Teaching worship

Last Sunday our Pastor, Rev. James Douthwaite, did something he does once a year or so: He teaches us the significance and why-we-do-what-we-do in the liturgy. He uses an adaptation of The Narrative Commentary on the Divine Service by Prof. John Pless, who gave permission to post it on the church website and to thus make it available to others. (You can find the version we used here as a .pdf file. You can also find it online here.)

The way it worked was that an elder read the commentary before each part, and then we did it. One would expect this to be intrusive, but it really wasn’t. I learned a lot. I would recommend that Lutheran pastors make use of this resource so that their parishioners know what they are doing and develop an appreciation for the richness of liturgical worship. Non-Lutherans too would benefit from knowing this stuff. It would disabuse them of the notion that liturgical worship is “just Catholic” and would show them just how Biblical and evangelical the historic worship of the church really is.

For our edification and discussion, I’m going to post portions of it over the next few days. Here, for example, is the opening, setting forth succinctly the Lutheran theology of worship:

The high and holy worship of God is faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Such faith is created and sustained by God’s Service to us. In the Divine Service, the Lord comes to us in His Word and Sacrament to bless and enliven us with His gifts. This Service is not something we do for God, but His service to us to be received in faith. The “liturgy” is God’s work. He gives, we receive.

Here is the significance of the Invocation (“In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”):

From God’s Word, we know that wherever God puts His Name, there He is to bless. In the Old Testament, the Temple was the place where God graciously caused His Name to be present.

God has put His Name-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit on you in Holy Baptism. The Divine Service begins “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Every Divine Service is for the hallowing of the Lord’s Name, which the Small Catechism reminds us is done “When the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity and we as the children of God, also lead a holy life according to it.”

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    I got goosebumps reading this. And I get goosebumps doing this same thing in Portuguese among fellow Lutherans who burn with the same love and devotion to our Lord Jesus here in Brasil.

    I eagerly await the next installments!.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    I got goosebumps reading this. And I get goosebumps doing this same thing in Portuguese among fellow Lutherans who burn with the same love and devotion to our Lord Jesus here in Brasil.

    I eagerly await the next installments!.

  • Joe

    This is great. Too many do not understand why we use the liturgy. This is a great resource.

  • Joe

    This is great. Too many do not understand why we use the liturgy. This is a great resource.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I think I like it.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I think I like it.

  • S Bauer

    I’ve done this for a number of years in the congregations I’ve served as well, using a commentary I wrote up myself (which I’m sure can’t hold a candle to Pless’ version). It incorporates highway signs to help illustrate what is going on in each part of the liturgy. I call it, “A Highway for Our God”.

  • S Bauer

    I’ve done this for a number of years in the congregations I’ve served as well, using a commentary I wrote up myself (which I’m sure can’t hold a candle to Pless’ version). It incorporates highway signs to help illustrate what is going on in each part of the liturgy. I call it, “A Highway for Our God”.

  • Digital

    As a person who did not grow up in the Lutheran Church I found (and still find) divine 1 to be an incredibly intimidating service.
    To the non-lifelong-lutheran we have a lot of difficulty singing the hymns, understanding the liturgy (spent most of my time feeling pretty self conscious; stand sit, read page 43..no not THAT page 43…)
    I was even going to a Concordia at the time and had taken Doc I, so it wasn’t like I was a stranger to the creeds and liturgical understanding. But it did make it easier to swallow. But it still was an alien service.
    Today, 12 years after I was introduced to the LCMS I am married a red hymnal Lutheran, teaching Lutheran Bible studies, Serving on the Elder team, I still have difficulty with divine 1 but I have a much better respect for it. I still have difficulty with many of the Hymns. I am a Bass/Baritone after all, I can fake tenor but that is even low for many hymns ;) So I more often than not head over to the “Contemporary Service”. So I can worship in the manner that is comfortable, but not as reverent.
    However, at our Church we have recognized the desire for young adults (think 20s and 30s here) to get back to reverent styles of worship. We will be starting a service next month to serve those individuals who want a more contemplative, reverent, liturgical service.
    I think the problem is familiarity, Don’t get me wrong, I really do understand the purpose of the liturgy and the structure of the service, but it was meant for town churches. It was not meant to help bring new Christians into the Church. I know I know, that is what the HS does, but I grew up loving church, heavily involved, all through college, it was close to torment, because I could not worship, which led me to skip chapel in lieu of a nap, and spend my Sundays Church Shopping.
    So my question to all of you, how do you plan on helping new Christians get to the point of worshiping in a liturgical service?

  • Digital

    As a person who did not grow up in the Lutheran Church I found (and still find) divine 1 to be an incredibly intimidating service.
    To the non-lifelong-lutheran we have a lot of difficulty singing the hymns, understanding the liturgy (spent most of my time feeling pretty self conscious; stand sit, read page 43..no not THAT page 43…)
    I was even going to a Concordia at the time and had taken Doc I, so it wasn’t like I was a stranger to the creeds and liturgical understanding. But it did make it easier to swallow. But it still was an alien service.
    Today, 12 years after I was introduced to the LCMS I am married a red hymnal Lutheran, teaching Lutheran Bible studies, Serving on the Elder team, I still have difficulty with divine 1 but I have a much better respect for it. I still have difficulty with many of the Hymns. I am a Bass/Baritone after all, I can fake tenor but that is even low for many hymns ;) So I more often than not head over to the “Contemporary Service”. So I can worship in the manner that is comfortable, but not as reverent.
    However, at our Church we have recognized the desire for young adults (think 20s and 30s here) to get back to reverent styles of worship. We will be starting a service next month to serve those individuals who want a more contemplative, reverent, liturgical service.
    I think the problem is familiarity, Don’t get me wrong, I really do understand the purpose of the liturgy and the structure of the service, but it was meant for town churches. It was not meant to help bring new Christians into the Church. I know I know, that is what the HS does, but I grew up loving church, heavily involved, all through college, it was close to torment, because I could not worship, which led me to skip chapel in lieu of a nap, and spend my Sundays Church Shopping.
    So my question to all of you, how do you plan on helping new Christians get to the point of worshiping in a liturgical service?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Digital, thanks for your comments, and I hope people can respond to them in a helpful way. You raise a fascinating point: Your congregation is starting a liturgical service to appeal to young people! Normally, the contemporary service is sold as a way to reach that demographic, but in reality it is oriented to us aging Baby Boomers!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Digital, thanks for your comments, and I hope people can respond to them in a helpful way. You raise a fascinating point: Your congregation is starting a liturgical service to appeal to young people! Normally, the contemporary service is sold as a way to reach that demographic, but in reality it is oriented to us aging Baby Boomers!

  • Digital

    Veith@6
    Thanks for the positive comment! Many of my Seminarian friends tend to respond to my frustration and desire for worship with a “you have to give it time and focus”. Divine 1 is perfect.
    I have found that I LOVE LOVE LOVE, the reverence given to Christ through the Divine services. However, I just have a difficult time worshiping in the service. I don’t want to make it about me when I worship but in Divine I am constantly analyzing, “Am I on the right page” “Am I saying this correctly” “Am I singing this or should I be reading it since I cannot hit the note”
    On the opposite end, in the Contemporary service I am really singing and focusing on Christ but the reverence isn’t there. People chat during communion, the prayer time is brief, there is the creeds but the feeling is people don’t “get” why they are stating the creed.
    I am really hoping that this Contemplative service will help those of us stuck between the two styles of worship. Bring us back to the common cup, the chant, the meditation on the word. The communal worship of Christ. The same stuff the Lifers love about Divine 1 that us non traditional long for.
    BTW I am 31, I and a number of my counterparts are all really excited about this upcoming service. Maybe it is our ‘rebellion’ against our parent’s church.

  • Digital

    Veith@6
    Thanks for the positive comment! Many of my Seminarian friends tend to respond to my frustration and desire for worship with a “you have to give it time and focus”. Divine 1 is perfect.
    I have found that I LOVE LOVE LOVE, the reverence given to Christ through the Divine services. However, I just have a difficult time worshiping in the service. I don’t want to make it about me when I worship but in Divine I am constantly analyzing, “Am I on the right page” “Am I saying this correctly” “Am I singing this or should I be reading it since I cannot hit the note”
    On the opposite end, in the Contemporary service I am really singing and focusing on Christ but the reverence isn’t there. People chat during communion, the prayer time is brief, there is the creeds but the feeling is people don’t “get” why they are stating the creed.
    I am really hoping that this Contemplative service will help those of us stuck between the two styles of worship. Bring us back to the common cup, the chant, the meditation on the word. The communal worship of Christ. The same stuff the Lifers love about Divine 1 that us non traditional long for.
    BTW I am 31, I and a number of my counterparts are all really excited about this upcoming service. Maybe it is our ‘rebellion’ against our parent’s church.

  • Louis

    Veith – We had our annual “Worship 101″ service some weeks ago. This is really helpful, both as an introduction for new members, and a reminder for the rest.

    BTW – we have no “contemporary” service at all. Interestingly, I have also read of a survey / research (unfortunately, I cannot recall where) which points to the Baby-boomers as the generation pushing for “contepmporary services” and the like. We had friends (non-Lutheran, non-liturgical) visiting our church, and their younger children (ie under the age of 16) loved the liturgy.

  • Louis

    Veith – We had our annual “Worship 101″ service some weeks ago. This is really helpful, both as an introduction for new members, and a reminder for the rest.

    BTW – we have no “contemporary” service at all. Interestingly, I have also read of a survey / research (unfortunately, I cannot recall where) which points to the Baby-boomers as the generation pushing for “contepmporary services” and the like. We had friends (non-Lutheran, non-liturgical) visiting our church, and their younger children (ie under the age of 16) loved the liturgy.

  • Louis

    Also, whenever there are evening meetings of some kind (this comittee or that), full Vespers is included, and there are corresponding Matins as well. I particularly love the Vespers service.

  • Louis

    Also, whenever there are evening meetings of some kind (this comittee or that), full Vespers is included, and there are corresponding Matins as well. I particularly love the Vespers service.

  • Marian

    I wasn’t raised Lutheran, but first came to an LCMS church simply because it had an early service in a period when I worked Sunday afternoons. The liturgy was one of the things that kept me coming (after an initial few Sundays of uncomfortably self-conscious confusion). It taught me a lot of Lutheran theology before I ever went to the new-member class. Its familiarity gives comfort in times when other parts of my life change too much, reminding me that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” That we sing the same Kyrie and Agnus Dei that Christians have sung for centuries is a great affirmation of the enduring truth of the Christian faith. I know that the outward form shouldn’t matter so much to me as long as the theological content is there; but every contemporary service I’ve been to seems to lack a great deal of that content: the liturgy is mostly gone, the majority of the hymns have short and simple texts with lots of repetition, and the whole seems to be stuck in the spiritual milk stage. At 43, I don’t think I qualify anymore as one of the Younger Generation that churchs are trying to attract, but when I started in 1990 I was only 23!

  • Marian

    I wasn’t raised Lutheran, but first came to an LCMS church simply because it had an early service in a period when I worked Sunday afternoons. The liturgy was one of the things that kept me coming (after an initial few Sundays of uncomfortably self-conscious confusion). It taught me a lot of Lutheran theology before I ever went to the new-member class. Its familiarity gives comfort in times when other parts of my life change too much, reminding me that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” That we sing the same Kyrie and Agnus Dei that Christians have sung for centuries is a great affirmation of the enduring truth of the Christian faith. I know that the outward form shouldn’t matter so much to me as long as the theological content is there; but every contemporary service I’ve been to seems to lack a great deal of that content: the liturgy is mostly gone, the majority of the hymns have short and simple texts with lots of repetition, and the whole seems to be stuck in the spiritual milk stage. At 43, I don’t think I qualify anymore as one of the Younger Generation that churchs are trying to attract, but when I started in 1990 I was only 23!

  • Marian

    Louis @ #8, re: young children: my 6-year-old already knows most of the sung parts of the liturgy and my 4-year old knows the “Glory to God”. My 2-year-old is now insisting on coming in for the first part of the service, and is starting to sing along.

    In my previous post I referred to singing the Kyrie; actually I don’t get to do that at present because there isn’t an LCMS church enough and I’m stuck in a (fairly conservative) ELCA congregation which leaves that out (and I miss it every week!). Fortunately, they stick mostly to one setting of the liturgy (the ELCA hymnbook has 10!!).

  • Marian

    Louis @ #8, re: young children: my 6-year-old already knows most of the sung parts of the liturgy and my 4-year old knows the “Glory to God”. My 2-year-old is now insisting on coming in for the first part of the service, and is starting to sing along.

    In my previous post I referred to singing the Kyrie; actually I don’t get to do that at present because there isn’t an LCMS church enough and I’m stuck in a (fairly conservative) ELCA congregation which leaves that out (and I miss it every week!). Fortunately, they stick mostly to one setting of the liturgy (the ELCA hymnbook has 10!!).

  • Julia

    I am almost two years attending Lutheran church. It took me a while
    to get use to the Divine Service. I absolutely love them! This was very helpful to understand why we do what we do.
    If I may suggest a book by Rev Dr Arthur Just, Heaven on Earth.
    This book explains the why of almost everything.
    I think the Lutheran Church would do well to develop something to help those who find themselves arriving from the shallow services of Evangelical churches.
    Looking forward to more.

  • Julia

    I am almost two years attending Lutheran church. It took me a while
    to get use to the Divine Service. I absolutely love them! This was very helpful to understand why we do what we do.
    If I may suggest a book by Rev Dr Arthur Just, Heaven on Earth.
    This book explains the why of almost everything.
    I think the Lutheran Church would do well to develop something to help those who find themselves arriving from the shallow services of Evangelical churches.
    Looking forward to more.

  • Louis

    Julia, Marain – I grew up in a semi-pelagian sect, and then did penance, sorry!, I meant a stint in Reformed churches. But I loved the Lutheran liturgy from my first moment. Interestingly, my 13 year-old daughter, who has been confirmed in the Lutheran Church (LCC), has visited a conservative evangelical church with a friend of hers: She hated the informality, the glibness, the legalism etc etc. The young learn quickly!

  • Louis

    Julia, Marain – I grew up in a semi-pelagian sect, and then did penance, sorry!, I meant a stint in Reformed churches. But I loved the Lutheran liturgy from my first moment. Interestingly, my 13 year-old daughter, who has been confirmed in the Lutheran Church (LCC), has visited a conservative evangelical church with a friend of hers: She hated the informality, the glibness, the legalism etc etc. The young learn quickly!

  • Rob

    Just a note of caution: I have come to deeply love the richness and tradition of the Liturgy (though I still have a complaint – with the Red Hymnal Divine 1/LSB Setting 3, would it have killed them to write out the actual quarter notes, eighth notes, etc? How are we supposed to sing in unison if only given pitches but no meter?).

    But I get very, very nervous any time someone begins to praise the service itself, instead of the God who is received and worshiped through the service. In regards to different styles of worship and their appropriateness, I will happily discuss FC Article X with anyone who wishes. I simply share a concern – let’s pray that the focus is on God, not our worship of God. If we do not, then the end result will be that Pentecostal worship (with which I am quite familiar and quite finished) and traditional Lutheran worship (which I have come to love) are equally susceptible to anthropocentrism.

  • Rob

    Just a note of caution: I have come to deeply love the richness and tradition of the Liturgy (though I still have a complaint – with the Red Hymnal Divine 1/LSB Setting 3, would it have killed them to write out the actual quarter notes, eighth notes, etc? How are we supposed to sing in unison if only given pitches but no meter?).

    But I get very, very nervous any time someone begins to praise the service itself, instead of the God who is received and worshiped through the service. In regards to different styles of worship and their appropriateness, I will happily discuss FC Article X with anyone who wishes. I simply share a concern – let’s pray that the focus is on God, not our worship of God. If we do not, then the end result will be that Pentecostal worship (with which I am quite familiar and quite finished) and traditional Lutheran worship (which I have come to love) are equally susceptible to anthropocentrism.

  • Digital

    Rob@14
    That is my fear with liturgical services. Friends strongly defend them, and sometimes it almost feels like in trying to keep the focus on Christ we have made it all about the worship.
    Example, when I explain that I don’t like Divine 1, most often what I get is an incredulous look like I just insulted their faith. Than Divine 1 is the only way to properly worship and to do anything else is to settle for less than the best.
    Which is really sad to me, Liturgy is there to keep the focus on Christ, not on the service or ourselves. Often it seems that it is the distraction that keeps us from worship.

  • Digital

    Rob@14
    That is my fear with liturgical services. Friends strongly defend them, and sometimes it almost feels like in trying to keep the focus on Christ we have made it all about the worship.
    Example, when I explain that I don’t like Divine 1, most often what I get is an incredulous look like I just insulted their faith. Than Divine 1 is the only way to properly worship and to do anything else is to settle for less than the best.
    Which is really sad to me, Liturgy is there to keep the focus on Christ, not on the service or ourselves. Often it seems that it is the distraction that keeps us from worship.

  • Marian

    Rob #14 and Digital #15, good points. I’m afraid no matter what kind of service is used, we humans are likely to slide the focus away from Christ to ourselves. So what form of service is most useful to bring our focus back to God? For myself the liturgy seems to be pretty effective and contemporary services less so.

  • Marian

    Rob #14 and Digital #15, good points. I’m afraid no matter what kind of service is used, we humans are likely to slide the focus away from Christ to ourselves. So what form of service is most useful to bring our focus back to God? For myself the liturgy seems to be pretty effective and contemporary services less so.

  • bunnycatch3r

    I wish this wasn’t such a novel approach. Most Lutherans I know, despite regular church attendance, receive their theology (and ideas regarding worship) from Colorado Springs. Liturgical worship is not intuitive and if it is to be achieved then it must be taught. Looking forward to the other installments.

  • bunnycatch3r

    I wish this wasn’t such a novel approach. Most Lutherans I know, despite regular church attendance, receive their theology (and ideas regarding worship) from Colorado Springs. Liturgical worship is not intuitive and if it is to be achieved then it must be taught. Looking forward to the other installments.

  • Pete

    Colorado Springs?

  • Pete

    Colorado Springs?

  • bunnycatch3r

    “Focus on the Family”

  • bunnycatch3r

    “Focus on the Family”

  • Ryan

    Digital, is it DSI or all the settings that get you?

    Here is my suggestion, off the top of my head – if the page turning and stuff is getting to you – put the hymnal away for the regular liturgy portions – just go with the flow of the service. Go ahead and memorize the service – by repetition on Sunday without the Hymnal (not by going home and practicing over and over in your case). As for singing too – go with the flow, don’t worry about singing on key, just do the tune as it fits your voice.

    You don’t have to do it right. Liturgy is meant to flow, it is not meant to be a series of staccato steps.

    God Bless You!

  • Ryan

    Digital, is it DSI or all the settings that get you?

    Here is my suggestion, off the top of my head – if the page turning and stuff is getting to you – put the hymnal away for the regular liturgy portions – just go with the flow of the service. Go ahead and memorize the service – by repetition on Sunday without the Hymnal (not by going home and practicing over and over in your case). As for singing too – go with the flow, don’t worry about singing on key, just do the tune as it fits your voice.

    You don’t have to do it right. Liturgy is meant to flow, it is not meant to be a series of staccato steps.

    God Bless You!

  • Digital

    Ryan@20
    It is a bit of all of it. By my nature repetition doesn’t go well in my head. But I think the liturgy and order of service would be fine, the worst part to me is the Hymns, not that they are bad, they are quite lovely when it comes to praise. But I have a VERY difficult time singing them, I don’t understand the music. It could be that it is because I don’t appreciate Bach, his music is just to…choppy for me. You pick a song on the radio, be it country, jazz, rock or any of them, even rap, I can sing the tune by the end of the song. I cannot say the same for good traditional Lutheran hymns. Some of them I am fine with, but you all know what I am talking about when there is a new hymn and you just sit back and appreciate the organist and lyrics.
    I guess what it comes down to is that there are services where you can come and worship. But Liturgical services, you have to learn how to worship, doesn’t that seem a bit off?

  • Digital

    Ryan@20
    It is a bit of all of it. By my nature repetition doesn’t go well in my head. But I think the liturgy and order of service would be fine, the worst part to me is the Hymns, not that they are bad, they are quite lovely when it comes to praise. But I have a VERY difficult time singing them, I don’t understand the music. It could be that it is because I don’t appreciate Bach, his music is just to…choppy for me. You pick a song on the radio, be it country, jazz, rock or any of them, even rap, I can sing the tune by the end of the song. I cannot say the same for good traditional Lutheran hymns. Some of them I am fine with, but you all know what I am talking about when there is a new hymn and you just sit back and appreciate the organist and lyrics.
    I guess what it comes down to is that there are services where you can come and worship. But Liturgical services, you have to learn how to worship, doesn’t that seem a bit off?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Digital (@21), you said, “Liturgical services, you have to learn how to worship, doesn’t that seem a bit off?” To which I’d reply: Eh, not really. What comes naturally to us (that is, to our Old Adam) is what we see in the world. We shouldn’t expect to see that in our churches, in our worship settings, because the whole point there is not to focus on the world or ourselves, but on God. So at the very least, it wouldn’t be surprising that our Old Adam would need some training — or, put differently, that it would need some restraining, something that does not appeal to the Old Adam and its worldly ways.

    Maybe it’s just that I have a young son, but I think of all the things he has to learn about life with his family, which is everything! He has to learn how to eat, even! And someday soon (God willing), he’ll even learn how to eat without throwing his food. And then he’ll learn how to use utensils. And then he’ll learn how to say “thank you” and “please”. And then he’ll learn to not take the largest portion but to make sure everyone gets enough. And then he’ll learn to set the table. And clean the dishes. And even cook a meal. But it’ll take him a while to learn how to do all those things, even if they come pretty naturally to me at this point. And sure, he doesn’t have to do things that way, but that’s how we do it in this family, and it keeps things in good order and is loving to others, and it works, so I’m going to teach it to him. As frustrating as it can be for both of us right now.

    My point being: liturgy can be like that, too.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t know many people who are good at (or, often, even appreciate) new hymns they’ve never seen before. It’s hard to read words and lyrics at the same time, even when you know one or the other!

    As for your being a bass/baritone, do you know how to read SATB music? If so, go ahead and sing the bass part! I bet someone around you will even enjoy your harmonies!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Digital (@21), you said, “Liturgical services, you have to learn how to worship, doesn’t that seem a bit off?” To which I’d reply: Eh, not really. What comes naturally to us (that is, to our Old Adam) is what we see in the world. We shouldn’t expect to see that in our churches, in our worship settings, because the whole point there is not to focus on the world or ourselves, but on God. So at the very least, it wouldn’t be surprising that our Old Adam would need some training — or, put differently, that it would need some restraining, something that does not appeal to the Old Adam and its worldly ways.

    Maybe it’s just that I have a young son, but I think of all the things he has to learn about life with his family, which is everything! He has to learn how to eat, even! And someday soon (God willing), he’ll even learn how to eat without throwing his food. And then he’ll learn how to use utensils. And then he’ll learn how to say “thank you” and “please”. And then he’ll learn to not take the largest portion but to make sure everyone gets enough. And then he’ll learn to set the table. And clean the dishes. And even cook a meal. But it’ll take him a while to learn how to do all those things, even if they come pretty naturally to me at this point. And sure, he doesn’t have to do things that way, but that’s how we do it in this family, and it keeps things in good order and is loving to others, and it works, so I’m going to teach it to him. As frustrating as it can be for both of us right now.

    My point being: liturgy can be like that, too.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t know many people who are good at (or, often, even appreciate) new hymns they’ve never seen before. It’s hard to read words and lyrics at the same time, even when you know one or the other!

    As for your being a bass/baritone, do you know how to read SATB music? If so, go ahead and sing the bass part! I bet someone around you will even enjoy your harmonies!

  • Digital

    Ya I understand fighting the old Adam. I guess what I am wondering is at what point in liturgical worship will I move from a learning stage to a worship stage? 12 years and going here, but my experience with divine 1 is maybe 3-5 times a year. We have a pretty “progressive” church with a blended service that people refer to as traditional, and a unique “contemporary” service (although I would be hamstrung for calling it contemporary). Both services follow a good structure but my understanding of liturgy other than it’s history is limited.
    Ya I can read music reasonably, I was never a vocalist but you give me a trombone and I will be on it. I can sing the bass part when I have someone next to me to match or if I am feeling spunky I can listen to the organist and pick it out.
    I grew up non-denom and there is a lot of learning to do even in those services. Meditation on the word, worshiping while singing, respecting the communion etc. My personal feeling is that the contemporary services tend to focus on the worship of God while the liturgical services focus on revering God. Both do have problems with worshiping the service, but as you mentioned that is the Old Adam coming out.
    So there is my dilemma in a can. I love the reverence of the liturgical style, maybe it comes down to that I just don’t like the hymns, I think I might like a service that did chants more.

  • Digital

    Ya I understand fighting the old Adam. I guess what I am wondering is at what point in liturgical worship will I move from a learning stage to a worship stage? 12 years and going here, but my experience with divine 1 is maybe 3-5 times a year. We have a pretty “progressive” church with a blended service that people refer to as traditional, and a unique “contemporary” service (although I would be hamstrung for calling it contemporary). Both services follow a good structure but my understanding of liturgy other than it’s history is limited.
    Ya I can read music reasonably, I was never a vocalist but you give me a trombone and I will be on it. I can sing the bass part when I have someone next to me to match or if I am feeling spunky I can listen to the organist and pick it out.
    I grew up non-denom and there is a lot of learning to do even in those services. Meditation on the word, worshiping while singing, respecting the communion etc. My personal feeling is that the contemporary services tend to focus on the worship of God while the liturgical services focus on revering God. Both do have problems with worshiping the service, but as you mentioned that is the Old Adam coming out.
    So there is my dilemma in a can. I love the reverence of the liturgical style, maybe it comes down to that I just don’t like the hymns, I think I might like a service that did chants more.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    todd @22

    excellent post.

    We confess as Lutherans in our Confessions that “nothing can be added to the ethical system of Aristotle.

    and what does he tell us?

    that we become [in our old adams] by doing. Whatever it is that we aspire to be in our character, we acquire by making that behavior a habit, and that in time this habitual behavior will become second nature.

    This is especially true for what we do in church. There is nothing there about letting go and letting God. Every moral victory is hardwon against the devil, the world and our own flesh. There is no magic Holy Ghost powered christian pill that will fix what is wrong with us and those others who annoy us ……except death and then the resurrection.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    todd @22

    excellent post.

    We confess as Lutherans in our Confessions that “nothing can be added to the ethical system of Aristotle.

    and what does he tell us?

    that we become [in our old adams] by doing. Whatever it is that we aspire to be in our character, we acquire by making that behavior a habit, and that in time this habitual behavior will become second nature.

    This is especially true for what we do in church. There is nothing there about letting go and letting God. Every moral victory is hardwon against the devil, the world and our own flesh. There is no magic Holy Ghost powered christian pill that will fix what is wrong with us and those others who annoy us ……except death and then the resurrection.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Thanks for posting this, Dr. Vieth. Its like you were reading my mind. I was just looking for a faithful, yet short synopsis of all this for the edification of my own congregation. I found something else which I am using now – but I look forward to sharing this too in good time. Blessings.

    oh, by the way, fws, I still plan to do that reading you suggested in that other post – I certainly see a relation to it here. And I agree, a great analogy, tODD 22, I have a son who is at the “throwing” stage too. He hasn’t learned the words, “Can I be excused, please?” yet either.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Thanks for posting this, Dr. Vieth. Its like you were reading my mind. I was just looking for a faithful, yet short synopsis of all this for the edification of my own congregation. I found something else which I am using now – but I look forward to sharing this too in good time. Blessings.

    oh, by the way, fws, I still plan to do that reading you suggested in that other post – I certainly see a relation to it here. And I agree, a great analogy, tODD 22, I have a son who is at the “throwing” stage too. He hasn’t learned the words, “Can I be excused, please?” yet either.

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