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Posts Tagged ‘worship’

Dorky Jip – FiveTwo’s Definition of Worship

September 30th, 2014 56 comments

Wait a second… Did I read that right? The FiveTwo folks are asking on their website “What does worship mean?” But the definition given so succinctly reads: “Worship is everything we do in response to God.” So, holy worship is about me, what I’m doing for God? This can’t be right. I’m Lutheran. I know the definition of worship. These guys are saying they are Lutheran, too, but they’re giving the same mixed-up definition given by the Reformed and the dorky megachurch wannabe rock star pastors. Let me read back through this thing again. Maybe I missed something. Okay, let’s   More…

Liturgy, Neither Alone Nor Neutral

August 13th, 2013 4 comments

“The liturgy, as a true service, is that which aids both the proclamation of and the hearing of the Gospel for the sake of faith, this is true worship.”[1] The liturgy of the Church builds a framework for the worshiper to live the life of faith. The liturgy of the church, as found in the Lutheran Service Book, teaches the full counsel of God because it is based on God’s very Word given in the Scriptures. Vilmos Vajita speaks about liturgy the following way, Rites and ceremonies indeed form a training school of faith. To this extent, the pedagogical view   More…

Attempts to find Concord (not compromise) in Texas!

Last week I had the great joy of attending the 3rd Annual Free Conference of the ACELC.  The theme this year was on worship, and in the group’s earnest desire to restore unity and concord within Lutheranism they attempted to do something great – a grassroots effort to gather all sides to the table to discuss the disputed points of theology under the Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions.  This of course being a grassroots effort means that it is not troubled by bylaws, resolutions, candidacies, longstanding personality feuds, or politics for that matter. What I heard was a number of pastors   More…

Divine Service in Genesis 1-3

 A proper relationship with God is one in which we are first of all passive.  This is clearly taught in the first two chapters of Genesis.  Before the Fall into sin (Genesis 1–2), God does most of the talking and acting.  Holy Scripture begins with a beautiful picture of Divine service.  God speaks and acts, and humanity responds in humble obedience.  Divine initiative followed by human response is nicely illustrated in the creation of woman.  God acts, creating Eve (Gen 2:21—22), and Adam responds by praising God’s creative work (Gen 2:23). But in Genesis 3, the Serpent interrupts the rhythm   More…

Conscience and Worship

November 26th, 2012 8 comments

When pastors engage others in conversation about their conscience – the sense of one’s self in relation to God and creatures – we are usually dealing with those who understand conscience as an inner voice. But one must realize that in the Lutheran tradition we are not referring to merely an inner-voice. We are not concerned with the popular understanding which posits the conscience as an inner voice, or blank slate, or a clear conscience. Instead, one’s conscience already has voices in it. These voices are like the mythical siren which lured sailors to their death. Also, psychologists, anthropologists and   More…

You Are a Light Unto the World, the Five14 Way?

July 2nd, 2012 30 comments

Associated with the Lutheran Hour Ministries is a self-described “totally unique” youth community “…where teens (and recent survivors of teenhood) get together online and in person to make a life-changing impact on their generation with the love of Jesus Christ” (on-line source). This community is called Five14. Five14 was brought to my attention by a pastor who received the Lutheran Hour Ministries newspaper, “The Lutheran Layman.” What caught this pastor’s eye was Five14’s advertisement for an August 11th “Christian concert” to be held in Chesterfield, Missouri. This same event is also being advertised at the Five14 website found at http://www.lhm.org/   More…

A Belated Reflection on Projection Screens in the Liturgical Context

The use of projection screens in place of printed books or bulletins in the Divine Service has become quite prevalent in some parts of North American Lutheranism.   With this said, I am not aware of any major study that has reviewed the implications of using said devices within the liturgical context, let alone for catechetical functions outside the sanctuary.  Obviously there is nothing in the Bible that forbids them as they didn’t exist until recently.  But this does not thereby commend their use to us.  Even when things are neither commanded nor forbidden, this does not mean they are completely   More…

Reasons for Reverence in the Divine Service

Nowadays we hear promoted the idea of “dignified informality” for the services of God’s House.  This nonsensical slogan to promote a casual attitude in attending the Service of Word and Sacrament is quite disjointed from the theological reality of what is going on when God’s people are gathered to receive His gospel gifts in the liturgy. The “worship wars” are the new Thirty Years War for Lutherans in North America.    And it is on task to go beyond three decades and in the meanwhile, our walking together is being drawn and quartered far beyond what we should endure theologically and   More…

Unity in Worship

         There was a time in the not so distant past when one could step into any Lutheran church in the United States on Sunday morning and know what to expect: the familiar common order of service.  Now this is no longer the case. Even within various Lutheran denominations one can no longer expect that the service will be the same from congregation to congregation.  This is true even within the confessional and conservative synods.  It is especially true in home mission congregations. A memorial was brought before the ELS at convention in 2010 urging our Board for Home Missions   More…

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Liturgical Boot Camp

May 15th, 2012 6 comments

When is the last time you saw the word “liturgical,” in the same sentence with “boot camp”? Initially they don’t seem to have anything in common but upon further investigation this belief might change. Yes, the increase of physical endurance and strength is a goal of boot camp. But there is more, much more of even far greater significance. One of the primary purposes of this famed US Military rite of passage is to break down the individual so that a new identification is constructed. These soldiers in training become fellow comrades who are your new family, life, and your   More…

Steadfast On Campus — A Common Order

March 23rd, 2012 20 comments

I couldn’t help but follow the discussion on BJS concerning the topic of worship wars titled “Every Sunday Pro-Choice Sunday?” (Who cares that it’s March Madness!—I’m becoming a BJS addict and I admit it.) This topic captivated me because of its relation to campus ministry! Campus ministry, in my own experience, is where we really see the benefit of a common order of service. Having a common order, with less variety would be most beneficial for the sake of unity and edification of our people—especially college students. Luther agrees with me, or vice versa. He exhorted the Livonians, “Therefore, when   More…

Steadfast in Worship — Three Words about Worship in the Lutheran Confessions

 I would like to spend a little time with three words mentioned by Pastor Martin Noland in his response (comment #32) to my previous post.  Thank you (and everyone) for your comments! In the Missouri Synod’s latest Rite of Ordination (published with LSB), pastors specifically promise to practice according to the Lutheran Confessions. When you look through the Lutheran Confessions, you find various worship practices set forth.  As you consider these practices, they fit within at least one of three categories: Prescriptive – The Confessions say: “Do thus.” Proscriptive – The Confessions say: “Thus, thou shalt not do.” Descriptive –   More…

Seeking Sanctuary and Finding None…

One of those old words used for a church building was “sanctuary”.  This word means “sacred place” and has also been noted as a place of refuge, most notably in providing a safe haven for those who are being hounded by the world. One of the sad realities to being a church that is so enamored with interacting with the world’s culture is that it eventually will remove the idea of sanctuary. Do our practices still embrace such a mentality about sacred space and safe haven from the world?  With all of the “cultural relevance” discussions that have so wreaked   More…

Does your worship prepare you for death?

I had the opportunity to hear an excellent presentation this afternoon from a neighboring pastor (Rev. Shawn Kumm of Zion, Laramie) on Lutheran worship.  One of the best points that he made was related to how worship is meant to prepare the Christian for death. I have often found that all theology finds its best expression on the deathbed.  It is there that Lutheran teachings become so distinct from others that one can really see the pure Gospel versus impure ones.  What struck me about this worship leading to death thing is the difference between liturgical and “contemporary” services. Liturgical   More…

Steadfast in Worship — Considering all of the Confessions.

When I became a pastor in the Lutheran Church, I said that I would perform the duties of my office in accordance with the Lutheran Confessions. I promised, with the help of God, to preach and teach and administer the Sacraments in conformity with the Holy Scriptures and these Confessions. (To the best of my knowledge, such statements are standard at the ordinations and installations of Lutheran pastors, at least in the Missouri Synod.) So, when push comes to shove and the rubber hits the road, what is the result of these statements and promises? What does it mean –   More…