our weakness.

It is from this point of deep conviction that this series of liturgical resources is sent forth, not because every element will necessarily do justice to the sense in which perpetual repentance is the most frequently overlooked and distinctive “essential tenet” of the Reformed tradition (and because the most distinctive, therefore the most essential, so to speak), but for the simple fact that repentance, self-examination, confession, and the good news of forgiveness deserve far better than to be reduced to the formulaic.

I hope this resource will give voice to my Reformed roots as well as open up those roots to growth as I, as a pastor, seek to shepherd those in my care to follow Christ and share the Good News of the Gospel.