Thursday, February 28, 2008

Using the Liturgy

"The present state of liturigics in the LCMS today is like a teen-aged girl who has just discovered mascara." - David Scaer, Spring of 2004.

I love the liturgy - I freely admit it. I'd love to do all the services in the LSB - they all are wonderful. But the question becomes, why is the liturgy wonderful. I think sometimes even we who are liturgical can fall into the Contemporary trap - we do things because we think they are pretty or beautiful, or dare I say, make us "feel like we are at Church."

Perhaps this is because we confuse the "conduct" of the liturgy and the liturgy itself. The liturgy is the Word of God - it is confession and absolution - it is forgiveness given over and over again. And that's what it is whether it is spoken or chanted, whether it is with a choir or just a few people singing some hymns off key. The conduct of the liturgy doesn't define it - it is defined by the Word of God.

The conduct should point to the beauty of that Word - just like makeup should highlight the beauty of the wearer. If you notice the makeup, it's been poorly applied. Same thing with the conduct of the liturgy - does it serve the Word or does it serve itself?

This is not a post against a high liturgical approach. I actually prefer it (there's nothing wrong with Church sounding different - Church should be obviously different from the world) - but I'm not compelled to start chanting here. It would be a distraction here. At least for the near future. At other places, I'm certain that if the pastor didn't chant, it would be a horrid distraction.

Maybe this is the wisdom of the Lutheran Fathers - rites and ceremonies need not be the same in all places - for not all places are the same. What remains the same is the Word - let everything point to the Word.

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