“When I was a child…”
Most articles about religion are about anti-religion. This one caught my eye recently: Why Millennials are Leaving the Church?. Here is part of the author’s solution:
But I would encourage church leaders eager to win millennials back to sit down and really talk with them about what they’re looking for and what they would like to contribute to a faith community.
I’ve heard this ‘stuff’ before. Before there was “rap”, there was “rapping” with us then young people, now called ‘baby boomers”, with the question of “what we want out of church?”. This article is like déjà vu. This also means for the author acceptance of same-sex marriage, liberal ‘social justice’, etc. In a must read article , “Liturgical Commonplaces”, written in 1978 (found here) by Pr. Kurt Marquart, the seminary professor spoke to this:
Who, after all, could respect an institution which is, after two thousand years’ experience, so confused about its functions as to say, in effect: “Dear children, help us! We are no longer sure about what we ought to be doing. Perhaps you might have some good ideas?”
As a child being asked for what I want in a service, we now have a generation of adults still so asking, What do you want? We have a culture in which children act like adults and adults as children. The problem is not the youth but the elders trying to act ‘groovy’ now for over a generation. And the church’s justifiable epithet is Rodney Dangerfield’s, “I get no respect” and no wonder we have CoWo. Pr. Marquart spells out this lack of respect as is our just due in the next paragraph:
The fact is that no healthy, viable society lets its children arbitrate its values. It is for the elders of the tribe to guard its cultural heritage and to transmit it solemnly to the younger generation-never vice versa. Also in our society the problem is not with the youth but with their elders. If youth are confused about values, it is mainly because their parents are. If the liturgy is boring to children it is usually because the parents do not find it very interesting either. If children saw adults treating the Sunday Service as the most important activity of their lives, they would respect it too, and would never dream of treating it as a pop-event, to be tinkered with by every Tom, Dick, and Harry. A church which has won the conscientious loyalty of parents – particularly fathers! (Ephesians 3:15; Ephesians 6:4) – will have the devotion of their children too. But a church which abjectly capitulates to the whims and tastes of adolescents will have, and deserve, neither.” (emphasis my own)
When I was eight or so, a cousin was baptized at the church I was baptized, St. Paul’s Lutheran (WELS), St. James, Minnesota. My Father and Mother were the Godparents. I still remember when my Father approached the Altar he bowed. This obviously made an impression that I still remember it that my Dad would show such respect to the place where the Lord gives us His Body and His Blood. My Father also would say to me, that if a choice were before him, whether to go to Sunday School or the worship Service, Service was the answer. This is a false choice but my Father verbally and visually, word and deed, impressed upon me the centrality of the Divine Service. Pastor Marquart pointed out the importance of parents, especially fathers acting like adults, yet with a child like faith that is not childish. Every Sunday is our Father’s Day as it is fathers’ day. Let’s not play around with it but always and ever pray within the day as befitting His baptized sons and daughters.
Ephesians 3:14-19 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family (Greek, “patria”, fatherhood) in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.