“It is hard to be solemn if you are in a hurry”

This essay says a lot about our churches, and it’s mostly bad.

Something that struck me:

2. It is hard to be solemn if you are in a hurry.

Haste says that something else is more important than what you are doing at present. The marines’ deliberate and unhurried ceremonies showed that ritual, done with care and attention, can communicate the solemnity of a solemn occasion, which the burial of the dead certainly is.

The trend in liturgical revision in the Episcopal and Roman Catholic Churches (and I suspect most Western liturgical churches) in the last forty years has been to shorten the services, to streamline things, so that people don’t get bored. Having absorbed this mentality, ministers have become apologetic for taking any time with the liturgy. The mentality says, “We know you have more important things to do, so we’ll get through the worship as quickly as possible.” It tells the people gathered that there is nothing that requires solemnity, for if worship does not, what does?

And everyone does have more important things.  An hour and a half for a church service?  Are you kidding me?  And you can watch the people exit after they’ve got their bits of Jesus in the Sacrament.  They got what they came for.  What a pathetic lot we are, willing to spend hours watching a football or baseball game, or reading a book (?), or whatever it is that we enjoy, but when it comes to God’s service for and of us, we can’t be bothered.  If that’s not the essence of Original Sin, I don’t know what is.  Pathetic, selfish losers, all of us.

Timotheos

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