Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What a Big Difference a Small Difference Makes

We were talking about Contemporary Worship - so-called - when it occurred to me what a difference a couple of letters can make.  Someone asked the question of why it was so important in this generation to bring culture, our modern culture, into the church.  No other generation had done it.

That, of course, was balderdash.  Every generation has done it to some extent.  We use the language of our culture, in one form or another.  We change our Scriptures to more modern translations from time to time.  But those intrusions of culture are relatively mild and, often, necessary so that the members of the congregation can participate in the service with understanding.  The intrusions of culture in what is called "Contemporary Worship" are far more significant, and are often done simply as a matter or taste (or the lack of it) and preference.

Contemporary Worship involves a theological shift as well.  The focus of the service becomes the individual worshiper's entertainment or sense of accomplishing something religious.  The worshiper is the one the service seeks to please.  Traditional Liturgical Worship was centered in the deity, and, for Lutherans, in receiving from God the gifts He came to bring in the Divine Service through Word and Sacrament.

The question, "Why is it all of a sudden so important to bring the culture into the church?", elicited the response from me that the churches that practice Contemporary Worship are different now than they once were.  Now they are apostate - unbelieving - worshiping the worshiper instead of the One who is worthy of all worship, the Lord.

The little difference that struck me is the difference from what was to what is:  from apostolic to apostate.  Just a couple of letters.  Such a small difference in language but such a huge difference in everything else.  Of course, the two words come from significantly different roots in Greek, but in English, they look and sound so close to each other.  Just three or four letters and you go from faithful and true to Contemptible - that is Contemporary - Worship

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