Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Traditional Innovation or Innovative Tradition?

Dear people of Grace,

What a joy it is to worship God together! As we gather every Sunday, we are shaped and changed by hearing God’s Word, we are showered with God’s grace as we remember our baptisms, and forgiven our sins, we are fed with God’s own body as we are called together around God’s table. Worship is all a good and glorious gift from God! And it empowers us to go out into the world, to live our lives in freedom, to love, and to do God’s work.

We have a beautiful, deep tradition of Lutheran liturgical worship, and we have a living tradition at Grace of creatively bringing worship to life! Just as a good sermon takes the good and ancient words of Scripture and relates them to our life, in this time and place, Lutheran worship at its best takes old and wonderful traditions and uses them to make something that speaks to you and me, and our unique place in the world.

Of course, it’s tricky, and we all have slightly different ideas about how to do it. There is a balance to be struck between what is comfortable and familiar, and what stirs us up in new ways. Every single worshipping community in the world struggles to get this balance exactly right! At Grace, I see this struggle play out in discussions about what words we use in worship to refer to God, and what style of hymns to sing. Both of these are specific examples of the universal challenge to balance tradition and innovation.

We have a moment of opportunity here at Grace right now: while under the excellent leadership of Matt Proulx as our Interim Music Minister, we have time to really think about what we would like in our music program in the future. What should our priorities be in hiring a permanent Music Minister? An excellent performer on the organ? Someone who can really swing Gospel and world music on the piano? An inspiring teacher for the choir? A person who will educate us on liturgy? A leader of congregational singing? There are so many options!

Worship Committee, Council, and I think this is the perfect time to have a prayerful conversation together about our worship life. We want to meet in small “cottage groups,” similar to what you did when you developed Grace’s mission statement, to really be able to hear each other, and then to come together for a large congregational conversation. We think this will be most fair and open if we hire an outside facilitator. (You’ve probably seen the announcement, asking for suggestions from the congregation. And you’ll be hearing more about the details in upcoming months.)

I am so excited about this conversation! The Holy Spirit was powerfully at work among you when you discerned Grace’s Mission Statement and Core Values. You listened carefully for God’s guidance as you thought about how to call your pastor and who to call- and God did great work bringing us together! Prayerful discussion and research showed you God’s will when we decided that Montrose Grace Place would be our mission to the community. Each of these times, Grace Lutheran discovered joy at following God’s will. I trust that this time will be equally full of Grace!

In Christ,
Pastor Lura

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