Lord's Day Liturgy

The Three Rs

Some of you are old enough to remember when schools boiled down their mission not to letters such as LGBTQ or CRT or even to ABC, but to the three Rs: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. (Perhaps we should have seen the trouble coming earlier; that alliteration only sounds good to the illiterate.)

For the people of God who have their own assembly, a different three Rs would be a good start: Reverence, Repenting, and Rejoicing.

Reverence is another word for the fear of the Lord. We stand in awe of the Lord (Psalm 33:8). By God’s Word the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ shines in our hearts (2 Corinthians 4:6). We regard His glory.

In Proverbs “the fear of the Lord is a hatred of evil” (Proverbs 8:13). This applies to what we see around us; we cannot be apathetic. This applies to what we seen inside us, we cannot be hypocrites. We turn from sin.

Proper reverence leads to repentance, and with proper repentance is the promise of forgiveness and cleansing and joy. Worldly grief produces death, but “godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret” (2 Corinthians 7:10). In Christ we rejoice. “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4).

The story of redemption is the story of reverence lost (the Fall) and then restored, of repentance needed and then granted, of false rejoicing made true. God sent His Son to redeem sinners and “to purify for himself a people for his own possession” (Titus 2:14).

Confessing our sins doesn’t add to the permanent record, like laying down yet another thick layer of asphalt, but removes the guilt and clears the way for reverence and righteousness and rejoicing to flow again.