Thursday, November 11, 2010


"Authentic" Liturgy

Esther Meek has a wonderful essay at CGO, "Why I Go To Church":
The sociology or even the teaching of a particular church isn’t always comfortable. The sermon can be dreadful, the people too suburban, too inbred, too full of pat answers. But this is what I can’t get around: Jesus loves the church. He who loves me so extravagantly I may dance into his arms, pig-sty stench and all—he loves the church I feel uncomfortable at, just the same. She is his bride.
She really does an excellent job here, but her approach is very different than mine. From her set-up:
“Nobody is going to church,” my daughter told me recently. She was talking about people her age who had all grown up in intensely doctrined and governed churches and schools. “I ask them—do you pray? Do you have your quiet times? They all say, no.”

It opened my eyes to something I hadn’t realized. Others her age tell me how uncomfortable church feels, how inauthentic, how the pressure for evangelism was no longer to be tolerated, how the exaltation of a single man’s sermon feels like an abuse of power. Friends and involvements outside of church seem more real. The one kind of church experience that seems genuine, it seems, is liturgical.
I read that an immediately this question popped into my head, "In a world where we are all sinners, what makes church 'authentic'?"

I have two brief answers. For one - we do. Church is what we make of it, not what we let others make of it for us. Now that is, pretty bluntly, essentially what Meek is saying. God is there, and He is what makes it authentic, if we do not feel it is authentic, then we are not seeing Him.

But my second brief answer is the one that I think is really important - it's a single word - HUMILITY. Because we are all sinners, and therefore in a sense can never worship completely authentically, it is incumbent upon us to worship is a humility that reflects are inadequacy to be there to begin with.

Prostrating yourself before the throne is not intended to be comfortable. Think about it.

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