“When I was a child…”

May 24th, 2014 Post by

1 Cor 13:11Most 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.






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  1. Randy
    May 24th, 2014 at 22:40 | #1

    Excellent article Rev. Schroeder. Excellent. Thank you.

    The comment about your father bowing at the Altar says a lot. I used to have the “solo act” of cleaning my LCMS church when I was a young teenager (it was a small church). I’d work my way around sweeping, dusting, mopping, and cleaning, but when it was time to ensure the Altar was squared away it was a different story. I slowed down, sort of took a moment to compose myself, then approached the Altar, bowed, and then carefully dusted and cleaned that area. Then, after that portion of the job was completed, I’d bow again as I left and then moved on at full speed. I had been taught by my pastor, parents, and elders to demonstrate reverence, whether anyone was around or not. To many these days, such a thing would be considered ridiculous. In many Lutheran churches you can’t even find the Altar…………..

  2. Tim S.
    May 25th, 2014 at 07:28 | #2

    We still bow when approaching or leaving the altar at my congregation. I can remember bowing every time I passed in front of the altar when lighting candles when I was a teen. I’ve seen the altar guild ladies bow when they’re cleaning up before and after the Service.

  3. Big Horse Sue
    November 3rd, 2014 at 20:39 | #3

    Thank you for this topic, I have moved and my new congregation does not bow in this formal manner although they are a confessional church and an I also noticed this in an intervening WELS congregation in the area as well. I was wondering if I had just picked up something that was a regional practice and doing a little investigation. My personal practice is to take that moment of reverence, I don’t think I could be comfortable doing anything else.

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