Thursday, April 30, 2015


Liturgical Accessibility

Chaplain Mike:
That is why engaging in worship and liturgy is more like learning to walk or ride a bike than studying algebra or philosophy. You just start doing it. As you do, you fumble around, you make mistakes, you forget the words, you can’t find the page in the book in time, you sit when you should be kneeling, you stand and look around only to discover that everyone is seated. Furthermore, you can’t see the big picture. You don’t grasp why you say the Creed here or the Lord’s Prayer there. You have no clue why the readers are reciting the various passages from the Bible. Why those books and passages today? Are they supposed to fit together or something? As weeks go by, you notice that the pastor and leaders wear different colors and that there are different colors or themes in the sanctuary decorations. About all you can really hang your hat on is that people come, sing, pray, listen to a sermon, and take Communion together.
The counter argument is, of course, that people will not come and "fumble around" anymore - they find that embarrassing and off-putting. Hence the shift to services that are less "threatening"

Any even when high church liturgy was more widely practiced many people got used to the rhythms but never did bother to learn the "whys."

This strikes at the heart of what I consider to be THE issue in Sunday Service forms. There is a deep distinction between worship and evangelism. Worship is for the committed. They are willing, due to their commitment, to put in the effort to learn. Evangelism is outreach to the uncommitted, trying to make committed out of them. One can not assume any effort from those you are attempting to evangelize. But when we try to do both in a single setting we create a situation where the committed are never challenged to be more committed and the uncommitted see little difference between the committed and uncommitted.

We are afraid to say, "This is not for you" lest we be decried as "judgmental," and thus we raise perpetual children.

The problem isn't judgement, it's good judgement.


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