The title is for a friend. But in reality, the increasing popularity of traditional “high church” worship is more than just rebellion against the consumerist pop-worship of the Baby Boomers and my sad generation, but is recognition that the church has sold out to a pagan culture. My question: if it plays in Lawrence, KS, would it work in Enid, OK? Read the article linked below (I posted the teaser too).
When introducing a new service these days, most churches seem to go the rock ‘n’ roll route — something new to bring in a younger crowd.
To say that Trinity Episcopal Church went in another direction might be a bit of an understatement.
When the church decided to add a new service in fall 2006, instead of looking forward, it looked back.
Way back. As in the fourth century.
The result is a unique celebration of Christianity referred to as the Solemn High Mass. A mystical meeting of old traditions in a setting where blue jeans and T-shirts are appropriate, the Sunday night service features incense, music and what the church, 1011 Vt., refers to as all of the “major propers” including the Kyrie Eleison, the Gloria in Excelsis, the Credo, the Sanctus and Benedictus and the Agnus Dei, which are chanted.
Performed only during the Kansas University school year, the service, which began its 2009-2010 season last Sunday evening, has snagged a crowd young and old, Episcopalian and not, says the Rev. Paul McLain, the church’s curate.
How’s this different than how Redeemer worships? Several reasons.
- This congregation does use the traditional liturgy with some chanting, but we do not chant the full service. Nor do we use incense, and processions are somewhat rare.
- We do not use all the propers, but only a few of them.
- In all honesty, I think the congregation’s preference of the traditional liturgy is less a choice and more a default position. In other words, despite my efforts, I think for many we worship using the liturgy of the hymnals because “That’s what Lutherans do.” It’s comforting. This is part of the reason why we don’t use the full propers or incense and such: it’s not part of what most of them experienced in days gone by. And some of it is the fact that I prefer liturgical worship, and they just put up with me.
Why might it work better in Lawrence than here? Lawrence, Kansas is a college town, and college kids tend to be more open to new experiences. Enid, OK is also a college town…but it has more of a community college feel. Few travel to Enid to come to college; most of the students are from around here, trying to figure out what they want to do with their life, or trying to get grades up so they can go back to OU or OSU. Like most major college towns, Lawrence will have a more cosmopolitan atmosphere. Enid is more of an agricultural town, and the college is simply not large enough to affect the character of the town that much.
Why could it work here? Because it’s true.