Well said, me go, and you only closed twice!! I'm Baptist, too, and I know that "tradition" well -- in fact, my pastor jokes about closing his e-mails more than once all the time! Another great Baptist tradition is having a congregational meal every chance you get. No occasion is too insignificant to have a good covered-dish meal! After all, there are no calories in church!
Originally Posted by me go!
I agree with me go. As long as one is focused on Jesus and worshipping and praising Him, such traditions are fine. If they become more about the ritual and less about the worship, that is when something needs to change. I can see how this can occur even during regular Sunday worship. Say, for instance, that a church sings the traditional 3 congregational songs, then the offering is taken, then the Doxology is sung, then the choir sings, etc. Then one Sunday someone wants to do something "different," maybe sing 4 songs, or change the order of service, or something like that, and it upsets people to do that. That would be more about the "ritual" than the worship. I've known services to have an altar call BEFORE the preaching even began because someone felt led to come to the altar during the song service to pray or speak to the preacher. Sometimes our choir sings 2 songs because one of us feels led to sing a certain song, so we are asked to stay put for that second song. Our song leader is notorious for talking between verses of congregational songs. Sometimes he goes on a bit long, but he is Spirit-led to say what he says. We even have a Christmas Communion the week before Christmas which is a time to go as a family in a candle-lit setting, with soft music, and be led by the preacher in a quiet, reverent, worshipful Lord's Supper service. At our church, it's all about the worship and being led by the Spirit.
"Oir is leatsa an rioghachd, agus an cumhachd, agus a gloir, gu siorraidh, Amen." ("For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen" -- Scots Gaelic)