This week’s editorial at Anglicans Online ponders the question When is a service worship and when is it performance?.
Our friend enjoys the cleansing end-of-the-day, beginning-of-the-week feel to Compline on Sunday evenings. She, like us, views the services of the Daily Office as worshipful expressions of our beliefs and faith. Imagine her surprise when she sat down with the pew sheet: The second word on the inside cover was ‘performance’.
Compline as performance? She brought us the pew sheet. We read it through. Unfortunately, this time the sung service of Compline seemed to be replaced with a concert based on Compline. Soloists were named, a long biographical sketch of the conductor was included. No mention was made of the history or role of Compline in the worship life of our tradition. No mention of welcoming the congregation to a time of prayer. Perhaps we are being too picky. Perhaps it is enough the service is being offered no matter the circumstances.
We were left to ponder: When is a service worship and when is it performance? Does it matter? Should it matter?