For our friends who are cantors and pastors, I'm sure you find in your office mailbox periodically a 'gift' that I receive every few weeks myself: the bulletin from another church. Now, sometimes it is dropped off by people who know your intellectual interest in worship planning. And, as Bethany has become more confessional that is pretty much what I get these days. But often in my first years here and during my years in Peoria, you'd get the "bulletin with an agenda": the bulletin intended to show you about that 'perfectly good LCMS church' that does things in a way that is "so much more" (insert word of choice here). And, cantor, you are such a fine musician so can't you see how we could be doing these (insert word) things here at our church if we didn't insist on doing the same things week after week?!
I won't go into the details on the latest one, from a large LCMS church in the Minneapolis area. Suffice to say it is the same old thing the Ablaze! synod-within-synod gets week after week: confessions of sin that focus on one little sin that may or may not apply to everyone; absolutions that include penance (now go and do...); lay readers reading the Gospel; one or two readings; 75% CCLI music; Choir singing Gaither music; "Children's Ministry Video Montage", little communion liturgy; a 'worshippers exchange greetings' rather than the sharing of the Peace.
And no such homespun liturgy would be complete without a clunky innovation meant to show how 'relevant' they are in their creativity: the second Gospel acclamation was changed to "Praise to You, O resurrected Christ!" (Just to make sure people are paying attention, I guess. Had to make sure they knew it was still Eastertide. How special!)
At least this service preserved the four-fold shape of Preperation, Word, Sacrament, Blessing. And they actually said the Apostles' Creed (no time for the Nicene, evidently) instead of some newfangled "Affirmation of Faith". And the service conluded with an Aaronic Benediction. So, in the world of LCMS Ablaze!, these are the liturgical conservatives.
The LCMS is in desperate need of ecclesiastical supervision.
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