Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tradition! Tradition! Tradition

Someone who read my last post took issue with the idea that Baptists don't wear robes. He was apparently refering to a time in the past (50+years ago?) when Baptist ministers were known to wear black robes. Historically, that is probably true, although my 35 years of experience does not support this. Many years ago, we had a pastor that wore a robe for wedding ceremonies, but that was about it.

Although I work with a pretty traditional (though moving toward a blended) worship service, we definately don't want to be a museum piece. The idea that traditional means that we should do everything in 19th century fashion is pretty farfetched. I imagine that would effectively kill our service in no time flat! No, what we are looking to do is have a "boundry-less" sort of service in terms of style. In other words, we choose music because it is great worship music and fits with the theme of the particular service, not because it was written in a certain time period. We enjoy readings, sacrements like communion and baptism, testimony, sermons given in several formats, occasional dramas, instruments of all kinds-from pipe organ to flute to drums to electric bass to violin (because instruments are, after all, neutral objects!), and fexibility in creating our worship order, because our goal is not to enshrine or glorify the past, but to magnify our God in community and preach Truth to those in the congregation. It is freeing to plan worship this way And, while we don't want to completely ignore the needs of our congregation for a "comfortable" form of worship, the service is actually for the Lord, not us! And the Lord does not operate in time the way we do!

Always, always, always our goal is to offer a pleasing sacrifice of praise to our God. If we do that genuinely, we also practice what Sally Morgenthaler has so appropriately termed "worship evangelism". In other words, a non-believer, present in our service would be drawn to God by observing the devotion of the believers expressed in their worship.

1 comment:

grant said...

I'm not sure if I "took issue" with the post. I just think its funny that people are always saying stuff like Baptist never or always do this or that when most orthopraxy is more fluid than most of us would like to admit.

On the other hand, I'm not sure that the liturgy has been kept constant a thousand years or so to be a "museum piece" or "enshrine or glorify the past". Rather, it stays constant because it has all the elements you need to fully worship God together. And people worked hard to make it sure of this.

You don't want to diminish the hard work poor Athanasius and his friends put into the Nicaean Creed by trying to rewrite it every week to keep things fresh.

Even Jesus probably worshiped in the temple with some kind of Jewish liturgy and there is evidence that the Lord's Prayer was based on a Jewish prayer that most would know by heart. So he wasn't breaking with the old by making up a new prayer.

Just my $0.02 :)