Is that, is He a chore?
A new-to-me blog by a, (so far as I have discerned,) Lutheran minister has a post on the, (understandably,) miffing ('zat a word?) tendency of some people to act as if they are doing someone a favor just by showing up.... (and Who would that Someone be? oh, surely not! so it must be the priest/preacher/minister, right?)
Going to church is not a matter of doing the pastor a favor; at least it shouldn't be. Better to go for that reason than not at all, but that is hardly the point. I suppose it would be worse to presume that one is doing God a favor, but the pastor is speaking and acting in God's Name, so it really amounts to the same thing....it is one of the saddest ironies that man should make God's Sabbath into a burdensome and onerous task. The Lord desires to give His people joyful peace and blessed rest, but sinful man views this gift as a wearisome obligation. How quickly we count and calculate our effort and our sacrifice, while we forget our Lord's benefits.Pretty good, and the first response may be even better:
Perhaps the pastor is personally boring or tedious. Nevertheless, the Word he preaches is the Lord's, and the works he administers are Christ's. These gracious gifts of God are not burdens upon His people, but the very fountain and source of life and salvation. Is this a chore?
When Jesus cleanses the temple, is it just because there are merchants in it? The question should be asked why are those merchants there? To make things easier for those who came to worship at the temple. Why did things need to be made easier? Because people thought that it's such a chore otherwise.For a spendthrift lover is our Lord!
The same thing can be seen today, as you have pointed out. Why is this hymn so long? Do we have to sing all of it? Why is this tune so hard, can't we sing something easier? Why are the prayers so long? Why do we have to do communion each week? Why do you preach so much law? Why do we have to hear about Jesus each week? Can't we make this whole worship service easier?
When people see the Divine Service as a chore, they despise the gifts which God is giving to them. It's as if they're asking to see the angry side of Jesus - The Jesus with the whip of cords, with shouting and overturning tables.
I know if I had the gifts I give to others treated as a chore that they had to begrudgingly take on, I'd be that angry too. I probably wouldn't give gifts to them ever again. But thankfully Jesus doesn't do that.
You know, I have heard Catholics revel in the fact that "after Vatican Two, we got away from that medieval notion of obligation," nowadays Catholic attend Mass out of a sense of love.
Hmmmm... don't they just.
Or do I mean, THEY JUST DON'T.
Because let's be honest, all you Spirit of Vatican Two types -- yes, we should attend Mass for the love of God, but we should also know that.... well, that we owe Him.
We OWE Him.
We ARE obliged to Him.
We are obliged to attend the Mass, the Liturgy He has given us.
The greatest damage done by the rampant liturgical abuse of the last few decades is that the mindset that the Liturgy is ours to create, rather than something received; transmits itself to the average PIP, and they then also see the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, rather than as a gift from God, as a performance art or A & C project of Father's, or the choir's, or the Liturgy Committee's -- and they have no obligation to us.
So why the hell not sleep in on Sunday?