Sunday, May 08, 2005

A Lutheran bucket

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what's best -- as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and fogiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.

Last Sunday, we said the Lord's prayer, KJV style, at the Lutheran church we visited. The prayer felt important, well-clothed like a grandmother in a dress and accessories and matching purse&shoes and rustly panty hose. I wanted to lean into it and smell it, happy with being back in a familiar lap. From the balcony, a men's choir broke out with quaint authority. Trumpets sounded like a promise of forgotten triumph. A robed man walked down the aisle with the cross which we were instructed to follow with our eyes.
My eyes became embarrassingly full of liturgical nostalgia. None of the Lutherans standing around me appeared emotional, though, so I blinked the tears away, quickly aware of how much I would love to be emotional and wail out in longing for the well-preserved Christ of the day.
However, of course, I strove for the more acceptable presentation of detachment.
Forty-five minutes later, after many hasty grabs at the program to see where to read, what stanza to sing, what verse to remain quiet, what Church to bless as chosen, who's allowed to receive communion, when to stand and sit, why the doctrine is upheld, I became very irritated. The first 15 minute pull was gone, drowned in a schedule which we followed most mechanically. The pastor was barely audible due to children all around me (which I enjoyed in some ways ~~ they became the Life embodied, yet wouldn't they receive more by being in a setting which allowed them to play and discover and learn stories on their level?).
When the time came to go home, I felt a strong inclination to get a full bucket of KFC as a traditional antidote to a traditional service in which we endured to the end. We made it! Now, let's eat!
So, when I saw the Lord's prayer written in "The Message" this morning, I smiled in remembrance of my Lutheran hour, and wondered if such a lovely interpretation would ever be allowed to float out into the air to co-mingle with the trumpeting. I'd love for them to entertain variety.
However, most likely, if I memorized this version, I'd have to blink it back too. I can just imagine the stares that I would receive for being different, and for upsetting the generational flow.
Yet I know for some people, this works, and I don't wish to deny that. For the Bible says, "It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own.....Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor" (Matthew 7 -- the Message).
May we all worship God according to our ordained way, regardless of the variety. May I be allowed to remember the Lutheran experience in the way that corresponds to the needs of my spirit and soul.
Thank you, Lord, for authentic variety. You make experience 'good'.

No comments: