Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God." 17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." 19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!" 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
Under the apostles the Lord’s Supper was administered with great simplicity. Their immediate successors added
something to enhance the dignity of the mystery which was not to be condemned. But afterward they were replaced by those foolish imitators, who, by patching pieces from time to time, contrived for us these priestly vestments that we see in the Mass, these altar ornaments, these gesticulations, and the whole apparatus of useless things. (IV.10.19)

For Calvin, God and the things of God are mysterious enough, and adding liturgy, and superstitious gestures do not add to the mystery, but take away from it. Extra gestures and movements take away from the focus of the main event. For Calvin too much fanfare takes away from the main event. It is like too much lip stick ruining pretty lips; or too much hair color ruining beautiful hair. The Reformed service of communion takes about ten minutes, versus the Roman Catholic’s mass of thirty minutes. Calvin emphasized understanding over mystery. He was wary of superstitious and extra acts as things that add a pagan smokescreen to the relationship we have with God. Pagan religions would add the hocus-pocus, mumbo-jumbo, and heebie- geebies with smoke, perfumes, formulas, chimes, gold, darkness and statues. Calvin saw the New Testament faith as simple, pure, sincere, understandable, and to the point.

Prayer: give me an undivided heart, Lord, that I may fear your name. (Ps. 86:11; Ez. 11:19; O Cor. 7:35).

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