Saturday, January 18, 2020

Tool for Renewal. . .

From a church body whose own statisticians predict institutional death in little more than a generation and from another where an entire diocese reports average attendance of a medium sized parish in my district has come a tool for renewal designed to make relevant the irrelevant and appeal to people burned out on doctrine, orthodoxy, and truth.  It was presided over by an ELCA bishop and by Bishop Curry famous for his sermon at Prince Harry and Meghan's wedding.  It was the love doctor and a love liturgy minus most of the things that would ordinarily constitute a typical Lutheran or Episcopalian service.

You can watch Curry's sermon on Facebook.  It is can be viewed in its entirety here.  The revival, “The Way of Love Up North,” was a cooperative effort of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s Northern Great Lakes Synod.  Replete with the obligatory references to nature's God, with Native American religious imagery, Tibetan prayer flags on the altar and missing the Triune Name of God, the assembly heard not from God but from the poem “The Creation” by American author and civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson.  In the sermon,sermon, Curry preached on the that looks like “death to self,” rising to a “true self” and giving to others -- echoing St. Paul without really mentioning Jesus.  In place of the creed, the congregation confessed:

“We believe that God is present in the darkness before dawn; in the waiting and uncertainty where fear and courage join hands, conflict and caring link arms, and the sun rises over barbed wire.
We believe in a with-us God who sits down in our midst to share our humanity.
We affirm a faith that takes us beyond the safe place: into action, into vulnerability and into the streets.
We commit ourselves to work for change and put ourselves on the line; to bear responsibility, take risks, live powerfully and face humiliation; to stand with those on the edge; to choose life and be used by the spirit for God’s new community of hope. Amen.”

In place of the Our Father, the people prayed:
Eternal Spirit,
Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and testing, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and forever. Amen.”

You can be sure that such a liturgy will revitalize the dying hulk of the ELCA and The Episcopal Church.  And, if the things are working against us, it may be showing up in a congregation near you.


Anonymous said...

It took Europe 1200 years to rid itself of pagans. How long will it take today?

Carl Vehse said...

"You can watch Curry's sermon on Facebook."

I can also jam my finger down my throat. The result will be the same.

Anonymous said...

Looks rather like DIY religion for moderns.


Anonymous said...

Pastor Peters:

As ELCA congregations either close or join the NALC or the LCMC, what does the future hold?

Are the NALC and the LCMC still trying to become less like the ELCA and more confessional.

I would like to think that these church bodies will someday accept the same doctrines as the LCMS.