Friday, October 1, 2010
Praise singing is the new sacrament.
It is one thing for a church body which has rejected sacraments in the first place but it is a far different thing when Lutherans turn their backs upon the noble mysteries of God by which Christ is made present among us and bestows His grace upon in favor of these wannabe sacraments.
In many respects this is the problem with contemporary worship and evangelistic zeal -- they are raised up to become the high altars of what Christianity is really about and the water of baptism, the bread and wine of the Eucharist, the gift of absolution, the Pastoral Office conferred by ordination, and the unchanging message of Scripture become less important than what we do in worship. We have to have music that appeals to the modern soul with a good dance beat, songs that say more about me than God, counters that keep a record of our witness like conquering armies record their kills on the battlefield, and Pastors who are pastors -- nobody special doing nothing any of us couldn't do if we wanted to... So we end up with a gospel that tells us we should be happy and that the purpose of sex, marriage, kids, and work is to make us happy -- oh, yeah, not to mention church.
The stock and trade of churches adrift is when we choose these other things and make them sacramental and ignore the very places where God has attached His Word and promise, the means of grace that make Christ known to us. It is as if we were those Emmaus disciples who said to Jesus, "Hey, but the really cool thing was how we felt, what we sang, how Jesus was nobody special, and when we got home everything seemed to go better -- more like we wanted..."