"Hearing the Word of God was once a weighty phrase, corresponding to an awesome reality. Today, in the thinking of many, the whole thing can be taken care of without inconvenience or loss of time if need be, by tuning in to the “Lutheran Hour” while devoutly chewing Kentucky Fried Chicken on the way to Six Flags!" - Rev. Dr. Kurt Marquart
Unfortunately, we convenience church into our lives. It's a perfect fit as long as we can squeeze it between Starbucks and soccer practice or a late morning's sleep and tailgating or fishing and the NFL preview show… or __________________ and ________________.
Recently Rev. Matt Richard posted a quote from Dr. Marquart’s article, “Liturgical Commonplaces” published in Concordia Theological Quarterly. The quote was so intriguing it compelled me to read the entire article.
Perhaps these excerpts will whet your appetite for a feast-filled reading of Dr. Marquart’s article.
- Richard Wurmbrand, having noted the frequent refrain in church-bulletins that refreshments will be served after the service, asks pointedly: “Why do you not provide refreshment in the service?”
- The idea, for instance, that the Service should be “meaningful,” that is, clear and obvious to any casual visitor who might pop in from the street is short-sightedly pragmatic. A “service” tailored to such a misguided ideal would comprise a mélange of threadbare banalities, which even the casual visitor is likely to find unbearable after the third time – not to speak of the faithful who attend regularly for threescore years and ten. People who come to the church seeking divine truths do not expect it to be huckstered like soap or soft drinks, with mindless jingles.
- What then shall we make of the idea that “the youth” get bored with sameness and therefore require constant innovations to keep them interested? The sentiment is well-meaning enough but is essentially misguided…In the long term, however, such an approach is bound to produce conscious or subconscious contempt for the church. Who, after all, could respect an institution which is, after two thousand years’ experience, so confused about its functions as to say, in effect: ‘Dear Children, help us! We are no longer sure about what we out to be doing. Perhaps you might have some good ideas?’ Who could possibly take seriously the play-worship prefixed with that horrid word, ‘experimental’?