Beauty and Grace At The Supper: Dr. Duane Arnold

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22 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    Exhaustion has tempted me to take shortcuts in preparation and practice…this is a needed encouragement to work through it.
    God is coming to supper…

  2. Duane Arnold says:


    We’ve all been tempted to take shortcuts… the remedy, as we’ve talked about, is an ethic of “the work of the ministry”…

  3. Michael says:

    The key word there is “work”.

  4. Duane Arnold says:

    Indeed, and some get it and some don’t. When I was serving in a church with a men and boys choir, if you were the officiant you had to attend and participate in a full rehearsal. Everyone did it, even the priests that had been there for 25 years… even if there was a snowstorm blowing outside and we knew attendance would be down, it was still done. One of the old priests used to say, “Only your best for God”…

  5. DavidM says:

    Duane encouraged me to post this, as I had sent it to him in an email:

    Duane, thank you for the reminder. This morning, I was dealing with the beast of jet lag, who seems to be more ferocious the older I get (67 and counting!). I thought, “I’m getting too old for this.” But as I thought about it, I was reminded of the joy of working with young pastors who are eager to learn, the joy of collecting funds for an orphanage in Kathmandu for them to be able to buy goats in order to be self-supporting, teaching young Bible college students, buying and distributing food to refugees, Indian gypsies who are throwaways in any culture. My jet-lag issues are a very small inconvenience against the backdrop of being able to engage is such wonderful, joyous efforts.
    Yes, “only your best for God”.

  6. Duane Arnold says:


    God Bless you! We all need to be reminded of the work of missions…

  7. Josh the Baptist says:

    Good post, and a healthy correction for all of us.

    Reverence is missing in today’s church.

  8. Duane Arnold says:

    Many thanks, Josh…

  9. Josh the Baptist says:

    Even us “low church” need to think about beauty. 🙂

  10. Michael says:

    Well said, David…

  11. Jean says:

    Good article Duane.

    Another way of looking at a service is “doctrine and practice” or “form and substance.” Like grace and beauty, these are not dichotomies or contradictory matters.

    The practice, form and beauty are authenticated when present with salutary doctrine, substance and grace.

  12. John 20:29 says:

    In my Presbyterian youth the first Sunday of the month was communion Sunday and there below the pulpit in front of the first row of pews would be the tables, spread with freshly ironed white cloths and the gleaming silver of the plates of unleavened bread and the stacks of cups (it was a big church) filled with sips of “wine.” Fresh flowers flanked the tables and it was a very reverent time conducted with great reverence.
    nice to have the memory jog… and the reminder in this time of informal living that may have become too much so

  13. JD says:

    I must be the lowest of the low, the beauty of it is His holiness and righteousness given to us.

  14. Duane Arnold says:

    #11 Jean

    As an Anglican, I find beauty in the liturgy and the theology of the Book of Common Prayer…

  15. bob1 says:

    I love this topic!

    I just started a book, “The Magnificent Story” by James Bryan Smith. Subtitle is
    “Uncovering a Gospel of Beauty, Goodness and Truth.”

    I really think our Orthodox and RCC brethren are light years ahead of us Protestants in this area. I think part of the reason is that Prots. are so “Word” only oriented.

  16. Jean says:

    I do not believe it was Duane’s intent at all, but I would not put a dichotomy between the Word and any form or practice.

    Even the disciples were tempted:

    “And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings.’ ”

    We know the rest of that dialogue.

  17. Duane Arnold says:


    You would have made a good iconoclast…

  18. Jean says:

    The usual…

  19. Duane Arnold says:

    Recommend you read Luther’s “Eight Wittenberg Sermons” and “Against the Heavenly Prophets”.

    Another good book is, “Martin Luther’s Theology of Beauty: A Reappraisal” by Mark Mattes.

  20. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    We have a robust Altar Guild who are charged with setting up the paraments, the altar, its instruments and elements and the setting for the sanctuary.

    The question – who is the wine purchaser? Does Manischewitz express the beauty we are looking for?

  21. Duane Arnold says:


    I learned early on… Always be nice to the ladies in the Altar Guild!

    Honestly, they do so much to bring beauty to the celebration of the Eucharist. They really should be honored in every church.

  22. Jeff says:

    Taking pains with details before God is how I once heard reverence described. Our altar guild is reverent and assists the congregation to be reverent. I give thanks to God for them.

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