Monday, May 25, 2009

A Broken Invocation

I have been thinking about this all week while on vacation. Thought I'd write put it under random rants. I was preaching at the high school before I went on vacation. Unfortunately the sermon was hijacked by a really bad invocation that came from one of our synodical worship resources. Synod is broke. I had to address the issue. I felt bad for the principal. He agreed that from now on he will just use that simple invocation that we have at the beginning of all our services that ties us to our baptism. You have to understand, I actually want to shut up when I see this stuff. I get so upset I think I make a fool of myself addressing it. But I have to. I had to. My sermon went in the can, I couldn't really get back to it. I had to comment on this. I do not hold the high school or the principal responsible.
In the name of the God the Father,
Who gives us his power,
In the name of God the Son,
Who shows us how to love our neighbor,
In the name of God the Holy Spirit
Who helps us to lead a life of self discipline.

I can't believe that someone actually wrote this pentecostal anti Trinitarian garbage in our synod. Well I can actually. Synod is broke. I mean the point of Matthew twenty eight is the three persons share one name, that of God. To break the invocation up like this in the middle of Mormon land no less is a horrible use of misjudgment. We teach doctrine with our liturgy. Other than that one is left wondering what power it is God gives us? Or why we need it. "Shows us how to love our neighbor?" OF all the things Christ did for us, this is what you come up with? Nothing about the Cross, forgiveness of sins, reconciliation. He shows us how to love our neighbor. Sure, true enough, though with the law on my heart I'm not sure I needed a demonstration. And the Holy Spirit I am glad to find out will help me lead a lifestyle I was not really interested in the first place. Self Discipline? Where was he when I was raiding the fridge at midnight? Thankfully not all that close, I like chocolate Ice Cream and it tastes better at midnight. Self Discipline? Not exactly on the top of the priority list for teenagers if I remember being a teenager. Maybe it should be, but is most often is not. We might try giving them reason for leading lives of self discipline, then maybe they will get around asking the Holy Spirit for help with that. In the meantime, I think the Holy Spirit does more for us than act as our personal Richard Simmons.
Actually, in the sermon that I had prepared I was talking about pastors pandering to felt needs. This is exactly what I had in mind. It was almost the perfect object lesson for that. Changing the liturgy and the worship service to make it more relevant or what not, and it messes everything up. Some pastor some where wrote that invocation for a youth retreat. I imagine sometime in the eighties. He thought it was great. That pastor is free to call me collect so I can chew him out. This also went through doctrinal review. I think we just need to give that up. We have foxes watching the hen house, or the pigeon coop. I think they ate the Holy Spirit feathers and all.


Bryan said...

I appreciate you addressing this at our high school. The one opportunity those kids have to be in the Word should encourage and teach the kids to love real Lutheran worship. That's one reason I try to have the kids sing good hymns when I come to preach. Thanks, Bror.

Bror Erickson said...

Absolutely Bryan.

Anonymous said...

I appreciated your thoughtful analysis of a "hollowed-out" trinitarian invocation. It is symptomatic of much that is wrong in Lutheranism today.