A Week of Preparation

Lastly, we receive this holy sacrament in the assembly of the people of God, with humility and reverence, keeping up among us a holy remembrance of the death of Christ our Savior, with thanksgiving, making confession of our faith and of the Christian religion. Therefore no one ought to come to this table without having previously rightly examined himself, lest by eating of this bread and drinking of this cup he eat and drink judgment to himself. In a word, we are moved by the use of this holy sacrament to a fervent love of God and our neighbor.

-From Article 35 of the Belgic Confession of Faith

We had the privilege of celebrating the Lord’s Supper at my church last Sunday morning. The next time we will enjoy the bread and wine together will be in April. This infrequent celebration of the Sacrament at our church is the result of many decades of a weak tradition in the Dutch Reformed churches, an unfortunate habit that seems nearly impossible to break ourselves of despite the efforts of many brave souls. What the Word of God proclaims and what the confessions teach concerning the Sacrament loses out time after time to the old, “but this is the way we’ve always done it.” I think the practice of celebrating Communion less-than-oft has programmed many people into thinking that the Table is on some level far higher up than the preaching of the Word. It has become a ‘special occasion’ one must get ready for far ahead of time because of its ‘specialness.’ The reason it is so rarely celebrated, some say, is so that it doesn’t become a common thing resulting in apathy.

I don’t know exactly how we got to the Dutch Reformed ‘once-in-a-blue-moon’ communion from Calvin’s weekly communion, but one thing that isn’t helping us get it back is the notion that we are required to undergo a special week of self-reflection and ‘the old college try’ at holy living for a week before we can partake. Most of my fellow Dutchmen will know that I’m taking about the so-called ‘week of preparation,’ a ‘holy week’ that takes place four, six, or sometimes even twelve weeks out of a year in our churches, a week that begins with a preparatory exhortation during a preparatory service.

Six Sundays from next we will once again read a preparatory exhortation form from the back of our Psalter Hymnals to help us prepare for the Lord’s Supper which will be celebrated in seven Sundays. The preparatory exhortation form itself isn’t all bad, it directs our thoughts the way the Heidelberg Catechism does; in the knowledge of our sin and misery, in how we have been delivered from our sin and misery, and how we are to thank God for such deliverance. The exhortation is also right when it reminds us that “we do not come [to the Table] claiming any merit in ourselves” but clinging only to the merits of Christ. But why do we need a special form to direct us to these things? Did we lose our confidence in the preaching of the Gospel? Does the form communicate something that can’t be communicated in preaching? And why do we think we need this special instruction a full week before we come to the Table?

We’ve adopted an unhealthy and quite un-Reformed practice in setting aside a ‘holy week’ to prepare to come to the Lord’s Table. Even though the preparatory form itself does not blatantly tell us to try as hard as we can for a week to make ourselves worthy partakers, we almost can’t help but come away with this impression. I sometimes wonder how many people come to the Table the next Lord’s Day thinking, “I’ve done my best in the last six days, and I’m as good as I can be right now.” God forbid that I ever come to the Lord’s Table with “my best.” I also wonder how many people are driven to the point of deep despair during the week of preparation because they just can’t seem to get out from under the weight of the law, always looking inward for ways to make themselves right with God rather than looking outward to the all-sufficient Savior.

Was a week set aside for inward reflection, self-loathing, and keeping a tally of one’s evil deeds and good works what Guido had in mind when he penned the words of article 35 of the Belgic Confession? Is this what Paul meant for us in I Corinthians 11? When I read the words of Article 35 of the Confession I wonder who wouldn’t want to be fed at the Lord’s Table and partake of Christ and all His benefits every week, and thus be moved week after week to ‘a fervent love of God and our neighbor.’

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About Rick

I am not my own
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44 Responses to A Week of Preparation

  1. Mike Brown says:

    Zrim,

    Did I mention that the California carrot includes weekly commion and NO (read: zippo!) preparation forms, weeks or services?

    Oh yeah, and the real Joshua Tree is within driving distance. You know, where the streets have no name (this side of the consummation)?

    OK, I’ll leave you alone now.

  2. Rev. Brown –

    Don’t forget to dangle the carrot of having great interns!! 😛

    Mark

  3. Mike Brown says:

    That’s right! How could I forget! And the whole staff of White Horse Media to boot!

  4. Rick says:

    Yeah, lets all leave our midwest churches to rot in their traditions of men- shaking the snow of the town off our boots on the way out.

    Brownie (as you shall be called when you are snide) , if you’re not going to comment nice…you may find yourself down on the Roll again.

  5. Mike Brown says:

    LOL! OK, no more carrots, I promise. ‘Sides, it’s not like we don’t have our own set of challenges out here.

    Seriously, I commend you brothers for what you are doing. If you are not there, who will be salt and light?

  6. Echo_ohcE says:

    Great post Rick!

  7. Zrim says:

    Rick,

    Really good stuff. Nice work here. As an outsider in oh, so many ways, this is another Dutchism I have never really understood: the trail of tears sinners must endure before they may proclaim His death until He comes again is odd to say the least.

    Mike,

    You have no idea how often I have thought about taking that carrot. At one point I thought my calling may have been out there (we scouted Christ Reformed in ’97 while I was at CTS and Christ Reformed was still CRC). Alas, as John Lennon says, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Now I must wait for my creational calling to call me there so that I can make my kingdoms come together like a proper Reeses’ peanut buetter cup. Something tells me I am in for a long wait…

  8. RubeRad says:

    I attended a Mennonite church that held communion only Annually! I don’t recall any special preparational exhortation leading up to it, but they did have the church all decked out special (like many churches decorate for Easter and Christmas).

  9. RubeRad says:

    You know, where the streets have no name (this side of the consummation)?

    I think you’ll find that the streets in Joshua Tree NP have quite ordinary names, like Park Blvd, Pinto Basin Rd, etc. Last time we stayed there, we camped on Jumbo Rocks Campground Rd.

  10. Mike Brown says:

    Rube,

    Well then it’s clear to me that you still haven’t found what you’re looking for. I’ll show you a place high on a desert plain…

  11. Rick says:

    Hey, from where you guys live can you “see those fighter planes” Bulleting the blue sky?

    My favorite is “Running to Stand Still” but I can’t find a clever way to work that into this thread.

  12. Mike Brown says:

    Actually, yes, the F/A-18s at Miramar are flying over me constantly. But I’ve never had a suit and time come up to me, his face red, like a rose on a thorn bush, like all the colours of a royal flush…

  13. Zrim says:

    “I can’t tell the difference between ABC news, Hillstreet blues and a preacher in the old gospel hour, stealing money from sick and the old.”

    What is it that God isn’t short of, Mister?

    Get the answer right and you can win free ticket to the next U2charist…

  14. Mike Brown says:

    $$$

    (Please don’t send me the U2charist, Zrim!)

  15. Echo_ohcE says:

    Zrim said: “this is another Dutchism I have never really understood”

    Well, it’s not exclusively Dutch. Hart taught a few lectures in church history last semester, and in one of them talked about how some of the Scottish used to have annual communion, and would have a whole week of preparation leading up to it, where everyone would come together in one place and have a week of repentance. He connected this to the rise of the camp meeting in the US, which gave rise to revivalism.

    It would probably be unfair to lay the blame for revivalism at the feet of the Scottish and their week of preparation, but bad ideas give rise to more bad ideas, and the week of preparation is a bad idea.

    What do we need to be made worthy to participate in the Lord’s table? The propitiatory sacrifice of Christ by faith alone. That’s it.

    I think the problem comes in when we confuse the judgment of the session or consistory with the judgment of God.

    The elders are responsible for making sure people have a valid profession of faith before serving them communion. And I’m not entirely sure, but it seems to me that when people refuse to repent of some sin, they are barred from the table because their refusal to repent puts their profession in doubt. In that case, the elders have a hard time judging such a person to have a valid profession.

    So this is what causes someone to be barred from the table. But note that it’s the elders barring someone from the table.

    But here’s where it gets sticky.

    “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”
    (1Corinthians 11:27-32 ESV)

    There are MANY who say that what this means is that a person ought to examine himself, and decipher whether or not he has some unrepentant sin in his heart. If he finds some unrepentant sin, then he should not partake of the Lord’s Supper, lest he get sick or even die.

    But I ask you, where does the passage say to absent yourself from the Supper? It says, “Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”

    It does NOT say, let a person examine himself, and then, if he has sinned, let him absent himself from the Table. No, it says examine yourself, and then EAT and DRINK. The words “examine,” “eat,” and “drink” are all imperatives. That means they’re commands. There’s not much ambiguity here. You are commanded to examine yourself, but you’re also commanded to eat and drink.

    So the question is, what makes someone unworthy to partake? An inability to recognize the body and blood of the Lord. What would cause someone to be unable to do this?

    Only if they don’t have the faith to do so.

    So much of our thinking on this subject needs to be tossed out into the street and burned and trampled on. The Lord’s Supper is not another opportunity to threaten people with the law. It’s a celebration of the propitiatory death of Jesus Christ, according to which the people of God are redeemed and God is glorified. Don’t we think this is good news? But too often, the “celebration” of the Lord’s Supper is more like a funeral, and everyone is sitting there, begging God to please, please, please give me one more chance! I’ll be good this time! I swear!

    Well, don’t feel like I’m picking on the Dutch. Many Presbyterian churches publish the Larger Catechism questions in the bulletin the week before. Study these questions this week, they say. Make sure you know the seriousness of what we’re going to do next week, and be ready.

    Now here’s the benefit of posting anonymously. I don’t have to pull any punches. I think it’s a joke, and I’m quite embarrassed by it, because it tends toward undermining what the sacrament is supposed to be.

    Shouldn’t we REJOICE that God became a man and shed his blood for us, redeeming us to his glory? Shouldn’t we be glad about this? But instead of rejoicing in this glorious truth, we all sit around and mourn our sin, hoping that we aren’t eating and drinking condemnation into our very body.

    This is not what the Lord’s Supper is supposed to be.

  16. Rick says:

    Good follow-up Echo. I like the way you commented on-topic too. 😉

    You answered one of the questions of the post; A week-long preparation is NOT what Paul meant for us when he wrote I Cor. 11:27-32

  17. Echo_ohcE says:

    Oh, let me tie that back together with confusing God’s judgment with that of the elders.

    We tend to forget that the elders require something more than simply faith alone from us in order to judge our profession to be valid. This is because they can’t look upon the heart. They can’t really tell if we have faith or not, so they must examine the evidence.

    Not so with God. If we have faith, it is because God gave it to us. God needs no evidence in order to discern if we have faith or not.

    But we act as if God looks at us and says, “Yeah, I don’t know. You don’t seem to be having much fruit. I don’t think you’ve really got faith.” No, he knows whether we believe or not. He requires no evidence.

    But we also act as if we need to judge ourselves by the same kinds of standards that others do. We act as if we need to satisfy ourselves that we really are producing fruit before we will become convinced that we really do have faith or not.

    But look, you don’t have to look for fruit in order to see if you are in Christ or not. You only need to ask yourself one question: do I believe or do I not? Can I feed upon Christ by faith in this sacrament? Do I believe that?

    If you don’t think it’s utter nonsense, you believe it, so partake, and feed upon Christ in the confidence that comes from resting on Christ alone.

    The way we tend to view the Lord’s Supper pushes people to look to their FRUIT for assurance of salvation, rather than to Christ and him crucified.

    Don’t get me wrong. If we discern some fruit in ourselves, we ought to be encouraged by it. Meanwhile, if there is no fruit, we ought also stop and think a minute. But if we want to know if we are saved or not, we need only look to Christ and him crucified. He is our only hope. He is the only undeniable proof that anyone is saved from the wrath to come.

    Ugh. Navel gazing.

  18. Echo_ohcE says:

    Thanks Rick. Again, your original is a great post.

    By the way, I am very well aware that the Bible talks about our deeds being brought forward as evidence on Judgment Day. But I still contend that God needs no evidence, being able to look upon the heart.

    There are two ways to talk about this. One is that our trial will not just be before God alone, but also the angels, and possibly the saints. So perhaps for their benefit, our deeds will be brought forward as evidence of our faith.

    One might also say that perhaps this is condescending language, speaking of heavenly realities in earthly terms, to help us understand the Last Day Judgment. I mean, will there be an actual trial of all the billions and billions of people who have walked the earth? The Last Day will surely be a long one if that’s the case! Everyone’s every last deed and thought will be brought forward and considered? It’ll be billions of years before that’s settled!

    No, I think it’s probably condescending language, describing a heavenly reality in earthly terms.

    So the take away is, again, look to Christ as assurance of salvation, and gobble up that sacrament with gusto to the glory of God in the confidence that comes from leaning on Christ alone for your standing and worthiness before God.

  19. Mike Brown says:

    Rick,

    I think you are spot-on. The reading of the law, followed by corporate and silent confession, followed by an absolution, should give ample time for self-reflection before coming to the table. Moreover, as a pastor of a church that celebrates Lord’s Supper every Sunday morning, I can tell you that the synodically-approved provisional form which Mike Horton wrote for URC churches that celebrate weekly communion does a great job. It says what needs to be said in with about 80-90% less words. That is one of the chief problems amongst us Reformed folks, we are great with didactics, but poor in beauty. We need to learn an economy of words and maintain beauty in our forms.

    Speaking of an economy of words, Echo (eh-em…), henceforth if you post anything longer than 3 or 4 paragraphs at the most, I refuse to read it. That might not deter you, but if you are studying for pulpit ministry my friend, it might force you to discipline yourself with longwindiness.

  20. Echo_ohcE says:

    Mr. Brown,

    You are more than welcome to skip over my comments if you like. You are right to value conciseness, and you are also right to guard your time.

    E

  21. Rick says:

    Rev. Brown,
    I copy and pasted that short form from the Oceanside website into an e-mail I sent to one of the Elders at my church with the hopes he would argue in favor of using it. I know the form was written for churches with weekly communion but I think it works regardless. Perhaps if we start using that form, and thus shorten the time spent in those services with commuion, then maybe people would be more open to celebrating it more often. (I dont’ mind long services though)

    The Forms in the back of our Psalter are not only long, the are *Zwinglian! If you’re tuning out in the least bit while the form is being read, you still can’t miss the “Remember” refrain.

    *retracted below. I should have wrote that they “seem a little Zwinglian”

  22. Mike Brown says:

    With regard to the “Remember” refrain, we turned our communion table around so that the words, “DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME” are not visible to the congregation.

    Could you imagine the stir if we engraved the words that Jesus said just before that, viz., “THIS IS MY BODY”? That would be a Calvinistic communion table, rather than a Zwinlgian one.

  23. Danny Hyde says:

    Hello brothers,

    This is an interesting post, especially the comments.

    Just to set the record straight . . . Zrim said, “this is another Dutchism I have never really understood.”

    The idea of preparation is NOT a Dutch Reformed thing. Luther, Bucer, Cranmer, Calvin, Heidelberg, et al, all had some form of preparation. In Lutheranism it entailed going to your pastor for confession prior to holy communion, while in the Reformed tradition it took many forms. The preparatory section of the historic Dutch Reformed liturgy (Form 1 in the blue Psalter) was written by Petrus Dathenus, who was a court preacher under Frederick III in Heidelberg. In turn, the Heidelberg divines based their form on Calvin’s in Geneva.

    . . . for the sake of accuracy.

  24. Danny Hyde says:

    Hello again . . .

    RB, you said, “The Forms in the back of our Psalter are not only long, the are Zwinglian! If you’re tuning out in the least bit while the form is being read, you still can’t miss the “Remember” refrain.”

    Sorry, but this is not accurate as well. Our Form follows almost verbatim that of Heidelberg, and in turn, Geneva. Also, if you read our Form along with the Catechism, you’ll see this . . .

    . . . sorry to bust your party . . .

  25. Danny Hyde says:

    Mike’s comment is great:

    With regard to the “Remember” refrain, we turned our communion table around so that the words, “DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME” are not visible to the congregation.

    Could you imagine the stir if we engraved the words that Jesus said just before that, viz., “THIS IS MY BODY”? That would be a Calvinistic communion table, rather than a Zwinlgian one.

    We did one better . . . we had a custom-made communion table cover with Jesus’ words: “True Food . . . True Drink.”

    You can see it on our homepage: http://www.oceansideurc.org

  26. Mike Brown says:

    We did one better . . . we had a custom-made communion table cover with Jesus’ words: “True Food . . . True Drink.”

    NICE! Did George do that for you? We need to hire someone to do that on our blank side.

  27. Rick says:

    OK, DH – the forms aren’t “Zwinglian” (I need to stop exaggerating to make points) but they are heavy on ‘rememberance’ over any other aspect of the Supper. We repeatedly hear “by this we also remember…by this we also remember…”

    So why don’t you use them?

  28. Danny Hyde says:

    Lenore is the one who told me “spare no expense” so I called Murphy Robes, went on their site, and designed a rockin’ table cover.

  29. Rick says:

    …and wasn’t that preparatory section of form one originally undetached from the rest of the form? As in, it wasn’t originally meant to be read the week before?

  30. Rick says:

    …and I did make the point in the post that the form follows the HC in structure.

    And I wasn’t having a party. I don’t like being critical of lousy practice.

  31. RefDoc says:

    Oh my, Scripture inscribed on a table, how awful!
    Last time I checked, “Do this in remembrance” comes from a pair of passages in God’s inspired word. And in my many years of seeing it inscribed on the table… I did not consider it a vast Zwinglian conspiracy. A well instructed Calvinist understands the context of the verses.

    Methinks thou protesteth too much.

  32. Rick says:

    I think we are missing an important part of “This do in remembrance of me” namely, “This is my body…this cup is the new covenant in my blood…this do in remembrance of me.” Remember, we are “proclaiming” his death til he comes – not merely remembering that it happened.

    I just looked at an old Psalter that has only one form – and the form is good. The wording is different and it doesn’t have the “by this we also remember” repeated 5 times – this must be the form Hyde is talking about. But I still want to know why he doesn’t use it. I retract the Zwinlgian quip and repent in dust and ashes.

  33. RefDoc says:

    Well, like I said “A well instructed Calvinist understands the context of the verses”. I just think it is petty to concern oneself about a verse on a table. It would be better though, to have it say nothing, than to replace it with some diddy in my humble opinion.

    While we are on the subject of communion, what concerns me more is the following statement in a bulletin of a particular URC I am familiar with. 😉

    “It is our privilege to celebrate with joy the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper during this morning’s service. All adults who are members in good and regular standing of a Bible-believing Church, who declare that they are truly sorry for their sins, and sincerely believe in Jesus as their Savior and Lord, and who earnestly desire to lead a godly life are welcome to join us at the table of the Lord as true and worthy guests for whom this sacrament was instituted…..”

    Then what follows is the obligatory warning about partaking unworthily.

    My question is this; what prevents a LDS member, a Roman Catholic, a Seventh Day Adventist, etc. from reading this and saying he is in complete agreement with these requirements.
    Member in good standing, check
    Bible believing, check
    Sorry for my sins, check
    Believe in Jesus, check
    Desire to lead a Godly life, check

    Have the elders fulfilled their duty to guard the table by placing this in the bulletin and leaving the onus entirely upon the partaker?

    PS, is there someplace on this site where one can determine what markup I may use when posting? Can any or all html be used?, a preview button would be nice as well

  34. Zrim says:

    Mike,

    The “Remember” versus “Body” comments, like DH said, are fantastic.

    All,

    My comment about Dutchism was less historical-theological than it was merely an observation about the Dutch Reformed culture with which I am personally familiar, that’s all. I will leave the academic and historical insights to those who are students of the books. That said, thanks for the insight.

    For what it’s worth, nobody, I think, is saying there is anything wrong with a form of preparation as it is scriptural. The question seems to be what is it? Another question that seems to need answering before one may answer that is the question of frequency. If preparation is supposed to be a trail of tears, then infrequency seems fitting since no sinner can take self-flagellation 24/7. But if is the opposite of a funeral and a pronouncement of life (because of His death AND resurrection), then frequency makes sense.

    It seems to me that much of this also turns on just how objective over against subjective we understand the Gospel to be. Is it, like Luther told Mel, “completely outside” us or or something we must dive inward to ascertain? Certainly, per the ToC, there is a profoudly inward dimension to it, but it is also profoundly objective. I have always found it interesting, as I have encountered various traditions, to observe what happens during communion: do the lights dim and do sinners dive inward with their eyes closed and heads bowed while soft music plays, or are the lights full blast, eyes open?

  35. Danny Hyde says:

    RefDoc,

    The language you quote, “All adults who are members in good and regular standing of a Bible-believing Church, who declare that they are truly sorry for their sins, and sincerely believe in Jesus as their Savior and Lord, and who earnestly desire to lead a godly life are welcome to join us” is popular among several URC’s I know of as well.

    This is why the URC’s in Oceanside (my church), Torrance, Apple Valley, Ontario, Brea, and Pasadena require a person to be a member of a Reformed or Presbyterian church . . . which is what the Synod of Dort says.

  36. Zrim says:

    RefDoc,

    “Well, like I said ‘A well instructed Calvinist understands the context of the verses.’ I just think it is petty to concern oneself about a verse on a table. It would be better though, to have it say nothing, than to replace it with some diddy in my humble opinion.”

    It would seem to me that the one who has suggested nothing be written has just joined the petty conversation about it all. I smell “non-denominational” reasoning. Plus, when did Bible verses become diddies?

    As far as the fencing of the table, DH makes a really good point. Seems it can be taken care of with that simple verbage. I know Presbyterian churches who have struggled with the lanaguage of “Bible-believing” and “evangelical” for good reasons, including RefDoc’s. Like Prego! the words “Presbyterian or Reformed” tell us “it’s all in there.”

    But something tells me that RefDoc’s concern might be more about making really, really, really, really sure nothing unkosher takes place, which seems a smidge overzealous:

    “Have the elders fulfilled their duty to guard the table by placing this in the bulletin and leaving the onus entirely upon the partaker?”

    Are we upturning inward stones here? What is wrong with putting onus on the partaker? Isn’t this what happens when we preach the Gospel? Nobody can say he wasn’t addressed, warned. What more can be done beyond the language of just what a true church is, namely Presbyterian or Reformed?

  37. Rick says:

    Zrim, to be fair, he wasn’t calling Bible verses ditties – he was saying the opposite: Better to have a bible verse, or nothing if the verse is a problem for some, than something written by someone else.

    At the Church he’s referring to, our Church (of which he is a member in good standing), the real instruction and warning is issued from the pulpit. The Elders are fulfilling their duty when they insist that the instruction and warning be made from the pulpit, right? The language in the bulletin could be better, yes. But if there was no warning from the pulpit, and they let the bulletin suffice, then we have a problem.

    Be careful about the assumptions you make about people from a couple of paragraphs they write. Nobody can say all they mean to say in short form – one might assume Paul was an antinomian until they make it Romans 6.

  38. Rick says:

    DH,
    If you would, could you address a few questions I asked in comments above –

    1. Is it not true that what we now know as the preparatory exhortation was originally undetached from the rest of the form? What I mean is this; wasn’t it all originally meant to be read all at once before we come to the Table?

    2. What reason do you have for not using the form in the Psalter Hymnal?

  39. Rick says:

    Zrim,

    Another question that seems to need answering before one may answer that is the question of frequency. If preparation is supposed to be a trail of tears, then infrequency seems fitting since no sinner can take self-flagellation 24/7. But if is the opposite of a funeral and a pronouncement of life (because of His death AND resurrection), then frequency makes sense.

    Right on. I had a sentence in the original post that I omitted – it simply said; “It would be no wonder that these people woudn’t want to come to the table more often – it’s too painful for them.”

    maybe I’ll throw it in there now.

  40. Zrim says:

    Rick,

    Re ditties: I thought RefDoc was talking about Mike’s comment:

    “With regard to the “Remember” refrain, we turned our communion table around so that the words, “DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME” are not visible to the congregation.

    Could you imagine the stir if we engraved the words that Jesus said just before that, viz., “THIS IS MY BODY”? That would be a Calvinistic communion table, rather than a Zwinlgian one.”

    Obviously, this is a take on, “And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.'”

    I guess I still don’t get why RefDoc wants to call either scriptural clause a “ditty.”

    Unfortunately, my powers of omniscience are quite limited; I can only go by what someone writes. After that, it is vulnerable to the limited powers of the hearer and speaker. (When I suggested to Blacketer that Stan Mast’s admitted adoption of the Willow Creek model for yuppies was flawed for various reasons, I apparently was “way off base and horribly mistaken” because he personally knows Mast and I don’t. I guess I was supposed to go by knowledge that was not only not mine to have but irrelevant to what had been written.)

    Re onus on partaker. Ah, I guess I was unclear on what was being said. Good clarification. I assumed what was printed was also being read!

    Re the trail of tears, you need no editing advice from me, but I agree; adding that would make your entry entry go from good to better!

  41. Rick says:

    Well, Zrim, if you looked up at his first comment you would see that he’s all for words of scripture on the table (or not against them anyway). So in light of that and in light of the way the thread progressed after that, it would seem ditties do not refer to scripture.

    This is the nature of blogs- this is why I get stressed out by them – people misunderstand each other way too often – and it takes them 10 posts of back and forth to finally get the right message across (if ever). By then everyone is sick of everyone else.

    Hey, I’m done here today – so have a good vacation Zrimmer.

  42. Zrim says:

    !!

    I know. That is why I was so relectant to get into this blogging thing. I swore off cyber interaction way back when WHI had a message board thing.

    OK, let it be known that RefDoc does not think scripture and ditties are analogous.

  43. RefDoc says:

    Wow, Rick is right, so easy to be misunderstood. I may run the same risk with the following, but here goes…

    In my first sentence of my earliest post in this thread I made a facetious, tongue in cheek statement regarding the discussion of “do this…..” Let me quote so you do not have to scroll up: “Oh my, Scripture inscribed on a table, how awful!”
    I suppose I should have ended that sentence with a winking smiley or something. Still, I think it is perfectly fine to have that inscribed on a table and I do not see the need to hide it. It should be easily understood what that verse means, it is a quote from scripture, God’s inspired word. Christ himself would sometimes quote only a small portion of a verse, and the Hebrews would know exactly where in scripture it was from. e.g. the I AM in “Before Abraham was, I AM”

    The diddy to which I indirectly referred was DH’s “True food..True Drink” Sorry, but at first reading, it seemed like a diddy, something along the line of “Coke is it”, or “Pepsi’s the one”, but…upon further reflection I can see that it is a paraphrase of scripture. My apologies for the diddy statement DH.

    Regarding the bulletin statement, and the Pastors reiteration of it from the pulpit…I don’t think it’s enough, the policy that DH says is used in his church is certainly a much better approach, and is what we WERE doing, albeit inconsistently, in our church less than a year ago.

    PS again…
    I have not yet been told what kind of markup is used for posting here. Can I use html? Is it limited in any way? I dare not use html without a preview button…so…. if you can help me…..

  44. RubeRad says:

    You can use most simple html, including tags b, i, blockquote, and hyperlink with a href=”url”. If you make a mess in the Outhouse, any of us Outhouse Sitters are willing to reach over with some T.P. and — OK, this analogy just got too gross. Just try your best, and we can fix broken HTML for you if necessary.

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