So, I've looked at the Ash Wednesday service that came out of the LCMS's Creative Worship, and it is just such an odd, odd blending. On the one hand, you have all the tinkering that comes with "Contemporary" worship - newly devised confessions, absolutions that aren't really absolution, collects and introits before the Confession, stuff like that.
Yet, at the same time, there were oddly traditional elements. The imposition of ashes - highly defended - even with the opening, pre-service paragraphs. The prayer - nothing created, but rather the Litany. This has set me to thinking - why this seemingly strong grasp at the old in the midst of all the new tinkering? I can think of two options.
1. It's just a sop to the conservatives.
2. We want a sense of depth and age, even as we assert our "independence" and "freedom".
And while the cynic in me wants to lean towards 1 - there's just too much... promotion of the old, of the ancient, as a good thing. Actually, I suppose it could just be internal politics and division, but it is interesting to contemplate. Ah well.