Monday, February 20, 2012

Christian Liberty vs. "I'm Right"

In a conversation with a friend, I ended up typing the following:

"Christian Liberty and service is completely misunderstood -- and more to the point, no one wants to understand it. They'd much rather demonstrate the fact that they are "right""

This was brought up in terms of liturgy and worship... why we do this, why don't. We do ashes, we don't. You can't worship this way or that, so on and so forth.

As Christians, we have freedom. We are not bound by specific customs. We are not bound by necessity to specific rubrics or forms. But what is true is that we are bound to our neighbor, and while we might have freedom to do whatever, that freedom is gladly restrained for the sake of our neighbor - freely I give up my rights to serve my neighbor, for I do not need to do X, Y, and Z to justify myself - there are no holy hoops I must jump through. Christ has done it all for me, I serve my neighbor.

Thus the discussion should be how best to serve the neighbor... and all neighbors. Not just the members of your own congregation, or that "group you want to appeal to with your awesome outreach", but also to neighboring congregations, to the world at large.

So often I see either "you need to do this" or "well, I can do this and you can't tell me otherwise". I want to see, "This is how I will show love - by doing this." Not "this is what you have to do or you aren't as awesome as me" - not "hey, I can do this, who are you to question it" - not "do this or you aren't a 'real' Lutheran/Christian/disciple/(whatever)".

I don't need to prove I'm right. I need to enjoy my Christian freedom and love my neighbor, all of them.

In worship, that means I don't just go off and do my own thing, not because I can't, but because it doesn't help my neighbor. It means things are repetitive, not because they must be repeated, but because repetition is the mother of learning and this way the things of worship are not merely felt for a moment but learned for a lifetime. It means at my congregation we don't do somethings I would ideally like... and we do some things and sing some hymns that, well, I'd rather not. It's not about me and me making a "right" service... it's about love for the neighbor shaping all things.

Oh well.

No comments: