Monday, June 22, 2009

Comportment in Church

There were two pithy and insightful statements made during symposium that I really wanted to remember. One was Pr Bender's on Wednesday afternoon, and I didn't write it down, and of course I got caught up in the rest of what he said and forgot that one line. So when I heard something fantastic from Pr Stuckwisch on Friday, I grabbed scrap paper immediately and started scribbling.

Pr Stuckwisch was asked about congregants' crossing themselves, bowing, genuflecting, etc. Some people do. Most people don't. Those who do, don't all do it at the exact same time. What about that? Shouldn't we be instructed on those matters so that we can be unified?

Pr Stuckwisch said that the people are free to engage in those gestures or not. There is no compulsion. He seemed a little leery of giving instruction in such matters to those who haven't asked, as if it might make laws or rules where there ought not to be any.

However, he said, there's a difference between the people and the pastor. Unlike the people, the pastor is not free to choose his motions and behaviors during the Service. How a pastor comports himself in the chancel is part of his teaching. What is he teaching the people about the presence of Christ? What is he teaching his people about forgiveness? What is he teaching the people about reverence?

Duh. Of course. I had never been able to figure it out, but once he put it that way, it seemed so obvious!

1 comment:

  1. I have many duh obvious moments with Pastor Stuckwisch that leads me to not having much left to say or ask. Duh....put like that, it is obvious. Thank you Pastor Stuckwisch.