Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Father Hollywood . . .

hits the nail on the head in this post about grammar imitating life.  There have been a number of times since I've been a pastor when I've had other pastors ask about how things are going in the parish I serve.  Often, as the conversation goes on, the pastor I'm talking to will ask, "So, how many do you worship each Sunday?"  I have experienced great inward joy by always answering that question, "One God in Three Persons.  Why?  How many do you worship?"  I usually get the "quit being a smart-aleck, you know what I mean" look.  But, it's great fun.  What's scary is that sometimes the pastor who asks this question in this way is a solid, confessional Lutheran, and not of the "church-growth" ilk.  That's scary because it means that this faulty way of talking about worship in the church has become so common that even we who know better can find ourselves adopting this language.

In a similar vein, what also gets lost in the mix when we focus on how many warm bodies are occupying our pews is the truth that, when we gather together for Divine Service, the attendance is actually innumerable, since we are gathered together with all the saints, living and glorified, and all the angels and archangels.  Maybe next year when the synod sends us the form to fill out our statistics and updates (can't remember what the actual form is titled - shows you how much I pay attention to it), we should put, "Unknown (or, Known only by God)" in the blank after Average Sunday Worship. :)  Actually, I'm only half-kidding about this, since I think doing this would actually go a long way toward directing our focus back to where it should be when we talk about worship. 

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