Thursday, April 18, 2013

Straight up, please. . .

Having worked various jobs to pay for school, including a stint as bartender, I was shocked when I caught an episode of a reality TV program in which an expert goes into a failing bar to "re-invent" the place and rescue the money losing business.  It was about half way through when the bartenders were being taught how to mix drinks when the cocktails du jour were described.  Coconut vodka?  Really?  He and his expert taught the bartenders to make a dozen or so cocktails to showcase the bar.  I recognized none of them.  I am not sure that any of them existed when I put in my time behind the bar.  There was no mention of the standards I knew -- Martini, Old-fashioned, Manhattan, etc...  I am sure that anyone asking for a 7&7 would receive a blank stare back.  So much for that.  Does anyone today even know what a highball is?

My point is this.  Is it no wonder that we look at the liturgy in the same way we look at the drink menu?  We want to shape the liturgy like we do the cocktails at the local bar.  Sure, we want this drink but we like ours not according to the classic recipe but with a variation personal to each of us.  In the same way, we want the liturgy to be personal.  Pastors add in their own personal liturgical style, congregations have their own personal liturgical tradition, and people come seeking the things they like...  The only one who does not get what He wants is God.

Ah, well, what does God care, anyway?  BTW do NOT read the liturgical regulations of the Old Testament or it just may upset our idea that God wants what we want....

Give me the liturgy straight up... historically consistent with those who have gone before me, adding in only the best of the present day, and passing on the faithful legacy to those who follow me... straight up...  Do not skimp on the content because some might not like it and do not adjust the rubrics to meet to appeal to folks.  Do not give me the liturgy  "lite' with half the calories (ceremonial) done in half the time.  Do not rush through it.  Give it to me full, straight, reverent, and faithful...  Oh, and the preaching, too!  Straight up.  Undiluted, without a bunch of mix to disguise the taste...  

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Easy, Pastor Peters. You are scaring away the young people!

;)


Sincerely,

~~The Lutheran consultant

Anonymous said...

How would you convince the "missional" leaders in the LCMS that the people in both the Old Testament period and in Jesus' time had a formal divine service and not a "shake and bake" contemporary service with a praise band.

fatherd said...

The Jewish people have traditionally had a fixed service, given to them by God, a God that they knew and whom they worshipped. I am convinced that for the rest of us (Christians), we worship (or at least say we do) a God we do not know, and we do not bother to become acquainted with Him. We do not think it worthwhile to read what He has given us, the Holy Bible, because, you know, that's just all that old stuff and .... That is why we don't really know God, and we don't know how to worship Him. For far too many Christians, it would be a strange thought to mention that God has ideas about how He should be worshipped; most think it is all about how we want to worship Him. We are far too inclined to think that worship is primarily about US, and only secondarily about God. We want a church where we are comfortable, where we like the music, the preaching, the social group, the overall ambiance, much like we might choose a night club.

There is a huge need for education in the church, in America for sure and I suspect in much of the rest of the world as well. We have lost sight of the very concept of a Supreme Being, a Ruler of the Universe, of a God to whom we will all answer some day. Thus our worship in most American churches is shallow, people centered entertainment, and at most God makes a cameo appearance. Until we can restore the idea of who God truly is, and what worship is truly about, the form of our worship will be mostly false.

Fr. D+
Anglican Priest