Thursday, March 4, 2010

Why do we do the things we do?

Traditions and rituals are passed down from generation to generation for a reason. Often these are honored and revered but just as often they are objects of ridicule because it appears that those who follow them are unwilling or unable to change. Those who want to try to recreate the Christmas of their childhood are looked upon with understanding and love as they try to recapture their youth while those who participate in a church using the same liturgy passed down from the centuries are seen as old fashioned and stubborn. Why is that?

Why is it that the liturgy is such an important part of being a Confessional Lutheran? Well, you can leave it to the pastors to tell you the reasons why it is formed the way that it is. You can hear how it is rooted in the Scriptures, that it follows a pattern leading up to Communion, and that it is set in a way that teaches us about God's goodness every step of the way. But that isn't all. There is more that is very basic and simple.

Liturgy is Scriptures put to song. When you are teaching young children, you sing to them to help them learn. This includes the ABCs, learning the days of the week, and many other things. The same is true of the liturgy. Singing the same thing every week helps memorize and put to heart those things which we need to know. Anyone who has tried to sit down and memorize the Bible will find it a insurmountable task. However, we know more Scriptures than we think just by singing them every Sunday. To change that, to eliminate that, would be to take away a great teaching tool from the people of God. Others might think that it is boring and mundane, but then again, they need to learn what is going on. Passed down from the generations, rekindled at the Reformation, and brought to the Americas from the German language, the liturgy in the form that it is has taught God's people about God's grace and mercy four countless generations. These same Scriptures put to song in the liturgy come to mind in some of the roughest situations to remind us of God's grace and mercy. Humming tunes through the day (especially when they get stuck in our heads) helps bring the remembrance of the Scriptures in our daily lives.

The next time someone wonders aloud why I am so unwilling to change, I think I might just remind them what a treasure trove we have with the liturgy and why it is too good to give up for something that doesn't compare.