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A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

Dear Pastor: Please, do not write your own liturgies

You are just not smart enough to do it. You'll only embarrass yourself. Your own personal wisdom and experience are no substitute for the wisdom and experience of the whole Church.

You get the whole sermon to make up every week however you like. Go hog wild. You can even write the prayers of the church, if you like. Knock yourself out. But please, please: leave the liturgy (whether Matins, Responsive Prayer, Divine Service, Compline, etc.) alone. These are gifts given by generations of your fathers to you. Receive them with thanks and don't act like a stuck-up know it all. Keep the fourth commandment and pray as your fathers teach you.

Otherwise this will happen.: Earth Day Chapel. This comes from one of our universities. You can read the whole thing for yourself.

One line that stood out to me was "forgive our haste that tampers unawares." What the hell does that mean? says I. Doesn't sound like something a Midwestern Lutheran pastor would make up - too poetical-like. So I googled it. Sure enough - even the "creativity" of this liturgy was not creative. The litany was written by Brian Wren with a copyright held by Hope Publishing. It was highlighted in an article in Reformed Worship magazine a while back by the Minister for Social Witness and Worship for the Reformed Church in America.

Well, that's better than making up your own stuff, at least. Isn't there some line about this in Tolkien? One of the bad guys is spoken of as not quite all the way bad because at least he served a will other than his own (even though that will was evil).

Maybe this whole Earth Day liturgy was likewise copied and pasted from other places. Beats me - there are no footnotes so indicating and I really don't want to google it line by line. But I know this: the students at Concordia-NE would be better served by chapel services that follow Lutheran orders observing dates on the Lutheran liturgical calendar.


Pr. H. R.26 Comments