Rev. Paul McCain has stumbled into (but more likely kicked!) a liturgical hornets' nest on his blog Cyberbrethren. Interesting discusion, and as one might suspect when dealing with a subject so close to the heart and the soul as worship practices, very heated. Readers of this blog will note that I lean pretty far over into the camp of "chancel prancers." I'm not ashamed of that. There is great meaning and depth in historic forms of liturgical worship. And worship does form and shape doctrine, just as the kind of clothes one wears forms and shapes not only others opinions of him, but his own view of himself.
What I like the best about Pastor McCain's discussion is the idea that it is not right to radically change practices of worship in either direction. I'm not talking one pastor who chants the liturgy and another who speaks it. I'm talking no vestments, might-as-well-be-Baptist Lutherans vs. Lutherans who present worship styles that suggest prayer to saints, an unhealthy veneration of the Blessed Virgin (which some people might think calling Mary "the Blessed Virgin" is unhealthy), and an attitude of why-did-we-ever-leave-let's-be-more-Catholic-than the pope.
I fear that vast differences in worship practice in the LCMS is terribly confusing to laity, devisive among clergy, and in general do not in any way aid or adourn the Gospel of Christ. But, can anything be done about it? I worry about the possibility of a split in the LCMS a lot, but is there an alternative? Would it be better to split rather than calling ourselves a Synod? Isn't that kind of hypocritical? Just some thoughts.