Upcoming Performances

February 11
Inaugural recitalist, Casavant organ, Forest Lake Presbyterian Church, Columbia, S.C.

March 9, 2018, 12:15 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, National City Christian Church, Washington, D.C.

March 11, 2018
Guest recitalist, Waldensian Presbyterian Church, Valdese, N.C.

May 13, 2018, 5:00 pm Eastern
Guest recitalist, First Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, N.C.

« Organ literature and dinner parties | Main | Weddings! Part 1: Vocal music »

Man is Lord

'Fess up. You know there's a point in history to which you'd like the church to return. Yet you would still like to color that return with modern influence. I’d like liturgy to return to Medieval times, where the pageantry and architecture were all there. Then I’d add a good helping of Lutheran reform, where the congregation can actually see, hear, and understand what’s going on. And I would certainly include an Aeolian-Skinner to play, plus a choir directed by John Yarrington.

I laugh when I hear anyone drag out the same old blanket statement, “We need to get back to the basics,” or, “We need to get back to the way church used to be.” Well, what are the basics? The Ark of the Covenant? Candles? Vestments? Communion? Self-flagellation? Monastic life? And what about “getting back to the way church used to be?” You have a multi-millennial history to wade through there, Jack. Just how far back would you like to go? To last year before your pastor resigned? To 20 years ago, when people dressed up for church? To Luther? To the Upper Room? To the Promised Land? To the Garden of Eden? Or are you going to conveniently pick and choose – taking us back to the Upper Room but with microphones and PowerPoint?

And so I return to the first two words of this post: “’Fess up.” You, like I, would like to pick and choose and build the “perfect” church. That is fun to daydream about but terribly dangerous to try to put into practice. It hasn’t worked yet; if it had, we’d all be members of this perfect church. When you start that in earnest, Man becomes Lord. The creation of Rite II is about as far as I’d be willing to go. But Rite III is on its way, and so the watering down continues.

All of the following happened in the same church. And I’m not making any of this up:

1) ‘God Bless America’ and the National Anthem were sung on Lent I, just because it was also Boy Scout Sunday.
2) The National Anthem was sung on Pentecost, just because it was also Memorial Day weekend.
3) ‘Onward, Christian Soldiers’ was sung on Advent III, just because it hadn’t been sung in a while.(!)
4) A bride had wonderful classical music including that of harp, boychoir, string quartet, trumpet, organ, and vocalist. But the congregation was assigned a campfire chorus to sing.
5) A family requested The Stars & Stripes Forever for a funeral.

Guess the denomination.


Yes, Episcopal. If a Mack truck were expected to shift gears as much as that church did, the transmission would fall out. I have asked it before, and I’ll ask it again: just WHOM is being worshipped here?

Let’s all slow down, take a deep breath, and ask ourselves why we do some of these things. And let’s be thankful that none of us with our fickle tastes ever landed the job of being God.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend