Monday, March 25, 2013

A real barn burner

Funny, isn't it? How people react to change?
In my experience, I've noticed that change usually scares the crap outta folks. They get all hostile and loud. Their minds clamp shut, no longer able to process the information that for them feels like a threat.

My sister and I are in a Bible study through our church.
We are the youngest in that room by about 30 years.
Every Thursday we show up to learn about the early church and how the Jews worshipped starting 50 years after Jesus' death and Resurrection.

This past week, I went to Bible study by myself, cuz my sister went on Spring Break to Destin.
(Mmmmmm Destin...Love that place...wish I could have gone....miss hearing the ocean breathing Yahweh with every incoming wave......) ah..ahem..oops....sorry. Got side tracked.

The topic we were discussing was along the lines of who (back in 50 A.D.) decided the order of the worship service and who decided what that service should entail. As we got further involved in the teaching, the subject of the Agnus Dei came up. You know the Agnus Dei, right?? If not, here it is-

      Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

A few years back the old Pastors used to chant the Agnus Dei as part of Sunday morning church.
And by old I do not mean elderly. I mean the Old World Order...Old World Missouri Synod Lutheran Pastors. When the church services felt like they lasted for hours.
Plodding along, using the old hymnals, the old religious songs; heavy on the organ, the status quo, boring, good Lord! even the Pastor fell asleep one morning during services kind of preaching.
 I hated it.
None of it registered with me. The sermons were dry, humorless, fire and brimstone type of preaching. I never felt uplifted or holy or happy leaving church.
Never felt the presence of the Lord, never felt the spirit of the Lord coming outta their mouths, never saw it or felt it coming from them or through them.
Back then I was a clock watcher. Checking my wrist every few minutes and not believing that only 5 minutes had gone past! Had my watched stopped working?!
Church was excruciating for us young folk back then. But the elderly, they loved it.
It is what they had been used to all their lives. That's how church was for them.
Dignified, reverent, quiet, hushed. To them that quietness meant holy.
Hands folded, eyes front, shushing youngsters with severe and swift disapproval.
Today we have 2 new Pastors running our church.
Two progressive Pastors.
They have not been welcomed easily by our elderly church population.
 New upbeat services, new worship and praise music, a new church building even.

We have no more hymnals, no more organ music, no more shushing of children and boring, head nodding towards sleep sermons.
Most of us love the change, love the new music, love the new Pastors.
There are exceptions.
 I don't know her name, but I do know that she is the loudest of the dissenters about this "new world order" of the church.

To get back on topic here, it was she who loudly proclaimed at Bible study last Thursday that she wanted a church service just for the elderly in our church. She wanted the Pastor to go back to chanting the Agnus Dei. Claimed that it didn't feel like church to her unless the Agnus Dei was being chanted.

Well her one complaint started off a litany of complaints by some of the other elderly men and women in that Thursday morning Bible study.
The room erupted into loud talking, people talking over one another, people no longer listening to one another.
One woman complained that church goes too fast and now she can't keep up.
One woman wanted the time of our Sunday morning service to be changed.
One elderly gent even suggested that women should all sit on the right and men sit on the left. WHAT?!?!
I'm not sure what sparked this fire, but burn it did. All of 'em hollering at each other. I sat there stunned. What is going on here?
The poor Pastor. There he stood scratching his head. The focal point of their elderly rage.
Trying to answer all of their questions and requests and none of them willing to listen or accept his responses.
It was deafening I tell ya! They seemed to be a little out of control of themselves.
What happens to a body when you aren't willing to change?
Do they know?
Are they aware of the stagnation that can happen when a closed mind refuses to see anything else but that which has always been placed in front of it??

Maybe I'm more than ok with being part of a more progressive church program than they are.
And I gotta tell you, at that moment they seemed rather aggressive about the changes that had been happening.
 When I called my sister to tell her about what she had missed, her first response was this-
"Darn! I missed a real barn burner!"
Yes. Yes she did.
Can't wait to see what happens next week.
 Personally, I hope it goes back to being a regular old Bible study. Ha!
(The irony here is not lost on me.)
I'll keep you posted.

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