December 26, 2010

Putting "Mass" back in X-mas

Well, okay.  The Episcopalian Eucharist Rites, anyway.  But nobody's perfect.
This is where I grew up. It's where I acolyted for seven years. It's where my brother got married. It's where my dad's mom got her Catholic husband to baptize their children. And we're home for the weekend, obviously. So we're attending the service.

You should already know how I feel about pews, sermons, etc. And I do. Letting a few people do all the primary functioning while the body assembles (and follows along) is like putting the Body of Christ in an Iron Lung for an hour a week. If all the breathing YOU did was assisted breathing, how strongs would YOUR lungs be? Anyway.

There is, on the other hand, a great deal to be said about "High Liturgy" which some of my "organic church"ey friends impoverish themselves to ignore. First of all, a planned meeting has the advantage of being on target, spiritually. That is, we may rotely recite words others have written, but they're very good words. That is often NOT true for your average living room "church".

In the Rites of the Eucharist, we incorporate various elements of spiritual life (vibrant or not) into our corporate conversation with God. And make no mistake, this is another advantage: the High Liturgy *does* facilitate an actual CORPORATE conversation with God. The fact that its PERFORMANCE is often anemic and fake (within some hearts more than others, natch) does NOT change the nature of what a High Liturgy *IS*.

I've got to run get in the shower, so let me now cut this short.

Ideally, a new "organic" church plant should be trained up, before being released. Ideally, the planters should COACH the church members... who might need years to get off the old iron lung regimen... and who usually have no idea how to function in corporate gathering, let alone how to moderate corporate goings on during that gathering.

The Liturgy - or something much like it, or best of all, SEVERAL somethings just like it - could be used with much profit, methinks, in preparing an untrained church body to walk in the ways they must go.

Think about growing tomatoes. When the plants are young and weak, a gardener ties them to stands, supporting their growth. When the plants become older and stronger, the gardener takes off the stands. They can stand on their own.

POINT: God can grow wild tomatoes from seeds dropped in random soil, anywhere. But God AND a gardener can train up much stronger tomatoes.

This is what posts look like when I've no time to edit. ;-)

Go in peace, to love and serve God.

Preferably, at some point, reaching critical Mass.

7 comments:

Josh L said...

Bill, I have only one question:

Will you be my gardener? :)

Bill said...

You, singular? No.

You guys, plural? Still no.

Garden yourselves. Call me once in a while.

http://jlawson23.wordpress.com said...

C'mon brother... you just said that it's best to have a gardener! We'll have you down for a week-long seminar on how to read the NT in its proper socio-historical context. You can do a little gardening on the side. ;)

In all actuality, there is a field to harvest here. I'm searching high and low for someone with a good "track record" who feels he is up for the job. Any suggestions, if you're too busy?

Bill said...

Call me tomorrow.

ghostwriter said...

It may depend upon the Episcopal church? But yeah, all the frankincense can sometimes cloud out the personal, for sure. I have to say tho, give me a choir over some homespun minstrel singin modern lame jams

Bill said...

...says the independent musician?

ghostwriter said...

hahahahahahaha - I am just saying I have witnessed some services @ a few churches that the music was cringworthily terrible and it is always in response to "we need to give them something more modern" or whatever.

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