Thinking allowed

Advice to “traditional worshippers”


In an article Dear Traditional Worshippers blogger “Jonathan” gets to grips with some of the issues between “traditional” and “contemporary” worship. Writing from an American Methodist perspective he lists some of the things that are lost by “contemporary” worship,

It’s devastating to see what’s happened to worship in the church. You’re right. The blindness surrounding the issue is astounding. The insistence that the common trends of the day are most fitting for public worship is wrong and short-sighted. It’s grieving that most churches now let Christians choose to not learn the historic creeds, or the great tradition of hymns and songs, or the great privilege of praying together and reading Scripture together. The commercialization of our sacred time, well, it’s nothing short of tragic. Yeah, we’ve sacrificed so much of who we are.

I know you feel like it’s been stolen from you. I know the pain runs deep. I know you’ve lost jobs, friends, family, congregations. I know you’ve paid a dear price.

I hear you. I’m one of you. I get it.

But he continues

But here’s the deal. We’ve become part of the problem.

It’s not enough to say “we like it.” That doesn’t matter. The worst thing that “contemporary worship” did was come on the scene, label itself as a viable choice, and then get away with labeling the liturgy as a choice, also. But we can learn from the brokenness.

It’s not enough to say, “That was my mom’s favorite hymn.” Or, “It’s my preference.” Or, “Those were some of my best childhood memories.” It’s got to be deeper than that, or we’re just guarding our relics, our museum pieces.

It’s not about sentimentality. It’s not about taste or preference. It’s about meaning.

The bottom line is this. We don’t keep tradition because it’s tradition, or because it’s old, or because it’s comfortable.

We keep tradition because it’s worth doing. Because it anchors us. Because it’s bigger than us. Because it reminds us that we’re not alone. Because it keeps us honest. Because it helps us avoid thinking that this worship thing is all about us. Because it builds up the church. Because it lets us better engage our minds with our spirit. Because it helps us respond as the visible community.

So maybe we need to rethink our plan of action.

And he goes on to list a dozen point where action can be taken.

Definitely worth a read.


More Canadian trial liturgy

I noted earlier the publication by the Anglican Church of Canada of trial Year A Collects ‘from Pentecost to the Reign of Christ’.

The Canadian Church has added considerably more resources to that page in the intervening period. It now contains

  • Morning and Evening Prayer: Advent, Christmas and Epiphany
  • Trial Use Liturgical Psalter
  • Trial Use Collects and Seasonal Prayers over the Gifts and after Communion from Advent to the Baptism of Christ β€” Year B
  • Trial Use Collects and Seasonal Prayers over the Gifts and after Communion from Advent to the Baptism of Christ β€” Year A
  • Trial Use Collects from Pentecost to the Reign of Christ β€” Year A

In the Canadian Church each diocesan bishop can authorize the this material for trial use in their diocese, and the task Force encourages feedback on their use.

(Thanks to Rod Gillis for drawing my attention to the new material. As before, I welcome readers sending suggestions of suitable links either by email or as a comment on an existing article.)

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