Friday, February 7, 2020
The choice to be lazy. . .
That said, along the way I began to notice that when we asked people to use the hymnal, there were still a number who did not bother to pick up or open the book. I also noticed that some were standing idly by without bothering to open the printed liturgy we had worked so hard to make accessible and easy.
I have been hesitant to say it but I think part of it is simple laziness masquerading as either preference (I don't like singing, for example) or as rebellion (I am Lutheran so I will go to this church but I will not sing or participate except in the obvious parts like the Our Father). In either case, it is being lazy. I cannot say this about those newer to the faith or Lutheranism or liturgical worship because they do seem more likely to participate and pay attention to the sources (worship folder or hymnal). Perhaps it is the rejection of any book that was not the book they grew up with (at least in the case of those raised Lutheran). Perhaps there are other reasons. In any case, it is laziness.
I also believe that this is not simply about the book or worship folder but that this laziness is the reason why so many Lutherans are also susceptible to contemporary worship and contemporary Christian music. Both are appealing to the lazy because they ask nothing from the spectator except to watch and listen and enjoy it. Whether it is rebellion or simple laziness, the refusal to participate in the liturgy or hymns of the Divine Service is really quite arrogant. It presumes that God is not worth the effort. While it might be more pointedly revealed in the refusal to pick up the book or open the worship folder and open the mouth, it is also part of the reason why we come to worship dressed down and casual.
I do not have a solution. Perhaps there is none. It certainly will not be solved by more rules. Rules cannot change a heart. God has told us that. In reality, it is not simply worship about which we are so casual but God. And more than God, but sin and death. This laziness has at its root a lack of concern for the reality of sin and what it has done and an uneasy friendship with death so long as death obeys the rules and plays our game. So what can we do? Preach the Word. In season and out. When itchy ears want to listen to other things, we speak the Word and the Holy Spirit will change what will be changed and the rest is His concern anyway. But it will not hurt to confront the issue head on instead of trying to dance around it.