Wednesday, September 10, 2014

No Favorites

I received a very good piece of advice from the recently retired Kantor Resch when I was at seminary. He said, "do not talk about or take into account favorites." Favorite hymns, favorite liturgies, favorite anything. Do everything in the Church based on the Word and the Word alone.

This avoids a lot of potential problems. Whenever anyone asks "why don't we sing my favorite hymn?" I simply respond: I do not pick hymns because of likes or dislikes, but because of the Word. The hymns that best fit the readings and theme of the day is what we sing. (Note: Sometimes there are hymns that fit well and sometimes not, but that is the goal! To have all that is spoken and sung unite in a common confession of the Word that day.)

This is also true for our liturgy. I have some folks whose favorite liturgy is Divine Service 3, some like Divine Service 4, and my organists absolutely hate Divine Service 2! (They tell me it is the most difficult to play.) Fine. We do them all over the course of a year, rotating seasonally. Why? Well, I recognize there is benefit in using only one liturgy and getting to know it well, but I also want my people exposed to as much of the hymnal and liturgies as possible. That way, when they travel or move to another place and attend another church, they will feel at home with whatever liturgy the church is using that day. They've done it and know it. That is a great benefit.

Do I have favorite hymns? Sure I do! But I won't tell you what they are. (I have too many anyway!) But I do not pick my favorites, or anyone else's, just because they are favorites. All in service of the Word and the Word alone.

No comments: