Thanks to our friends over at Verbum Ipsum for highlighting this interesting tidbit . . .
There’s a Billy Joel musical. There’s an Abba musical. And now, there is a U2 liturgy. I like U2. I really do. But . . .
A U2 liturgy? Since when did our liturgies need pop-culture sponsorship? I mean, isn’t it the church’s liturgy? Isn’t Jesus the Main Event? The medling of liturgy and light sticks, star power and saving grace, faithful worship and rock concert appeal – it all seems a little odd to me.
In the 1960s some of our churches began singing "Blowin’ in the Wind" in worship. One song. That’s fine. But they didn’t resort to an entire Bob Dylan liturgy (thank God!). Again, today I think that a single pop song could add something meaningful and relevant to our liturgy, but we don’t need "guerilla marketing" (direct quote from the Episcopal Priest who presided at the liturgy) to promote a U2-inspired worship. What about a Gospel-inspired worship?
The problem with pop-culture liturgies is that the music, the cultural element, becomes the main attraction. People will attend to hear U2, not the Gospel. Rather than being a means for communicating the Gospel, U2 upstages the Gospel and obscures it in the name of culturally relevant worship.
(And this critique coming from a guy who generally likes new forms of worship! But please, let’s not have Bono co-host our liturgy!)