Sunday, June 25, 2006
Liturgy, Laziness or True Worship???
A. W. Tozer
A. W. Tozer was a prophet in the truest sense of the word. Many, if not most, of today's self-proclaimed prophets are just that...prophets in their own minds...empire builders.
Tozer made his readers and his parishioners uncomfortable. His words were (and still are) piercing, pointed and probing. He could "rankle your feathers" whatever that means.
Today's devotional thought concerns our forms of worship. To many, who were raised in some of our evangelical churches, the word "liturgy" is foreign and forboding. Many of our churches could use a little more "liturgy" and a little less "free-spiritedness".
I'm grateful that even though my home church is not "liturgical", a lot of thought and prayer goes into the planning of our worship service and there's form and meaning in the selection of hymns, choruses, etc.
What I can't tolerate is the lack of reverence that is so often apparent in so many of our churches. In our efforts to be "people-friendly" we have often pushed a holy and awesome God to the sidelines. The Holy One must be pre-eminent in all our worship!
Enough of my thoughts...here's what Tozer had to say to his generation:
"Give to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth." -Psalm 96:8-9
We of the nonliturgical churches tend to look with some disdain upon those churches that follow a carefully prescribed form of service, and certainly there must be a good deal in such services that has little or no meaning for the average participant--this not because it is carefully prescribed but because the average participant is what he is.
But I have observed that our familiar impromptu service, planned by the leader twenty minutes before, often tends to follow a ragged and tired order almost as standardized as the Mass.
The liturgical service is at least beautiful; ours is often ugly. Theirs has been carefully worked out through the centuries to capture as much of beauty as possible and to preserve a spirit of reverence among the worshipers. Ours is often an off-the-cuff makeshift with nothing to recommend it.
Its so-called liberty is often not liberty at all but sheer slovenliness......mostly there is neither order nor Spirit, just a routine prayer that is, except for minor variations, the same week after week, and a few songs that were never much to start with and have long ago lost all significance by meaningless repetition.
In the majority of our meetings there is scarcely a trace of reverent thought, no recognition of the unity of the body, little sense of the divine Presence, no moment of stillness, no solemnity, no wonder, no holy fear.
taken from "God Tells the Man Who Cares"