“Ancient Liturgy for Today’s Tulsa”

From Grace Lutheran Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma, come two videos highlighting the centrality of liturgy in this Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) congregation. The first, “Grace Lutheran Church — Stability in an Unstable World,” is an introduction to the life of this congregation, with some interesting footage of their celebration of Divine Service (Eucharistic Liturgy), including a sequence with voiceover of the Prayer of Thanksgiving that precedes the Institution Narrative in the LCMS Lutheran Service Book.

“The center of our life here is gathering for our Divine Service of Holy Communion every Sunday, and our life together grows out of that.” — Pastor Mason Beecroft

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qo0V57INpA&NR

The second video, “Loving the Liturgy — Grace Lutheran Church,” focuses on liturgical theology and the experience of this congregation as it gathers for worship.

“The Liturgy or the tradition is there to form our minds that our minds might be the mind of Christ.” — Pastor Mason Beecroft

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLvfNtMUbe4

The church’s website, from which the title of this post comes, presents a more developed liturgical theology. Be sure to click on the tab “Dancing at Grace” (no, not that kind of dancing!).

I think these videos are an interesting introduction to liturgical worship as one congregation experiences it. They strike me as a useful catechetical or evangelistic tool, especially as both their form and content will appeal to a post-Megachurch/Emergent Church audience (as well as to any tech-savvy audience).

I find the honesty, simplicity and traditional quality of their worship very appealing, and the presentation in this format to be attractive and extremely useful. Kudos to Paster Beecroft and the Grace Lutheran Church in Tulsa!

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4 comments

  1. “As such, Lutherans are evangelical, catholic, biblical, and apocalyptic Christians.”

    An interesting marketing strategy that seems to be trying to take many Christian traditions and package them together as stability in an unstable world.

    Some of the trend toward tradition among Protestants seems to be a reaction against the other trend which has put a premium on the entrepreneurial pastor. In some of the mega-churches they reinvent themselves every six months to keep people engaged (or entertained, depending upon your perspective).

    Although this parish deemphasizes the pastor as entrepreneur, he has a strong role as priest. “In the liturgy, the pastor speaks and acts on behalf of God in these sacramental acts. God is doing the work, but the pastor serves as His called representative.” The description of the liturgy is far too priest centered for my taste.

    Personally, appeals to “stability in an unstable world” are not attractive. I am comfortable with a changing world. I also think that the churches, including congregations and the clergy, are just as “worldly” as the “world.”

    One of the most attractive aspects of Protestant laity whom I have met, is that some are personally empowered not simply in their congregation but in the world by their own study of the Bible. They have become empowered personally by Scripture even though they may have spent a lot of time in Bible study with pastors who were authoritarian. These Protestants remind me of the role the Divine Office has had as the center of my prayer life and the empowerment that it has given me in Church and society.

    Christianity that is pastor and congregational centered but fails to develop Christians as personal centers of Christianity in their families and society tends to become a one hour a week Christianity, a business providing a service.

    Most churches and congregations are too pastor-centered regardless of whether the pastors act as entrepreneurs or priests or both.

    1. Jack,

      I can’t speak to this congregation’s experience of their pastor in the role as priest, but I do know that in many “high church” Protestant settings — The Episcopal Church included — there is an (over-)abundance of clergy that have kept lay persons out of professional ministry roles. In a clergy-heavy church, who needs (a parish administrator, youth director, director of catechesis, adult ed. minister, grief minister/funeral coordinator, wedding coordinator, liturgist [insert other imaginable ministry here]).

      I’m not saying this is a good thing — just reporting what is too often (IMHO) the case.

  2. I think I see the complete works of Luther on his shelf. Luther enabled people to love the Bible. Lutherans often express love of their liturgy as well — a taste for Scripture and the great musical heritage must play a role. I think we should have the humility to learn from them.

  3. I am sorry to report that Pr. Beecroft has resigned his Call to Grace Church in Tulsa, resigned from the clergy roster of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (to which Grace Church belongs), and has united with the Roman Catholic Church as a layman. This grieves many liturgical, confessionally-minded Lutherans in my fellowship tremendously.

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