Monday, December 29, 2008

Praise and Worship Services

...an interesting take on "praise and worship" from a Protestant point of view...how a steady diet of P & W is like getting stuck in the new, the now. By Bobby Neal Winters in Touchstone:
My hope has been that a praise service would be the new wine. Its sweeter taste would draw in those who have not been a part of a rich religious tradition or have been alienated from it, but eventually they would taste the old wine and no longer want the new.

That may be true, though it does not seem to happen often, but I now have mixed emotions because I have become a lover of the old wine, the ancient tradition going back not only to the time of Jesus but even before. It never sours but becomes subtler and more nuanced as it ages.

In the movie 50 First Dates, a young man falls in love with a woman who is suffering from short-term memory loss. Every day she wakes up in a new world, not remembering that she fell in love with the young man the previous day. Each date for them is like the first.

Those who attend only praise services are like the girl in 50 First Dates. The church for them is continually “now.” While the church should certainly be in conversation with this age, the conversation must take place from the point of view of eternity. The history and the tradition of the church are essential. We are surrounded by a large cloud of witnesses, and we are fools if we don’t heed them.

The young man in 50 First Dates eventually succeeds in marrying the girl and having a family with her, but the price of achieving this was for him to engage in an active, intentional, nonstop program to remind her of their history together. The same thing is necessary when anyone joins a church, and it is certainly true when one enters the gates through a praise service.

We lovers of old wine must keep that drink around and offer it to our new brothers because it does not matter how many people are in the building if they are not being offered Christ.
This is interesting that someone not Catholic would appeal to history and tradition...and ends with speaking about offering Christ. How often do we get accused of tradition being man-made? Here is someone who has intuited something deeper than just "man-made" in touching on Tradition..the handing on of the Faith Catholic.

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