I am getting tired of hearing country songs about country life. It seems like lately there have been a smattering of country music artists singing about how wonderful it is to be "country". And it is boring.
Of course it does not help that I don't really like Country music, but come on, do we really need to hear, again, about the superiority of wearing cowboy boots, or drinking sweet tea? It is not preaching to the choir. It is singing to the choir.
The reason I bring this up (not because you care what I think about country music) is because I sense that this is where we have gone many times as LC--MS Lutherans. We don't preach to the choir. I think our preaching is pretty good. But we sing to the choir.
Lately the Lutheran Witness has run several articles about the importance or the significance of church architecture, symbolism, and other such things. One article further back spoke about the supposed meaning behind the clerical collar.
It is not such a bog deal when it happens in publications, blogs, or podcasts. The real problem comes in when this is the subject of our preaching on Sunday morning.
Let me just say that I am all for nice church buildings with meaningful symbolism. I wear a clerical collar, in fact I am wearing one right now. I am not in favor of big bands taking the place of the altar, font, and pulpit.
I just think that it is a waste of our time to talk about the importance of things like the pulpit when we have an opportunity to talk about the importance of Jesus Christ. We should be using the symbols to talk about Jesus, not using Jesus to talk about the symbols.
The reason I say this is because a church can have all the right architecture, the right symbolism, the proper clothing, and the wrong Word. It is the message of the gospel that makes or breaks the Christian Church, not the furniture.
The congregation that worships in the basement of a house in secret for fear of the Islamic government with no pulpit, a plastic bowl of water for a font and a wobbly table for an altar is no less orthodox than the church worshiping with a stone altar, an 8 sided font, and an elevated pulpit.
Singing to the choir, using Lutheran theology to tell me how wonderful Lutheran symbolism is, gets boring.
Tell me about Jesus.
Preach to the choir.
Tell me how wonderful Lutheran theology is, because it always talks about Jesus.