While Klemet and President Forke discuss “Contemporary” Worship on a more abstract level, I thought it might be of some use for the rest of us to compile a list of specific examples of “contemporary” worship that we have encountered through the years. Let’s see if we can get up to 50 specific examples (maybe it will turn into a top 100 list). The reason we put “contemporary” in quotes is because the divine service done properly is contemporary. The historic liturgical worship of the church has always included music written by “contemporaries” including settings and arrangements of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs that may have even been composed the week before they were presented in the divine service.
So we are using “contemporary worship” in the sense of that approach to Christian worship that does not enhance the traditional liturgy used in the church for some 2,000 years, but instead looks to replace it with a less formal worship that is more in keeping with pop culture.
Here are the rules of the game. Please be specific. List an actual practice of contemporary worship. You can also list examples of doing the liturgy in ways that accommodate pop culture. Along with your example, give a brief description of how it undermines or lessens the historic, traditional approach to the divine service. Since we most likely will not all agree as to what shall be on the list (I am anticipating some lively discussion), I will be the final arbiter of what goes on the final list.
Let me offer a first entry.
Applauding Special Music Selections
There is nothing wrong with acknowledging and publicly thanking musicians, even with applause but it has no place in the flow of the unfolding drama of the liturgy. The liturgy is not a performance. It is God coming to us in word and sacrament and our getting caught up in praise to Him in the expression of the faith born in us by those means of God’s grace. At our parish we occasionally thank our musicians with applause but we do so after the service has concluded and we always do so in acknowledgment of God who has given his church these musical gifts.
Whose next? Let’s here your examples as we try to educate the synod on the do and don’ts of genuine Lutheran and scriptural worship.