Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thoughts on Worship

Pentecost 8
July 26, 2009

The Lord be with you

I just watched a YouTube video sent me by a fellow pastor. It was of a wedding processional in a church. In it, the wedding party boogalooed down the aisle of the sanctuary to a grinning and swaying priestess. The grasping for novelty in worship is nothing new. In the first half of the 20th Century, Aimee Semple McPherson, the founder of the foursquare Church, was a media sensation with her outrageous costumes and theatrical antics. In the 19th Century, great crowds were drawn in by the "new measures" employed by the Methodists. In England, the Booths founded the Salvation Army using brass bands (the popular music of the day) and rejecting such confusing teachings like the Lord's Supper and Baptism in their worship services. Their pastors dressed up in military uniforms, and were given ranks like captain. Every generation faces the same challenge going back to the Gnostics of the Second Century with their super-spiritual knowledge rituals drawn from Eastern Religions. Such caving in to whatever the current culture is tickled with reveals a real lack of reverence for the truth that was once passed down to us. Now, I'm not saying that just because something is new it has no value. If that were the case many of the great hymns and liturgy pieces we use today would never have seen the light of day. but when it comes to the worship of God, reverence for Him and respect for the history of the Church seems to be proper. Our goal is not the gathering of the largest crowd possible simply for the sake of having a large crowd, but the faithful proclamation of the Gospel to as many people as possible so that they may be saved. Such antics like portrayed in the YouTube video detract from the Gospel. I wonder what people will remember from that day, the dancing wedding party or the message from the priestess? It is through the Gospel that the Holy Spirit converts people. We are to transform the world, not have the world conform us into its image. At Lamb of God, we do indeed have quite a variety of worship formats, but you will never see me boogaloo down the aisle Sunday morning.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Rickert

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