The Divine Liturgy

On Weeds

Growing up, my parents maintained two large gardens, filled with vegetables. The four brothers ("your poor mother!" people say) would spend summers devouring the fresh tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, and peppers these gardens provided us. Watching and helping in the garden impressed upon me the importance of keeping the garden free of weeds--if it didn't belong there, it got pulled, hoed, or otherwise manually removed from the garden.

The best deterrent for weed control was (and still is), having strong and healthy vegetable plants--these "good" plants shade the ground and drink the moisture from the earth, leaving little incentive for invasive species to sprout. Even so, persistent and annoying weeds are inevitable, which means that they should be dealt with immediately. A weed that goes to seed is bad news, for next year there will be more troubles.

Though it may seem a stretch, I believe "weed control" should take place in the church as well.

Now, that doesn't mean bringing a jug of RoundUp(tm) to a church council meeting, but I do believe that the things that divide us (error, controversy, hurt feelings, etc) are very weed-like. Like a garden--with its strong, healthy plants crowding out the pesky weeds--a functional church body needs strong and healthy parishoners.

This is why I like series like the ones below. Pastors and lay people who understand Divine Service are able to cherish the nuances of the sacramental and sacrificial elements in worship. They are also humbled by the sincerity of expression the vehicle provides, and how it reflects pure Doctrine. As a side effect, "liturgical weeds" are less likely to appear, for a congregation that appreciates how well the Divine Service operates in conjunction with our Doctrine is less likely to develop a taste for weed-like distractions.

I encourage all Pastors and Directors of Worship to consider expending the effort on leading a class on the components of the Divine Service. Let's nourish our garden through the Christ-centered focus provided by the Liturgy.

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