The Liturgy questions us: what is "relevant" anyway?

Here is a wonderful article called A Deeper Relevance from Christianity Today, discussing why many evangelicals are attracted to liturgy. It raises questions of the obsession with "relevance" found in many Evangelical and Emergent/ing churches and asks the question of just what that really means (the first few paragraphs are great at laying out the stark contrast between the liturgical church and the 'relevant' church).

The questions are before us:
Relevant for whom? The liturgy of the Church isn't carefully crafted to attract young (white) urban professionals, or any other demographic group either - it has been prayed across the ages, by people of virtually every culture and class, by Christians across time and place and denomination - by kings and paupers alike, popes, martyrs and theives. This liturgy isn't particularly relevant to any one group. It is what it is.

And what could be more genuinely relevant for the human creature than being drawn into the heavenly and creative life-work of the living and glorious Holy Trinity? If "relevant" in our culture means Starbucks or the Outlet Mall, maybe the Church should learn to rejoice in our irrelevance. It is a far far better thing to be drawn by the ancient dance of the liturgy into the 'mysteries' God has ordained. Those hallowed rhythms lead us taste and see that the Lord is good (Ps. 34) and ultimately to eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ our God (John 6) and so to have Life himself flowing and rushing through our bodies and souls, even as the benefits of his Passion are somehow conveyed through Word and prayer, through physical elements of bread and cup.

I was going to comment on this article at length, but the author writes so well, I think you should just go read it.

Labels: , , ,


Blogger lehall said...


11:00 AM, May 12, 2008  
Blogger Stephen said...

Great Article!

Loved the quote from Eugene Peterson, "I don't think people care a whole lot about what kind of music you have or how you shape the service. They want a place where God is taken seriously, where they're taken seriously."

While I was at Tim Keel's church Jacob's Well in Kansas City (post-modern in most regards), I learned they practice daily morning prayers with Lectio Divina and Eucharist and celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday. During Lent they encouraged Daily Prayer by texting prayers on the major hours of the day to anyone's phone who signed up. Cool idea.

2:58 PM, May 15, 2008  

Post a Comment

<< Home