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Editor’s Note: This article was originally given by Mr. Vink as an after-recess program in the Sr. Mr. and Mrs. Society of First Church. I trust that you will find, as I did, that although the examples are local, the concern expressed is universal. Jon Huisken

“If because of the Sabbath, you turn your foot, From doing your own pleasure on My holy day, And call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord honorable, And shall honor it, desisting from your own ways, From seeking your own pleasure, And speaking your own word, Then you will take delight in the Lord, And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth: And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 58:13-14 New American Standard Bible

I would like to look at two aspects of our public observance of the Sabbath – the liturgy and practice in our worship services and our own attitudes upon entering the Lord’s House.

During the past several years, we have observed a number of changes in our public worship. Among these are:

– change in doxology

– several changes in the observance of the Lord’s Supper: elders partaking in unison, minister     serving the elders, wine poured from the cup, organ music during the serv­ing of the bread and wine to the congregation

– deacons and now elders sitting with their families during the service

– nursery during the morning service

-change in the time of the evening service

– serving coffee in church after the evening service and before a program

More changes have and are being dis­cussed, such as:

– silent prayer in unison

– Psalter revision and/or use of hymns in the service

– choir or special music in the service

– responsive readings or other means of vocal congregational participation in the service

The thing that struck me when I read Isaiah 58 was – for whose pleasure were these changes effected- ours or the Lord’s?

Not too many years ago, it was common practice to have a “Sunday suit.” One wore a conservative, dark-colored suit and white shirt with a starched collar or, in the case of the women, a conservative dress which pretty well covered the torso and its various appendages. It was practically unthinkable for a lady to go to church without a hat.

This sabbath practice, too, has changed. While I would readily agree that “clothes do not the man make”, I do feel that what we wear and how we act and what we say are all revelations of our attitude toward and our respect of the Lord’s House. I have ob­served, somewhat askance, turtlenecks, rather extremely tailored and vividly hued clothes which would do justice to a preening rooster strutting about the barnyard, pants suits, hot pants, and other scanty attire in church. I wonder whether this “modern” practice represents rebellion, a spirit of independence, women’s liberation, irre­verence, disdain for things holy or what?

Would I like to legislate our church or school dress? No, but I do feel that all of this represents what Prof. R. Decker in a speech termed “creeping compromise.” I would hope that as God’s children we might exercise a “sanctified judgement” toward these things. We are doing our part to intro­duce the vanities of the world around us even into our worship service.

Think back to the time of Israel. The Israelites had to observe all kinds of rules with respect to their worship, prescribed dress, removing of shoes, cleanliness, even abstaining from the marriage relationship. While we are no longer bound by these laws, we might do well to examine our own atti­tudes toward our deportment in the Lord’s House. In my observation, we are sometimes more concerned and more careful about our appearance and deportment when we attend a concert or some other public event than when we enter church. We would do well to re­member in whose house we are and to what purpose, and for whose pleasure.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatso­ever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatso­ever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Philippians 4: 8-9

The Christian is placed in many different circumstances while on this earth. Some are characterized by hardships and trials, and others are full of joy and peace. How should the Christian respond? Throughout the Bible there are numerous times where God’s people sang in response to their various circumstances. Singing in response to God’s ordering […]

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The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]

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