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quod pro nobis traditum est

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Liturgy - dealing with external matters

Discussing liturgy one can run into walls at times. What is befuddling appears to be a posed separation between faith and liturgy (more than a mere distinction). In this way liturgy becomes mere external ceremony which may or may not be aesthetically appealing. This would explain the difficulties one hears with lex orandi, lex credendi and the idea posed to me once that God is with us everywhere (ie, Matt. 28) but not necessarily with us in the liturgy, Divine Service or Mass on Sunday morning. Sunday morning becomes, in this way, understood more as a public "show," of some sort or another, that is distinguished from faith (then liturgy also becomes separated from the sacraments). Whoever is in charge controls the show (this could also help explain the slide of worship into entertainment). The quote below adds some sense to the confusion we face in discussing the liturgy, at least in my mind. The quote provides a glimpse of a bigger picture of how the liturgy is viewed by some, or many, in the Lutheran tradition.

"[Graebner] was the only theologian in St. Louis who realized that there was something to liturgical theology, even though he saw only the outward things such as ceremonies which appealed to his artistic senses. His original judgment was that liturgical practices were adiaphoristic ("indifferent"). There were many others who, like, him, looked upon the liturgical revival only as a restoration of traditional ceremonies."
(B. von Schenk in Lively Stone, p. 30)

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