Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bored with the Liturgy

Continuing my observations from the same conference, I was surprised to hear a layperson formally trained in the organ express a tendency to be bored with the repetition in the hymnal's order of services.  In discussing worship we touched on the impact technology is having on the younger generations and how this affects their reception of the liturgy.  It should be expected in a day of instant messaging and texting that some would find themselves impatient with the pace of historic forms.  Yet boredom often arises from a lack of understanding.  It became apparent to me in our discussions that a major culprit in the loss of this generation involves the unwillingness of church leaders to teach the forms of worship.  Over and over again we are told that we need to meet people where they are at and accommodate their tastes, especially in music.  Multiple services are offered at various times, creating a kind of segregation where the folks at 7:30 become a church separate from the folks at 9:00.  This segregation eventually insulates the worshiper from contact with the ancient forms, and in short order these people loose contact and familiarity with it entirely.  Thus, if they should be exposed to it later on it seems foreign in its unfamiliarity, and unable to understand it and lacking patience and the willingness of their leaders to teach it, they quickly become "bored."  How sad. 

Despite the fact that the conference attempted to initiate a discussion to bring the two sides in the worship debates closer, my fear is that we have arrived at a point in which "ne'er the twain shall meet."  Pastors infatuated with the 'methobapticostal' forms (term invented by someone else, but appropriate here), have no intention of going back and reclaiming what they have thrown away.  Those committed to the historic forms likewise have no intention of abandoning the tradition.  We are on not two parallel tracts, but rather two diverging roads whose distance becomes wider with each passing decade.  I wish that I could muster up more optimism for the future some desire to imagine, but my realistic side knows better.  I fear that it will not be long before our ability to communicate with the same shared vocabulary will also fade with time. 

Kyrie eleison.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think the Western culture is heading towards another "Dark Ages," created this time by Post-Modernism and a lack of appreciation for the past. How many of the youths that made their confirmation pledges before God and the Church give them any mind today? I see the historic liturgy as the glue that holds all the generations together. It favors none but serves all. The demand to be entertained at all times has destroyed any patience we would have with those in the Church who are not able to get used to changes every week (the elderly and the young).