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A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

Holy Space

UPDATE: Our thanks and appreciation to the HT team who send us this update: The Media guys in Higher Things worked all last night to make sure that the skits were edited and placed in the appendix of the VBS. Version 1.1 of the VBS was posted last night for download. So, not only are the skits expressly OPTIONAL, there can be no confusion that they are not to be done in the sanctuary. Thanks for the help!

Now, we've heard your concerns. We've acted on them. There's no reason for y'all not to ALL have these VBS materials. 

The link is

There is a rhyme and reason to traditional church architecture. It's no mistake that Joel Osteen's church is just a stage with a couple ferns. Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and traditional Anglican churches are built as they are because those are the folks who believe that the Sacrament is really Jesus' body and blood. When the Puritans and other Reformed-influenced folks got a hold Anglican churches, the ornate altars came down and were replaced with a simple wooden table for a reason: they didn't believe in the Real Presence.

The chancel is holy space because of the Sacrament. The nave is holy space because this is where we gather to receive the Sacrament. The pulpit is holy space because this is where the called minister preaches God's Word to push people toward God's Sacrament.

Jocularity, play acting, and entertainment are out of place in holy space. We need to be reminded of this because in our zeal to communicate the Gospel we may forget this truth. I remember how I cringed one day in chapel at CSL as a beloved, confessional, erudite professor of mine dressed himself in a Charlie Brown pageant costume and pretended to be St. Paul in the pulpit. His heart was in the right place, he wanted to teach us something, he thought this would be a fresh way to do it.

But the laughs and smiles he elicited were out of place in holy space. Can you imagine St. Peter and St. James acting out David and Nathaniel during a sermon in the first century? To paraphrase Paul, "Do you not have theatres and televisions on which to exercise your thespian inclinations?" Can you imagine St. Titus plotting to ask St. Timothy to interrupt his sermon and pretend to not understand the doctrine he was preaching while dressed in his bathrobe?

Our children, and ourselves, need to learn respect and holy fear for the things of God. Using the pulpit and chancel steps as a stage for play acting does not serve this goal - no matter who wrote the script.

Pr. H. R.36 Comments