Sunday, February 07, 2010

Salem's New Chasuble

Battling some mechanical and technical issues until this morning, Mrs. H. finished the green chasuble for Salem Lutheran Church - the third in the series (including purple and white) so far.

Here are more photos of the construction process.

The fleur-de-lis is not only a beloved symbol associated with the Louisiana and French heritage, it is also a Christian symbol - a lily (symbol of the resurrection) with the Most Holy Trinity represented in the trefoils. We are undecided at this point whether or not to send a "cease and desist" order to the NFL...

Thank you, Miz Grace and to the benefactors who donated the funds for this beautiful addition to the sanctuary of Salem Lutheran Church. Also, a big "thank you" to Kelly at Probst Decorating who was an answer to a prayer, providing the material for the "halo" around the fleur-de-lis - even refusing to take a penny for it!

Soli Deo gloria.


Sue said...

What a beautiful chasuble. What a blessing for your congregation, and to you for such a talented wife! And I loved the picture of Leo standing close to you at the altar - sweet!

CyberSis said...

Another breathtaking offering, Mrs. H.

fooser77 said...

FH, just would like to get your input on something. I'm sure you'd be well informed, that there are other 'Salems' about.

My brother's parish, is Salem, in Tomball, TX. (Houston area). In the recent past, it has been labeled, Salem Baptist-Lutheran Church. Any witnessing of any given Sunday 'Divine Worship,' would give clues to that -- designation.

I attended Salem, Tomball's Christmas Eve service, with my brother's family. Literally, I was floored at what I witnessed. My brother, said that they had never done that before, in his memory of his membership at that parish.

Rather than attempt to describe it to you, I can actually show a good portion of it to you. I believe, that even you might be impressed. I hope it is a trend, that really begins to identify, just what the 21st century church could, and should be like.

Go to here. At the inserted video, about 1/4 way down (vimeo), go to '091224 Christmas Eve 10 pm.' The 'dancer' in dark clothing, is a family member, BTW. The only other thing, that could have made the 'chanting' of the Christmas Gospel, more 'high church,' would be to chant it in Latin. The 'spacey' background music, is definitely 21st century.

What you cannot discern from the video, is that the lector, is flanked on all four corners, by alter boys/girls, holding candles. An alter boy, positioned in front of the 'human lectern,' holding a crucifix, in blue-hued, illuminated crystalline type of construction.

If you wish, you can also view/listen to the sermon, and critique if you like on the scriptural substance. I thought it was most sound, and effective.

This was one, (if not the best) of the best examples of a 'blended' service that I have yet to witness. To give another example of 'blended' music, in terms of combining old with new, check this out:

A Mighty Fortress is Our God. I might note, that the pipe organist here, is Pastor Doug Dommer. I have actually been counseled by him in the past. To describe his 'pipe intro,' (actually digital), at the Christmas Eve service I attended, it was as though Paganini possessed Bach. It was pretty wild. Wish there was video capture of that as well.

That followed, a 'Sarah McLaughlin type' musical piece [piano pop], whose performer, then proceeded to take her seat in the orchestra, and assume her primary instrument, the violin.

I have witnessed, first hand, that the 'church,' can wow the rest of world, and it CAN do so in a most scriptural manner, without 'watering down' the Gospel, or even forsaking the liturgy...

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Foosier:

I'm going to be honest.

What is happening at the Tomball Salem is everything that is wrong with the church today. Instead of using art to point us to Jesus, this mockery of liturgy is all about (and you used the word) "performance." It is a show. It's more Vegas than Zion.

Dancing girls, Sarah MacLaughlin-esque music, Disney-like shows, expensive mixing boards, and a carefully-crafted neo-evangelical preaching style and appearance - do nothing but draw attention to the "show." Instead of being "wowed" by Jesus, such performances seek to wow people with the show.

By contrast, the liturgy is amazingly low-tech. Liturgical services do not need choreography, light shows, dancing girls, wireless microphones, and preachers who feel the need to give a virtual altar call at the end, with contorted faces and appeals to emotion.

The "choir" singing A Mighty Fortress was actually clapping while they were singing about Satan. Bizarre. They we swiveling their hips and raising their hands (I'm embarrassed for some of the people in the video who look rather out of place). By contrast, a liturgical choir sings from the loft, in the back, unseen, and without the need for pulling faces and making dance moves. Once again, it is about focus.

Chanting is also, in fact, very simple. It is singing text over one note, and shifting it during the last few syllables. It can be done without a lot of high-tech equipment and showy effects. In fact, one person with a psalter can chant the word of God. It isn't about being "high church," but rather bringing the Word of God to life rather than turning the Word of God into a vehicle to showcase showtunes.

I thank God that I am under no pressure at my congregation to put on a show.

I preach the Word of God as bound by the weekly texts. I follow the rubrics of the Western Mass as laid out in our common hymnal Divine Services as reverently as I can, at a real altar and from a real pulpit. I absolve my parishioners without a guitar and without a microphone. We celebrate the low-tech Lord's Supper. We have no big screens or dancing girls or rock music.

The reverence, the architecture of the church, the vestments, the Biblical words of the ancient liturgy, the quiet prayers, the lack of psychologically and emotionally manipulative mood music all point to the greater and deeper reality of the Real Presence of our Lord. There is beauty in that simplicity. Lacking this Real Presence theology, non-liturgical Christians often try to substitute emotion, music, and performance to compensate. How sad when those who confess the Real Presence adopt the ways of those who don't.

The Super Bowl is one thing. Watching The Who at halftime, an F14 flyover, cheerleaders waving pompoms at a touchdown, and mind-blowing technology and graphics are fine and dandy for a football game. They are terribly out of place in worship.

Once again, bro, I'm just being honest. I came from a non-liturgical background where worship was seen as a show and where the sanctuary was an arena. I never want to go back to that. What a shame so many of our fellow LCMS churches are selling out the treasures of the Church for the dark pottage (more like thin gruel) of here-today-gone-tomorrow pop entertainment.

Having been with many families and parishioners on their deathbeds, let me tell you what brings comfort - the liturgy, learned by repetition and recited with reverence over a lifetime. When one is drawing one's final breaths, the holy words spoken, sung, and chanted over the course of one's life come back and bring comfort.

That doesn't work with dancing girls and a big show.

The Lakeland Two said...

Much too tasteful for Bad Vestments website!!! Beautifully crafted.