It's been a while since we've had a post here - vocational responsibilities have taken both Stephen and Phillip away from Liturgy Solutions, requiring us to focus just on the essentials of the site. However, there has been much buzz on the net in Lutheran circles these past two weeks regarding whether our woes are a "pastor problem" or a "parishioner problem." Given that our last post was about the singularity of objective truth - that the truth does not vary based on our perspectives of it and so is not to be found between two views but simply IS what it is, we'd like to share some excellent thoughts posted today by Cheryl Magness on Todd Wilken's blog.
We'll get back to more "practical" posts after Easter, like we did last year. Summer provides more time for blogging and we do want to use this space to continue to provide practical tips and informative reports. But these more philosophical issues are important for those who lead the church's song for two reasons. In regards to the post from September about objective truth, because we need to sing of God's truth, given to us infallibly in the Scriptures. Whether picking hymns or choir music, we are at our best when we sing of Christ, the sure foundation, the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life. And this means not singing so much of our subjective experiences of Him, but singing Christ Himself, magnifying His word in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
But as much as there is singular, objective truth in Christ, we must also humbly remember that each one of us is a sinner. "There is not one righteous, not even one." (Romans 3:10) Sure one person can be right about this or that, but we err when we think our group, our party, our friends, or even our church is not part of the problem. We all stand under the judgment. And so we should sing the truth of one righteousness in Christ, and the truth that one common sin affects us all.
Applied to the current debates within the LCMS, here is Cheryl's most excellent observation:
"It's not a clergy problem. It's not a laity problem. And it's not a DP or IC problem.
It's a sin problem. Satan strikes whenever he can get his nasty foot in the door, and he doesn't care what door that is. The pastor's study, the bureaucrat's office, the congregational hall, the layperson's house - they're all the same to him. They're all pretty, red but inwardly rotten apples, ripe for the picking, sharing and eating. he will work with whatever he can find. If he has a pastor who sees pure doctrine and faithful practice as an impediment to mission, great. If he has a self-centered baby boomer who wants what he wants in worship and he wants it now, great. If he has a council who looks at the pastor as an employee they can replace with someone they like better rather than as the shepherd of their souls, great. But the Enemy can just as easily work with the pastor who thinks that because he is upholding pure doctrine he can carry out whatever political machinations he wants to get his way. Or with the Board of Elders who thinks that because their pastor is confessional he is also infallible. Or with the layman who walks out of a perfectly good and faithful, liturgical service because there was one song he didn't like. Or with a musician who will not change or try to learn because, darn it, this is the way he has always done it and if they don't like it they can find another musician.
Kyrie eleison. We are a mess and Satan knows it. Come quickly, Lord Jesus."