Thursday, May 21, 2020

Lost but not forgotten. . .

Lost but not forgotten among the sacred days of the calendar is Ascension Day.  This year, in the wake of the pandemic, Easter was removed from most parish celebrations and either post-poned, turned into a video celebration, or observed with a very small number of the faithful at many different services.  Some will not mourn the loss of Ascension Day and others will remember to forget the day while planning for their livestreamed and video services.  God will have gone up not with a shout but with a sigh and His day of triumph ascending to the right hand of the Father will become a whisper among the silences of empty church buildings.

Will the world fall apart if Ascension Day or Epiphany are forgotten (unless they fall on a Sunday)?  Probably not.  But will the work of the Kingdom be magnified by this loss -- of course not!  We have been under great pressure to remove any sense of duty or obligation except to a Sunday and Lutherans are sadly in the dark about the non-Sunday days or the Sanctoral Calendar.  Yet what have we gained by reducing the demands upon the faithful to one day and merely an hour or so of that day each week? Perhaps our people are getting the message we are not intentionally sending to them -- nothing is as important as me and God will have to fit into my schedule if He wants to be there at all.  So what is next?  Eliminating Advent or Lenten or Holy Week services?  Fixing Easter to a calendar date from its floating date?  Fixing Christmas to a specific day of the week to support commerce, travel, and family?  You name it.  The proposals have been floated.

As for me, I am convinced the answer does not lie in trying to reduce the burdens of the faith (from worship to Bible study to prayer to witness to service).  Perhaps we should jump to the end of all this thinking and settle for a crouton and a grape hermetically sealed until popped open beside a video screen of our polo shirted blue jeans wearing pastor says the magic words  Surely God will be glorified.  Because what makes us happy is what makes Him happy, right?  And God would not want us to be unhappy, would He?  Lost but not forgotten just might as well be lost and relieved to a people and a church busy with bigger issues than remembering what happened forty days after Easter.


Paul said...

Offering Divine Service @ 12:15 p.m.

Janis Williams said...

Thank you, Fr. Peters and Pr. Ulrich for celebrating Ascension with the Divine Service! Christmas, Easter, Ascension; all deeply important to the Church. Perhaps it is time for the members of the flock to make more noise to fellow sheep about this day.