The other day, in choir rehearsal, we were learning a new musical setting for the Gospel Acclamation (in Lutheran nomenclature known as the “Alleluia and Verse”), and on a random whim I decided to quiz the singers on why we sing this. Nothing. Dead silence. Finally, our Pastor (who leads the tenor section but confessed to skimming his worship class in seminary) blurted out, “Because it’s in the bulletin!” Well, gotta give him points for honesty. It then occurred to me that if I desire to be a voice for doxological reformation among churches of the Lutheran confession, I need to take more seriously my responsibility for active catechesis in historic Christian worship. There’s no point in me cramming the Divine Service down the throats of those who have not the slightest clue what it means and would just as soon throw it out if I were suddenly no longer there.
So in the interest of helping our congregation to understand how we worship and why, I have started a new series in our Sunday bulletin entitled “Why On Earth Do We Do That?” Each week (ideally) I will take a segment of the liturgy or other traditions that is a part of our worship and take a moment to explain what it is, where it comes from, what it means, and why we do it. The four questions I intent to answer each time are: Why do we do this? What does this mean? What is the point? What does it have to do with Jesus? Through repetition I hope to encourage our people to engage their corporate spirituality with a critical eye to understanding these things in order that God might be worshiped with our minds and our rites not driven by every wind of fundagelical trends.
As I write this series, I shall be including these blurbs here for anybody who might be interested. It shall be a great series for those new to or curious about Lutheran worship, because I’ll be breaking things down to explain them at the most basic level. Many in our church are not from a Lutheran background and aren’t exactly sure what makes our church different from those of other traditions. They may not be able to articulate why we worship the way we do, but every time I expound on this area it seems to be appreciated.
So towards the fuller intellectual participation in the prayer and praise of the saints, I give you this new series entitled, “Why On Earth Do We Do That?” Advent and Christmas blurbs to be posted soon.