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00019767The following is a list, though not exhaustive, of Reformed & Presbyterian bodies who either have observed a day of fasting & prayer during the COVID-19 crisis or who have appointed and/or commended one. If we cannot coordinate our days, perhaps we may be encouraged that we are not alone when we take our part “on the wall.”

“Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God” (Joel 2:12-14)?

[Updated 3/31 @ 11:11 a.m. EDT]

Wednesday, March 25. ARP Canadian Presbytery.

Wednesday, March 25. RPCNA Pacific Coast Presbytery.

Lord’s day, March 29. Free Church of Scotland (Cont.). [Statement from the Public Questions, Religion and Morals Committee.]

Wednesday, April 1. Various Heritage Reformed Congregations (HRC) & Free Reformed Congregations (FRC). [Prayer and Fasting Outline, with help from Th. Boston.]

Saturday, April 4. The Midwest Presbytery (RPCNA). [Full communication & helpful suggestions.]

Thursday, April 2 or 9. RPCNA Synod.

Monday, April 6. Calvary Presbytery (PCA). [Days of Fastings RPCNA]

 

I’ve also heard from / about some OPC congregations who have observed fasts.

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[Image above, “Nineveh Repents“]

Smellie, Thomas. “Fenwick Church.” 1905

During the recent COVID-19 crisis, many Christian churches have closed their doors, cancelling regular public worships services, though often utilizing telecommunications to facilitate God’s worship in private home contexts. What principles do confessionally Reformed and Presbyterian elders consider when making their decision? These are the ones that factored in to my mind.

1. Worship is priority number one. God’s honor comes before man’s honor, His being before ours. “Thy love is better than life.” We should sooner join the three Hebrew children and lay down our lives than surrender an inch of God’s worship. The First Table comes before the Second, and if there is an apparent conflict, the general rule is to surrender our own interests.

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To reduce cluttering your inboxes, I’m posting several memes I’ve finished recently:

Murray, Essence of Sin

Boston, Beautiful Fabric

Willison, Wit's End

IMG_0229Chalmers made no bones about the fact that the parish method of home missions was best. And with the confident precision of an engineer, he detailed how it should work. But he was no Pelagian mechanist:

“Let us not forget that, however indispensable the things for which we plead, they are, after all, but ‘the outward things of the house of God,’ — most important no doubt, as being the aqueducts for a diffusive and general conveyance of spiritual blessings; yet a vain and useless parade, if the grace only given to those who ask it, shall not light upon our tabernacles. With all our value for the mechanism of a well-ordered church, we must remember that its great master springs are in the hands of Him who casteth down the imaginations of the confident, and delights in lending Himself to the supplications of the humble, — so that, whatever glory may accrue from the wisdom of its rulers, it is in its of men of faith and prayer that the main strength of our Establishment lies.”

– Thomas Chalmers, Works 18:138-139

المدرسة_المستنصرية_في_بغداد_(3)Some time back, my fellow elder and I met “Fatima” in my parish. Since then, I have had multiple opportunities to visit her with my wife and family, have her over to our house, and once she has come to church. As an Iraqi refugee, she’s experienced hardship; and things have not always been easy adjusting as a “stranger in a strange land.”  She is a very sweet, special lady, who is hungry for friendship. And our hope is that she will find that greatest of all friends, the Friend who laid down His life for His friends.

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Tennent, Adam's Stock

Of two trees

Irenaeus, Tree & Tree