07 April 2009

Liturgy Thought for the Day

The reason most often behind folks not liking the liturgy, I suspect, is that they don't like the Word of God that is embodied therein; they sense in it something alien, foreign, even threatening. Best steer clear of it. MOST foreign is that it doesn't pander to what they like. In fact, it treats "what I like" as completely irrelevant and the impulse to demand "what I like" as something that needs to die.

"The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. 1:14


Fr. Timothy D. May, SSP said...

Great observation. I find that there is more Scripture in the liturgies of churches who are categorized perjoratively as "traditional" or following tradition than groups that tout the Scriptures but are against the liturgy. To clarify, the historic liturgy makes available the Scripture as it does the Sacrament. The liturgy leads people to reception of both Word and Sacrament ("God's gifts"). Often there is so much Scripture in the liturgy that one could easily take it home to try and unpack.

On the other hand, many groups that claim not to follow the "traditions of men" but only Scripture veer off in man-centered emerging approaches. Not only is worship re-directed away from God and His Word and Sacrament it is directed toward man and from man. The engaging speaker's testimony draws in the audience with the use of little or no Scripture. The personal testimony is that of the "Me" on stage reaching the "Mes" in the audience. All are fed by what they feel and go home not burdened by "tradition," but are uplifted in a superficial or therapeutic way. In this way, Scripture, if it is used at all, becomes really a means toward an end that is in the end only a tool to please the masses.

Jesus rather followed the religious customs such as that of the public reading of the Scripture (ie, liturgy).
He said the Scripture pointed to Him. It is not too far-fetched to advance the thesis that one who is opposed to the liturgy may be really opposed to the Scripture therein. The same could be said of opposition to the Sacrament. This is Christ.

Hence the spirit of the liturgy is lost on those who do not like the liturgy. "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him . . ."

William Weedon said...

It really stands out, doesn't it, Fr., during these Holy Week liturgies. I mean, from Palm Sunday through the Easter Day service, covers from page 122 to 212 in the Lectionary! OOFTA! Talk about the Word of Christ dwelling among us richly!!!

George said...

I don't know... Coming from an (american protestant) evangelical background, I'm as happy as a clam with the firm biblical basis of liturgy. I love it and I encourage everyone to use it.

While I'm sure you're right on this for some people, I've known folks who simply seemed unaware of the Scripture within liturgy. Of course, this is partly their fault and partly their pastor's, but nonetheless, some people love the liturgy the more they understand it...

Pastor Sharp said...

I really think it's more about not liking organ music and chanting for most people. Personal observation.

William Weedon said...

Pastor Sharp,

I respectfully disagree. It hit me this morning. As I settled in to listen to the LONG passion reading, I thought: "You know, I'd have a picked a shorter reading for this service." Today there was neither chanting nor organ music. Just a spoken Mass. And 9/10 of it was just Word of God. And I realized how foolish I was to have wanted to shorten the story. I needed to hear it. All of it. St. Mark's whole account. And to hear Pr. Gleason's wonderful preaching on the cry of dereliction. It was the Word of God my sinful flesh was rebelling against; and it was the Word of God that brought me peace. "He sent forth His Word and healed them."

Past Elder said...

Relates to the super long thread.

That's just it -- we don't pick the liturgy. Just like we don't pick who else is Christian, or the Gospel itself.

Rather, we come into it, then it comes into us.

Now as then, they start to leave at "unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life".

Rev. Paul Beisel said...

Truthfully, it seems that it is not so much people not liking the Word of God, but failing to believe that the Word of God is Spiritual. They think that true Spirituality is a feeling, or an emotion, rather than being tied to the Word. One minister driving a hearse once told me that he realized one day in his "liturgical" church that "all they had was the Scriptures." Darn. Too bad. He saw other Christians who didn't use a formal order of service and believed they were more "Spiritual."

Anonymous said...

A lady said to her pastor, "Pastor, the liturgy doesn't say what I mean."

The pastor responded, "Dear lady, you must learn to mean what the liturgy says."

Jamie Bosma