Conversations With Myself
Monday, July 18, 2005
  St. Casserole: Things I don't understand
St. Casserole: Things I don't understand

I was reading this simple straight forward post and it got me to thinking.

Things I don't understand, about the Methodist Liturgy.

A few years ago when the new Methodist Hymnal came out and our church purchased it, we of course had to learn about it. First now Hymn number 1, O For A Thousand Tongues, was now Hymn No. 57 it as still the first hymn, but not No. 1. It has always bothered me, don't know why but it does.

Another thing that changed that I really don't understand is in the middle of our Communion Service there is now the phrase: "In the Name of Jesus Christ you are forgiven." Now this one really bothers me, first the pastor says it to the congregation then the congregation says it back in response to the pastor. No, Methodist's are Protestants, and it is my understanding that one of the main tenets of Protestant belief is that we require no intersession between us and our God. So when we go to the communion rail and partake of the sacraments, we commune with God and ask God for the forgiveness of our sins, we do not go to a confessional where some earthly intersessor assures us or not that we are forgiven. It something between me and God. So by that merit the pastor has no right to say that I have been forgiven for he can not see into my heart, nor do I have the right to say to the pastor that he has been forgiven, for the same reason. So why did we put it into our liturgy?

Also, why do we say that Jesus "descended to the dead" in the Apostles Creed during our Baptism and Confirmation services? This is not part of our every day Apostles creed, in fact from what I can tell, it was purposely left out of our creed at some point. If you went to a Presbyterian church when I was growing up it was in their creed but they said "descended into Hell." So I concluded that it was left out for a purpose and that that purpose was part of our belief structure. Basically saying that the Methodist Church does not believe that Jesus went to Hell, before his resurrection. Now it suddenly appears again, an unilateral decision that only during Baptism or Communion do we believe that Jesus descended to the dead. On most other Sunday's we use our traditional creed, which omits the words "descended to the dead."

Finally, why did we basically take the Lutheran Baptism Service and put it in our hymnal? There must be something that is different about Methodism that is not the same than Lutheranism? Otherwise would we not be called Lutheran, or they Methodist? I know this mainly because I worked in a Lutheran Church as the Senior Choir Director for 5 years. I was shocked when I saw their service in our hymnal.

On that final point, my theory is that it is part of the ecumenical movement, a blending of all our religions to make us more acceptable to people of other faiths. But that does not hold water, because although some of us became Methodist's because we grew up in the church, the main reason that I remain a Methodist is that I find most of what is taught in the church acceptable to my view of the way that I want to worship.

I know that these may be small and insignificant issues, that most people would think are silly to worry about and to be sure they are not enough to make me change churches, but I do wonder what decisions were made by the liturgy committee of the Church to decide to change these things.

I also admit that they bother me, which is why I guess I brought them up in the first place.

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Here you will find what I find interesting to comment on. What interests me is Music, especially Church Music. Photography, Programming, Golf, and Politics.

Location: Thorndale, Pennsylvania, United States

I have been married for almost 23 years, and am the father of a teenage girl. I spend my days programming in just about any language they want in the banking and investing field. In the evening I work on my music, currently concentrating on arrangements and new choral pieces for my Church Choir. I have been Minister of Music, at my church for the past year, looking forward to next year. When I have time, I take pictures of anything and anyone. Also I play golf, not very well, but I enjoy it. Finally what I enjoy most is spending time with my family.

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