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verse ofScriptureout loud–generallyfrom theOldTestament. Cf.Luke24:27f,44f. Theother members of the family do likewise, in order. Cf. Matthew 19:4f & Luke 1:1-4.
Thefatherthenexplainsthefewversesread. Cf.SecondPeter3:16. Eachfamilymember then says what new thing he or she has learned. Cf. Acts 8:30-36. If the Bible passage is too profound, only one verse — or even only part of one verse — will be explained at that session. Cf. Matthew 5:18. The family then kneels down together. Cf. Psalm 95:6. The father then asks only one of them to pray, shortly, for the family's special needs that day. Cf. Nehemiah 1:11 etc.
At night, right after the evening meal, a somewhat similar pattern is followed. Deuteronomy 6:6f cf. Psalm 55:17. Now, however, the worship can be longer — as there is no need to rush off from home to work or school. Cf. Psalm 1:2 & Acts 17:11 etc.
The only differences in the evening pattern, are the following. The reading is generally now from the New Testament, not the Old. John 16:13f cf. Second Peter 1:13-16 & 3:15f. The portion sung is from a Scriptural Hymn or Paraphrase, not from a Psalm. Ephesians 5:18-25 & 6:1-4 and Colossians 3:16-21. And, after the explanation of the Scripture — one question and answer of the Shorter Catechism is propounded, explained, and then jointly recited. Cf. Proverbs 22:6 margin & First Timothy 6:12f.
This, then — Praise, Scripture, Prayer — is the pattern of our daily family worship. Praise — for "the voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the dwellings of the justified." Psalm 118:15. Scripture — for those whom Christ has made "noble" are to "receive the Word" with "all readiness ofmind,"andto"searchtheScripturesdaily." Acts17:11. AndPrayer — for"fathers, bring up your children…, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit!" Ephesians 6:4,18.
I must say something about our children's Baptism – and challenging them to keep on improvingitbymore andmorelivingthewayevery baptized personshould(cf.Romans6:3-22). The Westminster Larger Catechism 167 asks thequestion: "Howis our Baptism to be improved by us?" It answers:
"The needful but much neglected duty of improving our Baptism is to be performed by us all our life long, especially in the time of temptation…by serious and thankful consideration of the nature of it and of the…benefits conferred and sealed thereby and our solemn vow made therein, by…growing up to assurance of pardon of sin and of all other blessings sealed to us in that Sacrament." For we are "those that have therein given up their names to Christ…to walk in brotherly love, as being baptized by the same Spirit into one body."
Our children were branded as Christ's lambs in Infant Baptism, in spite of being raised in three different denominations. By God's grace they have grown up into practising Christians and catechized Communicant Members of Christ's Church.
As the Dutch Reformed Elder Johan Adam Wormser once said: "Teach the nation to understandits Baptism!" That, dear reader,ismy prayeralsoforyouand yourhousehold! And as for me and mine — Joshua 24:15 cf. Acts 16:31 — "we shall keep on serving the Lord!"
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First Trip Overseas as an Adult
While born in Britain, I grew up in the isolationistic and then (thank God) still-Calvinistic South Africa eversinceIwas seven. Apart from tripstoRhodesia(theoldZimbabwe)and back, I never left Southern Africa — even on a vacation — till I was in my late twenties.
InCapeTown,IoncefishedanAmericanProtestant magazineoutofthewastepaperbasket of a Baptist Pastor. After writing to the magazine and asking that it regularly be sent to me, the Editor somewhat later suddenly invited me on an all-expenses-paid trip to an International Christian Conference in Switzerland's Geneva in 1963.