Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Danger of Holy Week Liturgy

Yesterday I shared that if all that happens during Holy Week is that we ponder the death of Christ and feel bad about how much He suffered for us, beating ourselves up a bit for the pain we caused Him, we will miss the point completely. Rather, our calling is to enter into solidarity with Christ, not by sympathy or sentiment, but by each of us actually living out the way of the cross in our own daily lives. This is the problem I often have with liturgy: While it can function as a vivid sensory reminder of our solidarity with Christ, inviting us to enter into the way of the cross with Him, too often the ritual becomes a substitute for my own experiential identification with Christ. I read about the seven last words of Christ, or watch Mel Gibson’s movie, or I walk a ‘stations of the cross’ experience set up somewhere in Seattle. Thus having ‘felt His pain’, I delude myself into thinking that I’ve done something of value. The value, however, doesn’t occur until I am pouring my own life out for others in service, laying down my rights, laying down my life, bearing with other’s weaknesses, and stepping into the suffering and pain of the world, then we’ve missed the point. It’s all about union with Christ, as seen here and here.


At 5/4/07 06:52, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel very differently. I certainly never feel "sympathy" when going through the Holy Week liturgy - all I can feel is shame and humility. The day before He asks for the cup of suffering to be taken from him, and then He comes to perfect peace and acceptance, - thinking of His mother, the Plan, forgiveness for His killers (all of us?) It also reminds me of the hugeness and complexity of God's plan. Yesterday I went to a Sedar dinner at the church and went through the rituals and saw Christ in that too. It was moving and lovely. I love walking though His life each year, reminding myself of it all.

Meaning no attack on other forms of worship, but I once heard a paster say - "hey - this is not a show that the choir and I are putting on for you - it is a time for all of us together to worhsip God" and that can be a danger *sometimes* - it becomes too pastor focused when you strip away - well - the rituals. In Houston, everyone knows Ed Young and Joel Osteen. The are almost celebrities.

Hey, I tune into your blog each week to listen to what you have to say, when you want me to be listening to what *God* has to say to me, *though* you. (Which happens - make no mistake. This is no critism just another view.

I love, and am comfortable with, both forms of worship. But I find value in both.

Just my two cents,

Lisa (a nobody) from Houston

PS Now I concede FASTING (even for a few hours!!! ) has the effect you mention on me! I feel like quite the martyr.


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