We long for mighty signs of God—
Cathedral, miracle, and sword,
His power and glory written plain—
So none may doubt that He is Lord.
But poor, in weakness, comes the Christ;
His glory gone, no king we see;
A servant Lord, no praise He seeks.
Thus comes God’s power to such as we.
God’s work we cannot boldly trace,
Yet even in us His Spirit flows.
Our stumbling does not halt His course;
Where we least think, He surely goes.
Not in our own strength, Lord, we move;
Thy Kingdom falls not when we fall
But forward presses day by day
Until Thy truth is known by all.
—Hermann I. Weinlick
These are our days of tinsel and colored paper; I think we should enjoy them for what they are. We should amuse ourselves appropriately; there should be lots of giggling and as much self-indulgence as we can handle without emergency medical attention.
This is the time we memorialize the humiliation of the Most High, his taking on human flesh and blood, and his casting death and Hell into the lake of fire.
He does not dispose of all things from above; he sanctifies all things from within. He remains the just judge of all things, but he now chooses to do so as our brother. Certainly this is something we should be able to trivialize. A laughing fat man might be a fitting image.
Surely baubles, cookies, trinkets, doggerel, ditties, and twinkly things are the most meaningful way we can show our deep appreciation.
This year let us show ourselves adequate to the task ahead of us. Let’s not allow a quiet moment or a serious thought intrude on this most festive season of the year.
(A mere 13 days of commercial opportunity remain before that blessed day arrives. Try to make them as boisterous, as chaotic, and as fretful as you possibly can.)
Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth
Our full homage to demand.
King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.
Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.
At His feet the six winged seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Lord Most High!
---from the Liturgy of St. James
Remember how Emergents were so irritated by the shoddy tastes, unimaginative theology, and meager sensibilities of Evangelicalism? After about a decade now of emerging, we have the fruits of all the questioning, the philosophizing, and intellectual noodling of this movement.
Sofas and theological novelties apparently don’t produce great art. You got your finger-painting, you got your tree-stringing, you got your protest signage, and now you got your Hobby Lobby teenybopper bling.
And establishment Evangelicals continue to humiliate themselves by demonstrating the unlikelihood that Evangelicals have what it takes to achieve Wells’s “deepening study of the Word and serious reflection on the world”.
Here are the views of an Evangelical. I don’t know what qualifications this writer has to speak to “worship” and “artistic ability”, but one seminary puts his views forward as, I don’t know, helpful?
“What should a church do if it does not have people with artistic ability to lead in worship? Again, Paul points out that God is in charge of distributing the gifts. God has ensured that each church has within itself what it needs to glorify God at that time, which is why it would be best to think of “artistic excellence” along these lines—doing the best with the resources (talent, time, money) that you have. Thus, what artistic excellence means will be different for each church, but each church should be striving for it with the resources God has given.”
What is wrong with this picture? And what can be done to fix the problem of tepid and indifferent worship? Imagine you are a pastor and one of your deacons finds this on the internet and brings it to you.
How would you advise him?
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