At the risk of sounding too Emergent, I found this observation from Rice and Hufstuttler challenging:
“If Eucharist as giving thanks were central in our celebration of the Lord’s Supper, we might find ourselves dancing in the aisles, clapping our hands, and becoming carried away in the exuberance of the moment. Perhaps one of the reasons Reformed Protestants are often characterized as ‘God’s frozen chosen’ is that we do not celebrate Eucharist frequently enough to be formed as a grateful people. Without Eucharist, we put too much emphasis on what we accomplish, upon our duty and responsibility. When we do celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion, we often do so with a funeral attitude that focuses upon the death of Christ and forgets that the sacrament is also a resurrection meal. One sign of hope is that many of the newer Communion hymns are joyful. The sad and grim focus of so many Communion services may be one reason that we want to limit their frequency. Who wants those doleful services any more often than absolutely necessary?” (Reformed Worship, 71).
Why is it that when we think of “Reformed” we think of somewhat dour theological hair-splitters, looking for the next heretic to dispute with, and not of gratitude? Why should Pentecostals get all the enthusiasm?
Rice and Huffstutler are often quite helpful, especially in summarizing the history of Reformed worship, but their practical applications are vitiatied by liberalism, feminism, and wretched prayers. I find myself cheering during most of their history, but gagging during their practical application. Their work is helpful in showing where we’ve come from, and the impotence of the liberal Reformed church to point the way forward.
My favorite prayer (don’t read while eating, as you may choke):
Prayer of Confession
“Almighty God, sometimes when I need to be kind, I am not. Sometimes when I need to listen, I can’t and don’t. There are times when I need to express my love and I do so ineffectively. When I need to be loved, I often do not seek it” (121).
Yes, Lord, please forgive me for not seeking my own self-interests and not attending to my felt needs …