Thursday, March 1, 2012
Pray the Mass the Way of the Church or Else. . .
Read it all here.....
For those in Lutheranism, let me say up front I am not advocating such practice among us nor would I ever suggest we need a liturgical police to exert the reigns of confession and order -- boundaries that should come willingly and out of a sense of love and duty to your neighbor in the church. I cannot help but wonder why it is that for us "personal preference" has achieved something like a first amendment right to do as one pleases on Sunday morning. Whatever happened to St. Paul who could glory in his freedom but nonetheless sought to restrain his liberty for the sake of the brothers and to prevent offense. It seems the only offenders today are those, like me, who suggest that not everything a Lutheran Pastor or parish does on Sunday morning is "Lutheran" because they, as "Lutherans" do it.
We as Lutherans live within the boundaries of a recognizable liturgical practice that is consonant with our confessional identity. Oh, to be sure, we have the liberty to make as elaborate or as simple as possible the ceremonial of the liturgy and one cannot argue with those who follow the book but without most restrained ritual. And, yes, we can debate reservation and other practices. To be sure, we can all venture our opinions on the best hymns or "songs" for worship and one cannot make arbitrary rules on the basis of either aesthetic or personal preference. But that is hardly the issue here.
Watch the YouTube videos from so called Lutheran congregations like LakePointe in Arkansas and you will find simply a sermon without any liturgy (much less the Lord's Supper) and yet this congregation is often lauded as what we all should be (if we would just grow up). Indeed, the Pastor was a featured speaker at the most recent LCEF conference. Such parishes are a scandal not only to the LCMS but to Lutheranism and to the Confession for which so many lived and died. We have take a lively heritage and living legacy and sacrificed it to the altar of personal taste -- all in order to worship a God of statistics and earthly success indicators. And we have forgotten the call to faithfulness.
No, I am not in favor of a liturgical police or episcopal authority to summarily remove offenders who violate the script but neither can I sit back and suggest that what we have today is good for anyone except division and conflict, and, of course, the almighty adiaphora invoked to worship the god of personal taste how I choose...