Closet Liturgy Lover?

Max Patch, 2009

Another “Passion Week” has passed without my attending a single special worship service.

And I’m upset about that.

For all my enjoyment at so-called “contemporary” worship services – you know, the ones with the band (excuse me, worship team), the pastor-with-no-tie, the middle-aged parents ill-advisedly wearing jeans, the “relevant” “messages” (don’t EVEN get me started), and the church facility that looks far more like a convention center than a house of worship (another soapbox, another time) – no, really, I DO enjoy those services in those places…

Well, it appears I’m a closet liturgy lover.

I like stained glass windows.

I like choirs – well, okay, only if they’re good, I admit it, I’m sorry.

I like orchestras – same caveat.

I like reverent Lord’s Suppers. I even like calling it the Eucharist, more and more as I learn the history of that ordinance.

Heck, I like the word ordinance. It carries the solemn weight of millennia of church history behind it. I like that heftiness.

And I’m sure it’s partly because I didn’t grow up forced into it, but…I really like liturgy. Call and response, recitation of things like the Apostles’ Creed and the Gloria Patri (still don’t know it by heart), Scripture readings. I like the short choral numbers, and the choral anthems sung in Latin (yup, Latin). I like the insistence upon Scripture readings from both testaments and the Psalms. I like the reassuring order of the service – no surprises, just the comfort of ritual.

Hominy Community church, N.C.

The most beautiful worship service I ever attended was a Christmas Midnight Eucharist at Trinity Cathedral in Columbia, S.C. Oh! That contemporary evangelicalism might recover the holiness of beauty! That it might once again awaken all five of our senses in the act of worshipping our creative God! That it might rediscover the near-tidal power of ritual, tradition, creed, kneeling, the act of responding with one voice in commitment and humility.

Yes, yes, I know ritual can turn into meaningless ritual. I know we can worship with our lips but have our hearts far from our God. I know order can morph into control. I know beauty can denigrate into an idol.

Guess that’s why I’m a closet liturgy lover at a contemporary evangelical megachurch, instead of an outright Episcopalian…God love us all.

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Published in: on April 26, 2011 at 2:40 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Amen!

  2. SO glad it’s not just me! 🙂

    • Not at all. Glad we’re in the same boat! 🙂


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