My grandfather, Andy T. Ritchie, Jr., has been in the “land of the eternally living,” to quote Cecil Hook, for 28.5 years. He would have been 103 today, so I am giving attention to his memory on this blog.
Granddaddy had impact on thousands of souls through the years — including students at Harding University (nee College), on people in churches far and wide when he preached and led worship in song, and on his own extended family. He also extended his impact by authoring a book about worship: Thou Shalt Worship the Lord Thy God. It is from this book that the following words come (and I will probably share more such words in the coming weeks; these are merely representative for today).
Man respects God because he is Love more than for any other reason. Author Bransnett is both clear and correct when he says, “God alone is worthy of man’s utmost allegiance and most devoted love, because God alone is love absolute and without qualification, love boundless, infinite and free.” p. 20
The book has a fine conception and structure, with major sections on “The Meaning of Worship,” The Media of Worship,” and “Vitalizing Worship.” Some of the chapter headings, i.e., on preaching and the offering collection, betray a breadth that upholds the mistaken notion that the assembly (or the “service”) equates to worship, but others are meaningful and even more apropos of the “worship” umbrella:
- “The Object of Worship”
- “The Objectives of Worship”
- “The Inner Chamber and the Assembly of the Saints”
- “The Relationship Between Worship and Life”
- “Some Scriptural Criteria of Worship”
Also included under the heading “Worship Insights, Experiences, and Admonitions” are appendices written by each of the four children (my mother, aunt, and two uncles) and by five others. Considered overall, the book is dated at this point, but its depth and its devotion to transcendent, well-founded worship is exemplary. Although it is the only book my grandfather wrote per se, something tells me he would not have held it up as his crowning achievement in this life. Rather, his legacy was, and is, the souls he ushered closer to the Lord through teaching and devoted personal evangelism, and through actual worship experiences.
Granddaddy closed the chapters in his book with rich, beautifully phrased prayers–one of the hallmarks of his words and of his life.
Eternal God, Creator of the universe,
Giver of my life, and Lover of my soul —
To see thee, even dimly, is to be dissatisfied with the littleness and meanness of myself and my fellow man;
And to see thee more is to desire more of thy holiness for myself,
That I may manifest agape toward my brother sinners;
And to see thee with clarity, for no more than a moment,
Is to know power and glory and victory.
Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Holy One, thou the loving Source,
“I give thee back the life I owe, that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.”
Through Jesus Christ, the living Word.