Wednesday, February 20, 2019

What would you like our Lord's Day keeping to look like?

Obviously, even Calvin had not achieved everything for which he had a strongly biblical desire, such as weekly Supper, by the time he died. And this is exactly right, because no congregation should ever be directed by the whims of an individual (and certainly never by the whims of a congregation!), but always by the Scripture-convicted decisions of a body of elders.

But I've been asked, so here it is. I'm very grateful to God for the growth and maturation over the last year and half--especially among the group that generally tries to keep the bulk of the day well in fellowship with the Lord together.

9:00 a.m. breakfast starts
9:15 a.m. class starts (breakfast continues)
10:15 a.m. class ends
10:45 a.m. announcements and catechism recitations

[11a.m. standing]
Call to Worship
Pastoral Invocation/Adoration/Confession/Thanksgiving (prayer)
     (elder-led, and study-prepared, but still extemporaneous, not a prescripted form prayer)
Scripture Song 
     (metrical psalm/paraphrase/etc--from the passage that called to worship)
Serial Reading
     (extended reading from just one book, with couple sentence elder summary of the teaching)
Lord's Prayer
Reading out of sermon text

[11:30a.m.--12:15p.m. sermon]

[12:15p.m.--standing again]
Song of response, singing that which was just opened from Scripture

[12:20p.m. congregation files out, meditating upon Word and Sacrament, observing silence until arrival in the Fellowship Hall]

12:30 p.m. lunch begins
    (concerted effort at intergenerational interaction, with adults leading children in
    sermon review, and other Lord's-Day-intentional conversation)
1:15 p.m. catechism class (1/2 hour)
1:15 p.m. concurrent class (communicants/new-members/Q&A/whatever)

[2p.m. standing]
Call to Worship
Pastoral Invocation
Scripture Song 
Second Serial Reading
     (extended reading from just one book, with couple sentence elder summary of the teaching)
Reading out of sermon text

[2:15p.m. - 2:45p.m sermon]

All come to the front, where the long tables are prepared with the elements
     Those who have difficulty standing sit along front row
     Others stand at angle, on either side of the tables, permitting as many as possible to be at table
     Non-communicant children stand with their parents
     Non-communicant adults sit in 2nd, 3rd row, etc.
Pastoral prayer 
    (again, elder-led, extemporaneous, asking for application of the sermon 
    and other pressing spiritual needs, including the conversion/obedience of the state,
    the welfare of the church around the world, and spiritual good to be done in current earthly trials,
    concluding with prayer for benefit from the sacrament)
Lord's Supper
    (immediately following the prayer of thanks/blessing: simply read out the words of institution 
    and announce the sacramental benefit in a sentence or two, followed by immediate partaking
    in response to and laying hold of the benefit by faith, without additional mystic quietness,
    first for the bread, and again for the wine)
Benediction at the Table

[AFTERPARTY--party/feast hosted by different congregation household each week, including early supper, a few hours of fellowship, and dispersal to homes so that each household can conclude the day with family review/thanksgiving/prayer and retire to bed in good season to have extra sleep and/or early start on the Monday morning]


--"Offering" moved out of the service, since there's no real Bible mandate for it as part of worship
--Creed/confession recitation moved out for same reason
--Supper weekly, in the afternoon service, but swapping the services once each month for those providentially hindered from afternoon attendance
--All form prayers removed

A pastor can dream

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