Much has been made of the longing among some believing Millennials for structure, reverence, and beauty in worship. Fewer smoke machines, more incense. I’ve certainly evidence of this desire among this demographic. But I see it among many in my own Boomer demographic, too, in a different form. Those who grew up in Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, Episcopal, or Orthodox churches and made their way through a born-again experience into the Evangelical world (which is predominated by low church worship) found in those churches the promise of accessible, intimate relationship with God and like-minded others they hadn’t experienced in the churches of their youth.
What I do hear from my age peers who’ve spent part of their adulthood in low Church congregations is that they often experience a crystallizing moment or three when their high church childhood experiences come into focus. One friend told me she went to a funeral mass for a relative and realized she heard more Scripture simply being read and proclaimed than she had in years of listening to sermons at her non-denominational congregation. Another friend told me she grew to recognize how much she missed confession and communion being central to her worship. A third has cradle Catholic began attending a liturgical church after three decades in various Evangelical and Charismatic congregations, noting that she was tired of being an audience member and wanted to feel as though she was playing a meaningful role in participating in “the work of the people”.It would be easy to chalk this up to the old saw that absence makes the heart grow fonder – at least when it comes to the childhood churches from they’ve exited. [Read more]