Thursday, February 13, 2020
Slow down. . .
In the face of this, I often seem rather out of touch. I carry a fountain pen and still write out most things in longhand (the dreaded cursive). I have a smart phone and up to date computer and occasionally visit the requisite social media sites but not as one who is married to the technology or to its contribution to the pace of change. I am more a watcher than a participant in the crowd of movers and shakers who are moving and shaking our culture to the core.
The Church is often urged to be on the forefront of this change but I think it is wrongheaded in so many ways. Slowness is not always bad. In fact, in this case, I think it is quite good. The churches which have jumped on the bandwagon of change are not faring so well. In fact, those more wedded to the past than to the future seem to be doing somewhat better in the sea of change. The Church is like comfort food. When you want meatloaf and mashed potatoes you do not want new recipes. That destroys the comfort these foods signify. You want the familiar smell and taste of yesterday, a retreat from the things that are moving too fast all around you. The Church is best when she heralds a future written not by hands or whims of society but of God and calls on the people of God to wait for the vision to unfold. This is, after all, the wait of faith. We are not left without resources -- we have the Word that is His living voice and the Sacraments that bestow what they sign (even anticipating what they promise). But life on earth is a waiting game. We await the work of our gracious God while it is still the day of salvation. After that, our waiting will end and we will behold with our own eyes the wonder and majesty of God face to face. But until then, it is best if we preserve and conserve in preparation for God's unfolding of the future He has prepared.
I have learned that change is not the panacea of hope for a Church that too often finds itself struggling. Instead, faith, faithfulness, and waiting upon the Lord are the circles of our lives. From repentance to forgiveness to repentance and forgiveness again. That is our rhythm. And the Divine Service is the venue where this rhythm is lived out. The sooner we content ourselves with this, the better.