Is it time to reclaim liturgy?

Over at Christianity Today, there is an article by Mark Galli, the author of Beyond Smells and Bells: The Wonder and Power of the Christian Liturgy about the appeal of liturgy to evangelical Christians. The article is called “A Deeper Relevance”. I found his words on the church’s attempts to be “relevant” to be particularly interesting:

something more profound and paradoxical is going on in liturgy than the search for contemporary relevance. “The liturgy begins … as a real separation from the world,” writes Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann. . . It is precisely the point of the liturgy to take people out of their worlds and usher them into a strange, new world—to show them that, despite appearances, the last thing in the world they need is more of the world out of which they’ve come. The world the liturgy reveals does not seem relevant at first glance, but it turns out that the world it reveals is more real than the one we inhabit day by day.”

One of my frustrations with the church is that while there seems to be a never ending quest for relevance, we are not called to be relevant. We are called to be set apart, to live in ways which are wholly different from the world around us, to care about things which the world cares nothing for and to care very little for that which the world sees as important. Much of our quest to be relevant seems to me to be in stark contrast with the biblical instruction: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2

In practice, it can be hard to figure out what this means. Does Christian music which sounds like it could be playing on the adult contemporary station count as being conformed to this world? Continue reading “Is it time to reclaim liturgy?”