Thursday, October 31, 2013

It's Good They Didn't Live to See This

We Went to Church

We were out of town and attended church in a large metropolitan Reformed congregation. The service was traditional in structure, including singing, confession of sin and assurance of pardon, prayers, Scripture, and sermon. The ministers were dressed in suits, and the sermon was expository. 

The whole was very well done, especially the music. There was a full orchestra, with strings and brass, along with organ and piano. There was a robed choir, a small more or less unobtrusive team of lead singers, and at the piano the worship director with his own microphone in order to lead us in singing. The songs included A Mighty Fortress, All Creatures of Our God and King, and a Getty-Townsend song, as well as some fairly substantial worship songs I did not know. The orchestrations were stirring making good use of all the instruments available. 

My wife made two significant comments.

During the service, she whispered to me, “We should have gone to the Anglican service.” (An evangelical congregation no longer in The Episcopal Church.) That was the the other possibility, but not her cup of tea kind of worship, so I decided we would go to the Reformed church service. And, admittedly I, though having a strong affinity for Anglican liturgy, was not sure it would have been my cup of tea either, with the three services (we would have gone to the middle transitional service) described as moving progressively, from one where suits were the norm to jeans the norm for men, and the music from traditional Episcopal hymns to P&W with praise band, and Holy Communion from every Sunday to once a month.

Then as we got in the car to leave, she said, “I feel like I was at a rock concert.” I, having been in real rock services, complete with acoustic and electric bass and rhythm guitars, drums, and smoke machine, smiled knowingly and said, “No, that wasn’t a rock service.” I would have described it musically as something along the lines of what you get at the local orchestra’s pops concerts. But I got her meaning, as will you.

My wife, though raised a Baptist, is a stick-in-the-mud Presbyterian (though one who does Christmas). And, as the sophisticated reader will sense, she doesn't get out much.
She doesn't know that after 500 years, just about all Reformed, Anglican, and Lutheran worship (conservatives foremost) is becoming unhinged from its historical roots. I'm not going to tell her. Please, you don't either. I am afraid the worst is yet to be.

I expect the day will come when, our sons will go to church and comment, "It's good Mom and Dad didn't live to see this." 


OpaRon said...

We moved to our current location to be near our married grand children and 6 great grand children. NOW we are here because of the wonderfully Reformed worship we enjoy - expository preaching, hymns that are biblical (thus normally quite old) - in short, our pastor uses an order of worship from one of Calvin's Geneva churches, Hughes Oliphant Old (the "Dean" of what Reformed worship is, would be comfortable in our service.)
Now, if we can just get our clan our out of their drums and guitar worship into Biblical worship, maybe we can leave for heaven saying, "we're glad we got to see this."

Lee said...
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