Why do I use the liturgy? Reason #8

Guest article by Pr. Bruce Timm.

Previous articles, reasons 1-3, found here; reason 4 found here; reason 5 found here; reason 6 is found here; and reason 7 is found here.


Reason #8: Using the hymnal prevents global warming.

BJS_BruceTimmThis isn’t my own idea.  I heard this from other pastors, but I loved it.  Here is another similar argument.  “Save a tree.  Use your hymnal.”  My current congregation has saved many trees and greatly reduced our printing costs when we moved away from printing out an “edited” service every week.    Too many trees are killed (in vain, I believe) to produce services that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow.  The First Article of the Creed, the Fourth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, and the 7th Commandment direct us to good stewardship of God’s gifts.  Using the hymnal is a great way to practice what we preach and not be wasteful.

When I was a guest on Steadfast Throwdown, Pastor Eric Anderson, tried to bring the smackdown on me by suggesting that screens and projectors kill even less trees.  However, my limited experience in “worship-according-to-the-screen-churches” is that their bulletins are even larger than churches that don’t use a screen.  I also have great concerns that screens are simply another distraction in worship – no longer are we meditating and listening, we are reading and watching.

Using a hymnbook is good stewardship and, I believe, also an act of confession.  Our hymnbooks are beautiful books.  They were ten years in the making.  They were thoughtfully and faithfully published.  They are enduring.  Those hymnbooks serve in our worship.  Like the communion vessels we treat them with honor and respect because they serve to bring us Christ.  They have substance and style and are not disposable, like a service folder.  Use of hymnbooks confesses that worship is not like a band concert or an awards presentation where a folder is handed out at the door and disposed of moments after the program.  Hymnals confess substance and permanence and reverence for Christ and His worship.  They also save trees.  I wonder if we could enlist Al Gore to urge congregations to use hymnals?

(For the record – I don’t believe in Global Warming.  I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth.  I believe He made us and gives us all things and we should be responsible stewards of His gifts.)


And finally, reasons 9, 10 and 11 are found here.

About Pastor Bruce Timm

Pastor Timm serves Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. He is married to Valerie and they have four children - three "mostly grown" daughters and one son at home. Pastor Timm was ordained in Lutheran Church - Canada in 1988 and served in the LCC until 2001 when he began serving Redeemer. He "enjoys" maintaining the fleet of cars he owns for his children, exercising his second amendment rights, and discovering the delights of single malt beverages from Scotland. He is a Saint Louis grad, but is regularly confused with graduates of Fort Wayne. He takes that as a compliment.


Why do I use the liturgy? Reason #8 — 6 Comments

  1. I too believe SCREENS are a distraction. What is so wrong with using the Hymnal, the basic “tool” of the congregation on Sundays. If you want to argue about the word tool, please refrain I couldn’t think of a better word.!!

  2. Why I use the Hymnal and a Worship Folder

    Lest I am misunderstood, I love our hymnal (LSB). It is close to, if not, the fourth great gift God has given our church.
    Having said that, I will still “kill trees” – a renewable resource – and print out the whole service, excluding the parts spoken or chanted by the pastor and the hymns that are in the hymnal. Why you ask? I’ll let the following situations answer:
    It is for:
    The man who works in the fields, or as a carpenter, a mechanic, a tool and die person whose hands are calloused, stiff and has difficulty turning the thin pages in the hymnal,
    The older senior citizen who has lost a lot of strength and now needs both hands to just hold the hymnal,
    The person who is afflicted with severe arthritis and can no longer hold the hymnal and turn the pages easily,
    The young parent who still has a child who needs to be held,
    The person whose eyesight is diminishing and can no longer read the small print on the inserts,
    The person who takes the printed worship folder home to use in daily devotions,
    The visitor who has no idea what you mean when you say “we now turn to the Introit on the insert,”
    All of the above would say “thank you” for making it easier to follow along and worship.
    For those who desire not to use the printed worship folder, they may use the hymnal and Bible in the pew.
    So, you may continue to save the trees and use only the hymnal, and we will use a renewable resource and enable all our people to better participate in worship. We will then recycle the used worship folders so we can be responsible of God given resources.
    By the way, the top three gifts God has given the church are (1) His Son, Jesus Christ, (2) His Holy Word and (3) The Sacraments.

    I have enjoyed the first 7 reasons, but the 8th was a little off base.

    Rev. John E. Merrill
    Pastor Emeritus

  3. @John E. Merrill #4

    Please remember that this reason was a little tongue in cheek. Aside from the hymns, the regular and repeated liturgy will be in the memory of all those you mention and they, for most of the service, will have no need to hold anything in their hands.

  4. @Pastor Bruce Timm #5

    Aside from the hymns, the regular and repeated liturgy will be in the memory of all those you mention and they, for most of the service, will have no need to hold anything in their hands.

    It’s in our memory as we learned it. Unfortunately, “unser geliebte CPH” has to keep making money and so services and hymns are changed in niggling ways (just enough to confuse the memorizer!) But I’m back to TLH… with amendments now and then. ;o

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