14 April 2008

Getting Bored with Liturgical "Same Old, Same Old"?

The Church's liturgy provides a nice, healthy balance between "repetition is the mother of learning" (the ordinaries) and "variety is the spice of life" (the propers). But still some of us claim to get bored with the "same old, same old" from week to week (even though not every element is the same every week!). I usually just say something like this: "Getting bored with God's Word in the liturgy? I guess you need to pay attention to what's being said and done."

Pr. Christopher Hall, over at "This Side of the Pulpit" says it this way:
Find yourself growing bored with the liturgy?

Is it getting stale, saying the same things week after week?

Does every Sunday service seem the same?

Desire something a little different, you know, to mix it up a little bit?

There is a certain cure for this ennui: pay attention to what you are saying, and what is being said to you.
Thanks, Chris! Well said, indeed.


  1. Boredom comes from not being truly aware of Christ's Presence.

  2. I used to be in that "getting bored" group. I think that there is room for some contemporary-style music in the service once in awhile. However the doctrine is the most important part of the service meaning all parts of the historic liturgy needs to be present. That's what I see lacking at my congregation in the one "contemporary" service we have. Of course including some hymns once in awhile in that service instead of all "praise" songs would be nice too.

    Perhaps a meeting to discuss is in order ...

  3. Thanks for your comments, Brad. You mentioned "some contemporary-style music." That is certainly one of the focal points of the whole worship debate. By way of general comment (not critical at all), we really do need to ask: What does it - "contemporary-style music" - mean? One person's "contemporary" is 60s style music, while another person's is 90's style. What often passes for contemporary is actually quite old by current music trends (radio, pop-music, etc.). So - and again, I'm not being critical of you, Brad - I would maintain that we need to find more helpful, more specific terms.

    I could go on in different angles from this, but I'd best leave it at that right now.

    Thanks again for your comments.

  4. I would certainly agree that "contemporary-style music" is rather general. Perhaps another way to say would be inclusion of Christian "praise and worship" not included in the hymnals. Although I've also found myself thinking that those songs don't have a place either. But I think the key is still using the entire historic liturgy.

    Perhaps that's the silver-lining of the "Issues etc" cancellation - it's caused me to start re-thinking my position on exactly what worship is. That's where the benefit of your blog and others has come in. It's made me question the direction of Synod leadership wants to take the LCMS. And become concerned at the same time as a lay person who has wondered many times over the years if I'm being directed towards ministry work.

    But now this comment has gone in many directions.

  5. If you're bored at worship, then you aren't there for the right reason.

  6. I think while most of the boredom is definitely the fault of the sinner in the pew, it is definitely left to the pastor to teach what is going on so that they, as A.T. puts it, become aware of Christ's presence.

    Those who say they don't "get anything out of" liturgical worship are using their feelings to judge and usually are not trained to understand the implication of the Word being God in worship.

  7. Good point, Dan. I would also add that if one pays attention to what is being said and done in the liturgy--it does teach itself, in a way--then one will certainly appreciate the truth that Christ is indeed among us. So, the pastor's task is always to teach and train, both by word and by example.