18 February 2012

Some Liturgical Correlatives

Liturgy, as Gospel gift, comes without compulsion or it doesn't come as itself at all.

Liturgy is better prayed than argued.

Liturgy cannot be explained from the outside - you have to live in its house to understand why it is loved.

Liturgy manifests in a short period of time what the royal priesthood of the Baptized is called to live at all times and in all places (or said another way, the inside of this house is bigger than all the world outside, because all the world outside is already inside).

Liturgy is not primarily about text but ordered action and the action is not primarily ours but God's (only ours in the "bounce back").

Liturgy at its heart is simply the prayed confession of the Church, so what confession is being prayed gives the goods on exactly whose liturgy it is.


Chris Jones said...

Liturgy ... comes without compulsion

I'm not sure what you mean by "compulsion" here, but ...

I would not start with the question whether the liturgy is a matter of compulsion. I would start with whether confessing and teaching the orthodox faith is a matter of compulsion. It is not (the true faith should be confessed freely and from the heart), but each local Church should be, and is, committed to confessing and teaching the same orthodox faith that is confessed by every other local orthodox Church. And each local Church will be in communion with only those local Churches whom it recognizes as sharing the same orthodox faith.

That is, I hope, simply confessional Lutheran ecclesiology 101: one's communion fellowship is that group of local Churches who all recognize in each other the confession of a common faith. But how is that common faith manifest? If (as you say) the liturgy is simply the prayed confession of the Church, then the simplest, best, and most straightforward way to recognize an orthodox local Church is to see that its liturgy confesses the orthodox faith. And the best way for a local Church to be recognized as orthodox is to ensure that its liturgy is orthodox.

So keeping to a traditional, orthodox liturgy is not the result of "compulsion" but of a commitment to orthodoxy in faith and practice. A local Church is free to order its liturgy however it wishes; but an orthodox local Church will want to see to it that its liturgy is recognizably and demonstrably orthodox, ινα οι δοκιμοι φανεροι γενωνται εν υμιν (1 Co 11.19).

William Weedon said...

What Chris just said!

Joanne said...

The liturgy is a long statement of our doctrines, one right after the other, and has been as long as anyone knows anything about Christian ligurgy. As Chris has said above, it is a church's statement of orthordoxie. You must accept every statement in this liturgie or we have problems with what you believe. We rally round the liturgy as a statement of doctrine like an army rallies around a flag to increase it's force of attack.

Jesus says, if you do not confess me before men, I will not confess you before my Father in heaven. That's so easy, every Sunday the liturgy has me confessing Jesus Christ outloud to a large room full of men.

And tell me, which church was Luther reforming, the pristine early church or the Roman Catholic Church of around 1530.

The Lutherans have always claimed to be reforming the church they had in ca 1530. Lutherans make no effort to reconsitute the pristine church of St. John and Polycarp, as good as their examples may be.

Joanne said...

continued -

But, the secterians have always wanted to repristinate the early church in praxis. Oh, if Ireneas didn't do it then we sure ain't doing it.

The Lutherans reformed what had to be reformed because of doctrinal reasons, following closely the catholic principle that we are all one church and we march together as far as it is possible for us to do so.

The Lutherans changed so little liturgical praxis, that the Calvinists everywhere demanded a second Reformation, because the Lutherans just didn't change enough.

And so I ask, is the Lutheran church a catholic church or a secterian church? What does our liturgy say we are? When you walk into a huge Lutheran church in Germany, how long does it take you to tell it's not a catholic church. How long does it take for you to tell it's a Calvinist church.

Lutherans reformed. Calvinists repristinated.

If you don't like our liturgy then maybe you don't like the doctrines that it makes us profess one after the other every Sunday. You won't pubically confess them, so how do we know. "I don't confesss the doctrines in the liturgy because I dig Rock, man."

I still don't know what your statement of faith is unless I hear you recite with me every Sunday all the doctrines woven into the Liturgy. Do we or don't we confess the same doctrines; cause your garage band noise tells me nothing about what you believe even though whatever it is, you sure seem enthusiastic about it. And do I have to remind you of the battle the Lutheran Church fought against the Enthusiasts?

Maybe you're just a sectarian who was acidentally raised a Lutheran and you really need to go where liturgy is seriously and openly hated and get a full dose of it. There are 5 secterian churches within 5 miles of your house. Go stand where you see their flag.

Now, shall I tell you what true CoWo is? It's the use of modern music to celebrate the same liturgy we've always had. Sing some Hugo Distler to get a taste of it. Try some Healey Willan setting of the liturgy.
You can use modern music to chant and sing the liturgy, but you can't trash the liturgy because it is our publically performed statement of orthodox faith around which we all rally. To change a doctrine in the liturgy takes a church council. The kind like they had at Nicea.

So if the musical accompaniment to the liturgy you want is a garage band and loud electronic noise, go for it, but the words and the order of the liturgy are not up for grabs.

In Christian and catholic love we march together confessing every Sunday the same doctrines in Iowa, in Nigeria, in India, in China, in Brazil, and in Illinois (only not officially in southern Illinois).

No one will quibble with you on music styles, no matter how ugly and loud, go knock yourselves out, but don't touch the liturgy or skip it. Rock the liturgy, if you must, but it must be the liturgy.

Because your music is foreign to us, so your liturgy is all you have to prove that you are one of us each and every Sunday, and that you do believe every single doctrine in that liturgy.

And what really bothers me, as a person from the Deep South, the most is that so many of you Enthusiasts think it's new with you; like we never had Holy Rollers, Shakers, or Quakers before. In my youth we made shameless fun of religious people like the enthusiasts. We'd drive out to their encampments to watch'em roll around in the grass.

Who in their right mind would have ever dreamed that the Lutheran Church would one day be filled with Holy Rollers. It boggles the mind.