Video Sample of Authentic Worship #4 – Sign of the Cross Baptismal Remembrance and Taizé Song

(by Pastor Rossow) This series of posts is intended to do two things: 1) be instructive on how to do the liturgy and 2) demonstrate that the traditional liturgy is rich, varied, fresh, vibrant and creative. When done well, the traditional liturgy can satisfy many of the illicit cravings for so called “contemporary worship.” As an example of the creative and fresh side of the traditional liturgy we offer this final Advent video of a meaningful baptismal ritual and a midweek Advent service built around Taizé music. The service included hymnody and psalmody in this style, which we will include in future udpates.

We will be offering a greater variety of parishes in this series in weeks to come and we hope you will be a part of it. Just have someone take out their smart-phone video camera and capture a part of your parish at worship. It can be creative like the things we have shown so far but we are also looking for the “ordinaries” and the routine. If you have a video to share send it to me at rossow.tim”at”gmail.com and we will give it consideration.

The baptismal remembrance rite (ending during the first half of the video) takes place about a third into the service. (Click here for the service folder.) People are simply invited to come forward as they see fit to dip their fingers in the water of our ever-flowing font and make the sign of the cross. It has turned out to be a great way to introduce more people to the benefit of making the sign of the cross. We have about forty percent of our congregation making the sign of the cross during the liturgy. Each year we see some people who don’t regularly do so come up for this ritual and then start making the sign of the cross routinely. Lutherans like coming up front en masse (ashes, pledge cards, etc.). This was our fourth Advent midweek service and it was lightly attended but it was still a good crowd. About 90% of the people came up to the font.

Taizé music is from the Taizé Community in France. There are several examples in the Lutheran Service Book: 638,767,780,943, and 951. It is an ecumenical group with an emphasis on “spirituality.” The music can be misused as simple repetitive mantras for the sake of generic spirituality apart from the spirituality of the cross but the music was intentionally composed for meditation on Christ, His Word, and the Sacraments, so it can also be used to add a helpful meditative aspect to traditional Lutheran worship. Traditional Lutheran worship is after all, ecumenical and spiritual in the best senses of the words. The following description from our service folder of our use of Taizé music is helpful.

The liturgy this evening features the music of Taizé, an ecumenical retreat community in France.  The songs and antiphons of Taizé are designed to maximize the participation of a diverse community in the liturgy.  Because of the varied backgrounds of the persons attending retreats at Taizé, and because of the limited rehearsal time available for the visiting musicians on the retreats, the musical style developed there emphasized simple elements crafted so that more complex elements could be superimposed on top of them.  This allows for the theme of the song to be learned quickly by a crowd of persons, while permitting skilled musicians to layer additional parts on top of the theme.  This method of composition, known as ostinato, was employed by many of the great musicians of the Baroque and Classical eras.  In addition to allowing for a use of variety of musical talents, the variations also sustain the interest of the worshiper, even as a theme is repeated several times.

The use of theme and variations is the best tradition of Christian meditation, which is directed extra nos (“outside of us”) rather than within.  These choruses are not mantras repeated in an effort to change our perception of reality, but instead are repetitive structures crafted to deepen our reflection on the Word and magnify our prayer.

We were missing a cello, oboe, and trumpet from our planned ensemble, but there was more than enough instrumentation to sustain interest. Enjoy the video and maybe it will help you and your parish to enrich the catholicity and spirituality of your traditional Lutheran worship. By the way, I bet you have never seen a squeeze box used in traditional Lutheran liturgy. We will led again by the accordion tonight as we sing Silent Night with our candles lit at the midnight mass. Thank you Cantor Magness! (The Taizé music begins around the 1:20 mark. This song is a canon and so goes longer than other songs used in the service.)

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


Comments

Video Sample of Authentic Worship #4 – Sign of the Cross Baptismal Remembrance and Taizé Song — 31 Comments

  1. These choruses are not mantras repeated in an effort to change our perception of reality, but instead are repetitive structures crafted to deepen our reflection on the Word and magnify our prayer.

    Indeed.
    Whatever you call it, it sounds like a 7-11 song …
    and Taize’ is the symbol & seat of practiced unionism.

    It’s “authentic” if Naperville does it?

    I’m having an illluminating weekend here! 🙂
    (See also the Reverend Scheer’s definition of ordination.)

    Actually Lutherans have very mixed feelings about parading up to the front
    [the Lord’s Supper being the exception.]
    It depends on what it is for. We’ve learned to do ashes…(but not all of us).
    “Pledge cards”… ‘no, thanks’, although it’s attempted and some people will do it.

    Merry Christmas… I hope!

    A blessed new year, I pray.

  2. Helen,

    No, it’s not authentic if Bethany, Naperville does it. It is authentic if it is Christ-centered, drawn from the Word, is found in the church at large, etc.. There are several authentic practices that others do that Bethany, Naperville does not do. “Authentic” is certainly broader than Bethany, Naperville, and can even be narrower than Bethany, Naperville.

    Over the next few months we will offer more on this site by way of defining “authentic Lutheran worship.”

    TR

  3. @Helen #1
    You said:
    “(See also the Reverend Scheer’s definition of ordination.)”
    So that others do not get confused:
    In my Christmas Wish (Prayer) List Article the question came up about a “legitimate” pastor. I responded that a legitimate pastor is one who is called and ordained. Helen offered the example of a woman “pastor”. I clarified that women are not given to be pastors according to God’s Word.

  4. @Helen #1

    I find myself doing eisegesis on the words and works of men all the time.

    I am no historian, but I hear that the historic church has appropriated many things.

    Since there are impure connections in all of those things, we don’t want to take on too much of it, and we bear the burden of explanation.

    But it seems that if we refuse to do any of it, we’re just all alone.

    In our synod of one person?

  5. As the Cantor said, you can find examples of Taize in the newly approved Lutheran Service Book. I remember singing “Adoramus Te” lined around the old chapel in St. Louis (early 80’s) with great effect. Our own parish choir has done on Good Friday “We adore You, Jesus Christ” in canon, which would have moved a stone to tears. Test all things, hold to what is good.

  6. @Paul Becker #5

    > you can find examples of Taize in the newly approved Lutheran Service Book

    … which is a very good book, to be much appreciated. But of course their appearance there does not exempt them from scrutiny. But if we shoot of our mouths about them, we should realize we are actually engaging in a debate with and criticism of the editors of that book, and they probably won’t respond here. So there might be a better avenue to express concerns. Or there might not. That’s a problem. What’s the proper venue for a layman to engage on these questions? A blog? A small group? The church parking lot?

  7. @mbw #6
    What’s the proper venue for a layman to engage on these questions? A blog? A small group? A church parking lot?

    I would suggest one’s own Pastor and music committee. It’s a smorgasbord hymnal; it doesn’t follow that every congregation will want to sing every hymn.

  8. @mbw #6

    Sure, being in LSB does not exempt anything from scrutiny. But it does show that it has been accepted into our living tradition.

    As for looking at Taizé music in particular, whether it appears in LSB, HS98, or is used for psalmody, I think this or any blog is a fine platform for discussion. It is why BJS does this.

    We’re holding off (for now) on uploading lots of other video so that we can show other parishes at worship. But so far we’re not getting the submissions we’d hoped for, so we may wind up showing a lot of Bethany worship for now – with the clear explanation that Bethany provides an example – not the definition – of authentic Lutheran worship.

    For now, you are invited to go to the Bethany website and listen to the podcast, so that you can hear other examples of how Taizé music is used. For example: “My Soul Is at Rest”, Psalm 62. The congregation sings the refrain, the soloists sings the verses. I wonder what objection some might have to that? Or to “Creator of the Stars of Night”, a hymn sung with Taizé instrumentation?

    Repetition certainly has its limits in our piety, but it certainly isn’t excluded. How many times do we say or sing “Lord, have mercy” during the Kyrie? I am sincerely interested in where BJS folk draw ther line? Do those who object to a Taizé Kyrie (as in LSB) object also to the Litany? If so, why? Certainly, as Pastor exaplained in the above example, canons like “Prepare the Way” take more time. But do we exclude canons? What about the beloved canon on “Come, Lord Jesus” that many Lutherans sing? We don’t sing that for three minutes at Bethany, but once through in unison and then twice through in a three-part canon does take two minutes. Is two minutes the limit? Maybe so. But it seems as if one add instruments and is accompanying a ritual or a procession one can go a minute or two more.

    Or is there some other criteria for allowing canons? My junior high kids are singing Telleman’s “Lobe den Herren”. I plan to use it as a psalm antiphon in the Divine Service. It is a 5-part canon. We’ll sing it straight through as the antiphon before the psalm, then chant the verses of the psalm, and then break into the 5-part canon as the antiphon after the psalm. That repetition of the antiphon will take about 90-100 seconds. I think it will enrich the meditation on the psalm, but would our brother Darrell say “Don’t Telleman me, bro?”

    Not being snarky here. I really want to know what the issues are. Authorship? Harmony? Repetition? Texts? All are valid points to consider. Just because we’ve considered them at Bethany and are very comfortable with our conclusions doesn’t mean that we aren’t open to continuing that discussion. Indeed, we hope that contributing videos and audios to this series will help confessional Lutherans consider the various issues at hand so that they can make a most positive and meaningful contribution to our synod’s ongoing discussions over worship.

  9. Speaking for myself, I suppose I am allergic to Taize’
    in the same way Mark Preus over on LQ is allergic to using the term “mass” for the DS,
    or “Father” for anyone but his biological antecedent, (although I naturally think his objections there are overblown and mine here more valid). 😉

    Taize is the symbol of “ecumenicism” if you’re into it (unionism, if you are not).

    [And while we are about it, perhaps the General Prayer was better than our “litany” with ‘much repetition’. Certainly I learned and still remember more of it than I do of ever changing forms!]

  10. @Phillip #9

    > I think this or any blog is a fine platform for discussion.

    I think this and a couple of other blogs are the only place to discuss things, really, so I often appreciate their existence. I don’t find this a rewarding situation, and I don’t think it’s as it should be. Some good guys would go far beyond what I say here and might say the blogs have served their purpose (for a while). I believe a partial answer lies in the past, which is making proper gender distinctions in all three places: the Office of the Holy Ministry; the ‘office’ of lay person; and the ‘office’ of family member. It is not possible to have a genuine debate in a sufficiently feminized assembly. Right now we regard the congregation as though it is the secular workplace – pretty much. How can I be the father figure at home, but then be treated essentially as a child or a woman at church?

  11. @mbw #11
    How can I be the father figure at home, but then be treated essentially as a child or a woman at church?

    I don’t know whether to ask, “what does this mean?” or “how is this done?”

  12. This is a rite/practice I have never heard of before. I’d be interested in learning more about it – any links or resources I could check out?

    My initial thought is that it could confuse the teaching on the efficacy of baptism as it gives the appearance of a self service re-baptism. I would think there is much catechises that would need to be done before this could be introduced to a congregation.

  13. Hi Joe,

    Baptismal Rememberance rites are common throughout synod. They take various forms.

    My first experience with one was at the St. Louis Seminary in 1995, at Morning Prayer. It was connected with the “remembering your baptism” that we do each day when we make the sign of the cross. We gathered around the font there at St. Timothy & St. Titus before going into the church and sang “You Have Put on Christ”. With flutes and handbells. I remember thinking how cool it was. Then we went into the church for the Word and the prayers.

    In this particular case in St. Louis, we had asperges, i.e. were sprinkled with water from the font by palm leaves gentling spraying us with water. Usually, though, folks either dip their fingers in the font themselves or just make the sign of the cross – the sign that was made upon them in baptism – without going to font. Logistics and local customs are considerations.

    In our case, this rite was a Lutheranization of the Taizé custom at evening prayer, where the service culminates in everyone bringing up candles and adding them together to make one big collection by the altar. (Quick aside: we did this at the WELS national worship conference back in 2005 and almost burned down the church. Folks were laughing about it when we got back together in 2008, but it gave all those in attendance quite a scare at the time!). While there is nothing wrong per se with that custom, it symbolizes more of our prayers offerings as a “community” rather than expressing repentance and the forgivness of sins. So we substitute a baptismal remembrance instead.

    Other baptismal remembrance rites that are common are baptismal anniversaries (often used in day school chapels), and penitential rites, with morning prayer & baptismal anniversaries being the most common occasion for these. Bethany may be unique in doing this in conjunction with evening prayer. We only do it once a year as part of our annual Taizé prayer service, though I could see us doing it weekly during Lenten midweek services sometime in the future.

  14. Thanks for the info. The sign of the cross is (thankfully) common in our congregation but the addition of the font sparked the re-baptism issue in my head.

  15. This is not Lutheran Worship. These strange practices and bizarre music are unhelpful. I would encourage you to use the hymnal, and not invent these divisive methods.

  16. @True Lutheran #17

    Uh, as noted, “True Lutheran”, the song in the video was in HS98.

    Also, as the link showed, we followed the order of Evening Prayer from LSB. Just used different psalms (for Advent).

    Remembering one’s baptism is not strange. Singing a canon with instruments is not bizarre.

    I would encourage you to get out a little more. The world of confessional Lutheran worship is very rich – from vigorous chorales sung a cappella with percussion in Africa to canticles with mariachi trumpets down in Texas.

    Our piety is about confessing what God has given us in His Word. There are many ways to sing of Christ in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, in good order according to the historic liturgical practice of the church. Doing so in a way that involves all the talents of a parish and embraces the catholicity of the church is not divisive at all – it unites our parish in the Lord’s song.

  17. As the Cantor states, this was a “Lutheranization” of the Taize custom. This could be construed as innovation. I was wondering if the concept/approach was presented to other pastors in the region/circuit beforehand for their review and feedback. I recognize the hymn is in LSB, but my view is that Taize repetition and the people lined up in this manner looks ritualistic, I suppose in the same way I am troubled by “pilgrim-style” passerby administration of the Lord’s Supper. Pastor Kory Boster

  18. There is no need to implement Taize style worship in our churches. This worship is rank. The Lutheran church has been blessed with a wonderful musical heritage. By blending in heretical styles, we threaten our confession.

  19. “True Lutheran” – what is heretical about singing in canon, woodwinds, guitar, synthesizer, or accordion?

    Rev. Boster – that is an intriguing question. Our circuit does not focus on such discussions, but we are participating in such discussions at the district level.

    We would gladly refrain from using this rite as a means for people to remember their baptisms so long as our brothers accepted that this is adiaphora. We would submit to the group decision out of love. However, if they wanted to make a new law out of it by saying that lining up in procession or dipping one’s finger in the font or making the sign of the cross is forbideen, then we would be obliged to implement such things more regularly for the sake of making a good confession. (status confessionalis – when you are obligated to do something to show your freedom in the Gospel when someone has said it is impermissible or when you are obligated NOT to do something when someone says you must.) By the same token, we would hope they would refrain from some things as well in turn. Again, out of love, not because we would be saying that a divisive adiaphora is heresy.

    But as far as using psalms and canticles from Taizé or refrains from Taizé that are in our hymnals, I can’t see any basis for any district or circuit to ask us to do that.

    If anything, we are hoping that more confessional, liturgical churches will consider doing such things as using Taizé music, singing psalm antiphons & refrains from various contemporary composers, and utilizing a Psalm 150 variety of instruments in how they lead the Lord’s song. Such musical vitality would go a long way toward strengthening liturgical piety in our parishes.

  20. Taize worship is inappropriate for use in the Lutheran Church. The Taize community is an ecumenical gathering of Romanists and Protestants. It has invented its own crude style of worship – a unique style which is well known by name (Taize). It reeks of unionism. To allow such arch-heresy to flow into the Lutheran church is offensive.

    The pipe organ and the vocal cords are the primary instruments used in authentic Lutheran worship. Other instruments are fine as long as they don’t become rude or distracting. They can even be beneficial. Repetition is okay, as long as it does not become vain. But don’t brag about using Taize worship and then label the post “Authentic Worship.” Authentic Worship has nothing to do with Taize. I would keep it real with page 15 or 184, a pipe organ, vocal cords, and Cruger.

  21. When done well, the traditional liturgy can satisfy many of the illicit cravings for so called “contemporary worship.”

    Could you please explain how this worship style differs from the so called “contemporary worship” you mention?

  22. True Lutheran, you are arguing in circles. Your position can be summed up as “Taize music is not appropriate for Lutheran worship because it is Taize music.” You say that there is nothing inherently wrong with repetition, or with using other instruments, yet you still see it as inappropriate, presumably because of its source. I don’t accept that as a reason not to use it. Lutheran worship borrows from all sorts of non-Lutheran sources.

    I can’t help wondering if your reaction would be different if Pastor Rossow had put up the video clip but not labeled it as Taize.

    I understand that music in the style of Taize might not be everyone’s cup of tea. That’s fine. There are liturgical settings and musical soundtracks that are not necessarily my cup of tea. I am not a huge fan of Anglican chant. But my not liking it doesn’t make it un-Lutheran or inauthentic. I respect it as an authentic expression of Lutheran piety and embrace it when it is given to me to do. People are different and congregations are different and those differences are going to be reflected in the ways a congregation worships. As has been said here already, no one is suggesting with the examples of worship from Bethany that everyone needs to worship like Bethany. That would be ridiculous. But the examples are given to illustrate some of the musical possibilities that are out there in case there are churches who might like to try something they haven’t tried before. We hope that in time some of you will send in some of your own worship samples to be shared and discussed.

    Earlier in this thread Helen described her aversion to Taize as an “allergy.” I think she used that term somewhat humorously, but I think it is eminently revealing and I really appreciate her use of it. An allergy is something that causes an uncontrollable, guttural, essentially irrational reaction. There are people who are allergic to peanuts. Well, there is nothing inherently wrong or unhealthy about peanuts. It’s just that some people can’t tolerate them. I am personally allergic to just about every tree and grass that grows where I live. That is MY problem. There is nothing wrong with the trees and the grass. They are beautiful. I have no desire to get rid of them or claim that they don’t belong here. So in order to live where I live I have to get immunotherapy in order to build up my tolerance for them.

    True Lutheran, I think that you, like Helen, might have an allergy to Taize. And you know what? That’s okay. We all have allergies. Sometimes it’s hard to sort out the allergens from the truly harmful substances*. I think the more we can do that the better and more fruitful our worship conversations will be.

    *And let me be clear that I am not saying that everyone who finds a different worship practice objectionable is displaying an allergy. I do believe that there ARE truly harmful substances in much “Lutheran” worship out there. Many of them have been discussed here and will, I am sure, continue to be discussed. I just don’t think this is one of them.

  23. True Lutheran, you asked how the Taize clip differs from the Contemporary Worship that has been discussed here. That’s a fair question. Here are my thoughts.

    For me the hallmark of Contemporary Worship is its focus on the worshiper. CW is all about me and my feelings so is shaped around the goal of eliciting certain feelings at certain times. CW leaders take it upon themselves to assist in the drawing out of those feelings and they judge the success of the worship based on their success in doing so.

    If in the above clip the “Prepare the Way of the Lord” song had been sung before the baptismal remembrance with the cantor marching back and forth with his accordion at the front of the sanctuary exhorting worshipers to come forward, or if the pastor had stood at the front doing the same with verbal rather than musical exhortations, I think you might be able to draw a comparison to CW. But please note, the issue would not be the music or the instruments or the repetition. The issue would be the substance of what is going on–the exhorting of worshipers to feel a certain way or respond in a certain way to demonstrate their piety.

    Instead, in this example, there was an invitation to worshipers to walk by the baptismal font (which happens to be at the front of our sanctuary), dip in a finger, and make the sign of the cross in remembrance of their baptisms. I can’t remember if this invitation was verbal. I don’t think it was–I think it was only printed in the bulletin. The baptismal remembrance was optional. There was no pressure to do it. It was performed in silence. There was no musical exhorting or attempts to draw out the correct response. The music started as the ritual was ending. It was not an exhortation from worship leaders to worshipers, but a response from those assembled to the Giver of Gifts.

    I think that’s a far cry from Contemporary Worship.

  24. @Phillip Magness #22
    (status confessionalis – when you are obligated to do something to show your freedom in the Gospel when someone has said it is impermissible or when you are obligated NOT to do something when someone says you must.)

    I would guess that we’ll hear a good deal more about this definition from people who do not want to give up their “praise” bands, mike sucking soloists and other trappings of non-denom ‘worship’. ;\

    @Cheryl #25
    Earlier in this thread Helen described her aversion to Taize as an “allergy.” …
    An allergy is something that causes an uncontrollable, guttural, essentially irrational reaction.

    Cheryl, you quoted me, omitting the reason for my “allergy”.
    Taize is the symbol of “ecumenicism” if you’re into it (unionism, if you are not). [hej]

    I don’t think there is anything “irrational” about questioning the use of worship methods which are designed for a unionist or syncretistic gathering (and widely advertised as so) in a Lutheran service. [My understanding of their reason for being comes directly from their web site as well as other reading.]

    Again, the “praise non-denoms” among us can use your arguments with glee because you have nothing more Lutheran to base your argument on than they have for their aberrations.
    [The fact that several of these ‘7-11’s’ are in the LSB hymnal recalls the proverb that “a camel was created by a committee.” More of the “camel” undoubtedly made its way into the electronic version where it is out of sight of the Lutheran pewsitter who might object.]

    So, if you are quite sure that none of your members are going to go to Taize’ and participate in heterodox services, and that they understand yours is a “Lutheranized” version, no doubt you will do it in Naperville. I’m not sure you are aiding confessional Lutheranism by advertising it on BJS as “authentic Lutheran worship.”

  25. Is it acceptable to emulate the “style” of worship from a heterodox church body like the Taize community?

    I think even a cursory examination of the Taize community (http://www.taize.fr/en) shows that they are heterodox and have contrary notions about spirituality, sanctification and the means of grace than the truths which we believe, teach, and confess in the Lutheran Church.

    The theology of the Taize Community and the Theology of the Book of Concord CANNOT stand side by side — or do you think that they can? For example, I wonder if you agree with the theological statements made at their website:

    You don’t agree with the Taize Community’s notion of SILENCE, do you? “When God’s word becomes ‘a sound of sheer silence’, it is more efficient then ever to change our hearts . . . Silent and poor, our hearts are overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit, filled with an
    unconditional love. Silence is a humble yet secure path to loving.”

    You don’t agree with the Taize Community’s notion of BAPTISM, do you? “By opening their hearts to the newness of God, the baptized welcome a seed of Life that will transform them and allow them to live in a new way . . . By drowning our limitations, and even our refusals, in the waters of divine mercy, our baptism opens a gap through which God can
    make himself present, through us, at the heart of human history.” [Holy Baptism doesn’t just “open a gap” through which God CAN make Himself present through us. It is being buried with Christ; it SAVES us.]

    You don’t agree with the Taize Community’s notion of ICONS, do you? “By the faith it expresses, by its beauty and its depth, an icon can create a space of peace and sustain an expectant waiting. It invites us to welcome salvation even in the flesh and in creation.” [We reject the Eastern Orthodox understanding of the efficacy of devotion to icons. Icons do NOT have the power to create a space of peace and sustain an expectant waiting.]

    You don’t agree with the Taize Community’s notion of the efficacy of SONG, do you? “To open the gates of trust in God, nothing can replace the beauty of human voices united in song. This beauty can give us a glimpse of “heaven’s joy on earth,” as Eastern Christians put it. And an inner life begins to blossom within us.” [The beauty of human voices is NOT what opens the gates of trust in God. The inner life and new man is NOT made to blossom by the beauty of human voices united in song.]

    You don’t agree with the Taize Community’s notion which defines the SIMPLE DESIRE for God is the BEGINNING OF FAITH, do you? “Right at the depth of the human condition, lies the longing for a presence, the silent desire for a communion. Let us never forget that this simple desire for God is already the beginning of faith.” [Faith is not born of simple desires. There are many false religions which have a simple desire for God, but that is by no means faith. Faith only comes by hearing the Word of God — and nothing that comes prior to faith other than the proclamation of that Word, not a “longing for a presence” or “the silent desire for communion” represents the beginnings of faith. The natural knowledge of God is not the beginning of saving faith; rather, it only shows that they are without excuse as Romans 1:18-32. As the apostle James tells us, “The demons believe, and tremble.”]

    And this is just a CURSORY review of their false understanding of spirituality, sanctification, and the means of grace.

    It isn’t unreasonable that people coming to a Lutheran congregation will enjoy the musical settings so much that they may well say, “I LIKE this Taize music. I’m going to find out more about Taize and immerse myself in it.” And then what will you do to warn them or to turn them away from the false Taize spirituality which ultimately leads them away from Christ and the means of grace into a false understanding of Christ and an errant understanding of the means of grace?

    If you reject such beliefs and teachings, why do you promote their worship styles among God’s people?

    Or will you now defend Taize and accuse me of being unloving, unkind, insensitive, judgmental, and interfering?

    Is it your point that it’s all right to emulate the style of the Taize community because the LCMS hymnal not only uses Taize hymns, but also uses parts and pieces from such other confessions as we have anathematized in our Concordia? And if LSB uses them, and if LSB has undergone “doctrinal review,” then such things must be appropriate and acceptable?

    Furthermore, don’t the points of your argument give the impression that Lutheran doctrine has a substance that can be fit into many varieties of styles of worship — as if Lutheran doctrine had no unique style of its own, as if in some cases Lutheran substance could be made more effective if it is imbued with the style of some other confession? The Roman Catholics, for example, made their Mariolatry more acceptable to Native Americans by associating Mary with their own spirits — and as a result, we have such shrines in the MidWest to “Our Lady of the Snows,” etc.

    Don’t the points which you want to be well-taken intimate that Lutheran substance CAN be put into a rainbow of styles which, in various communities, might seem more palatable to the public — as if Willow Creek or Taize styles of worship are the spoonfuls of sugar which makes the medicine go down?

    It appears that the presentation of this article is saying that it is all right to publicize that Lutheran worship is going to be offered in the style of Taize to an undiscriminating public, justified because it is commending some sort of baptismal remembrance. Maybe it’s one thing to use Taize musical settings. Maybe it’s another to advertise publicly that one is using Taize styles of worship.

    I realize that many in the LCMS prefer the “style” of Willow Creek or the “style” of Taize or the “style” of a Chicago Folk Mass or the “style” of Baptist Gospel choirs or the “style” of charismatic/Pentecostal services or the “style” of the Eastern Orthodox or the “style” of tent revivals. People don’t even seem to get too upset if congregations want to have a polka service or a clown service or a country-western service.

    No doubt it will be the position of others on this list that I am being contentious and disrupting peace and concord if I maintain that those styles are not appropriate for confessing the faith. Will they also admonish me if I insist that we have a Lutheran style for Lutheran substance?

    Substance is not so easily divorced from style. When one uses and publicizes a style from a heterodox confession it gives a mixed message. Just another reason why I want to have nothing to do with the LSB.

  26. @Rev. Joel A. Brondos #28

    “The theology of the Taize Community and the Theology of the Book of Concord CANNOT stand side by side — or do you think that they can?”

    No, of course I don’t think that. But borrowing a couple of Taize choruses does not mean that one is embracing the beliefs you enumerate above any more than singing a Timothy Dudley-Smith hymn makes one an Anglican. Based on your last comment about wanting nothing to do with LSB of the variety of sources it contains, I’m guessing you probably disagree.

    “It isn’t unreasonable that people coming to a Lutheran congregation will enjoy the musical settings so much that they may well say, ‘I LIKE this Taize music. I’m going to find out more about Taize and immerse myself in it.’ And then what will you do to warn them or to turn them away from the false Taize spirituality which ultimately leads them away from Christ and the means of grace into a false understanding of Christ and an errant understanding of the means of grace?”

    With all due respect, Rev. Brondos, this reminds me of some Christian homeschoolers I recently heard about who won’t let their children read the Little House series of books because they are afraid those books are going to put ideas into their children’s heads that are not in accord with the faith they wish to teach. In their opinion Laura is not a good model of Biblical womanhood. And apparently Papa Ingalls was a Mason. So the parents are afraid that by reading the books they are going to get exposed to feminist ideas or get curious about Masons and go and find out about them and maybe decide they want to be one. I think they are not giving their children or themselves enough credit. There is much richness and worth in those books and children whose parents are properly catechizing and having ongoing discussions with them are going to have their culture enriched and their faith strengthened by reading them.

    I think it is possible to use a piece of music that is not Lutheran in origin and do so in a way that serves Lutheran worship and expresses the faith of those assembled. You and others disagree and it looks like we will have to leave it at that. But I trust my pastor’s judgment in this area.

  27. @helen #27

    “Cheryl, you quoted me, omitting the reason for my ‘allergy.'”

    Helen, I didn’t mean to misrepresent you. I remembered you used the word because it made an impression on me at the time. I didn’t go back to reread your post but took the word and ran with it for my own purposes. I still think it’s a great analogy for what I wanted to say.

  28. Words, words, words. Such nit-picking, bothersome things!

    “Over the next few months we will offer more on this site by way of defining ‘authentic Lutheran worship.’”

    Authentic–a : worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact; b : conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features c : made or done the same way as an original [Merreiam Webster]

    “this rite was a Lutheranization of the Taizé custom”

    So, if you have to “Lutheranize” something like Taize, how is it authentic?

    “The music can be misused as simple repetitive mantras for the sake of generic spirituality apart from the spirituality of the cross but the music was intentionally composed for meditation on Christ, His Word, and the Sacraments, so it can also be used to add a helpful meditative aspect to traditional Lutheran worship.”

    Which is obviously lacking otherwise.

    “Traditional Lutheran worship is after all, ecumenical and spiritual in the best senses of the words.”

    So why the need to bring something that is a vehicle for the ecumenical and spiritual in the lesser sense of the words into it?

    “We were missing a cello, oboe, and trumpet from our planned ensemble, but there was more than enough instrumentation to sustain interest.”

    What? Not enough interest in the worship service without the Taize ensemble?

    “It is an ecumenical group with an emphasis on ‘spirituality.'”

    As are Unitarian Universalists and Gnostics.

    What a curious admixture of terminology:
    “Taize”; “Lutheranize”; “authentic”; “ecumenical;” “spiritualspirituality”; “traditional”.

    One might think they have entered the Twilight Zone or the Outer Limits of Lutheranism. Since when do Lutherans even talk this way?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.