Monday, September 27, 2010

So, What Are The Rubrics For Liturgical Thundersticks During Worship?

So, what are the rubrics for when Christian’s gather to worship and wish to incorporate the use of “thundersticks” into worship? Does anybody know? I can’t find the required rubrics anywhere in the Lutheran Service book! Why is that?

First we need to define some terms…

Rubrics are according to the Lutheran Cyclopedia are “Directions for conducting services; the name is derived from the red ink often used for them, in distinction from the text of the service, in black ink.” Another way of putting that is that the rubrics tell us how to conduct the Divine Service so that everything moves and is conducted in an orderly fashion. There have been rubrics governing the conduct of the Divine Service since God instituted congregational worship in Leviticus. If you think that Leviticus is nothing more than a bunch of rules for an Old Testament Israel to follow then the rest of this post will not make any sense whatsoever. Just sayin’…

Thundersticks according to Wikipedia are “sometimes known as cheerstix, bangers or bambams, are long, narrow plastic balloons that are used as promotional noise makers. The noise is created when two thundersticks are struck together. They are most often used at sporting events, political rallies and concerts.

Worship was defined by the reformation era Lutherans as the gathering of the faithful where the marks of the Church were present, that is to say, where the people could go to hear the Word preached purely and the Sacraments administered rightly. The center of the Christian’s spiritual life has always been the gathering together for worship and this is why our confessions point to the “marks” for the very definition of what the Church is.

So, back to my question… what are the rubrics for when Christian’s gather to worship and wish to incorporate the use of “thundersticks” into worship? Maybe I need to explain why I’m asking the question to begin with.

At July’s National Youth Gathering one of the mass events featured thundersticks used en masse (pun intended) by both those leading the service as well as by the kids. As I have been set straight by one of the workers for the mass events that “were not considered a "worship service," but were considered worship” I think it’s only fair that we make certain that our kids don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the use thundersticks during worship is in any way similar to their use in baseball or football games.

It is crucial that we teach our children that order in worship should be of the utmost importance and that rubrics help facilitate such order. How can expect our children to return to their grandfather’s church and those dusty old hymnals if we don’t take the liturgical use of thundersticks seriously and write rubrics for the time-honored use of these joyful noisemakers?

To not properly incorporate thundersticks into the worship life of our congregations through ordered rubrics would simply turn our worship services into something resembling pagan sporting events and profane the holy things of the Church. We don’t want that do we? No, we don’t.

It’s all about setting an example for our children it is.


ghp said...

Shouldn't those rubrics show up in HS 11? ;)

(and that parsing of "worship" was positively Clintonian (Bill or George, take your pick...)!

Scott Diekmann said...

The youth in my church went to the NYG, including our pastor. He seemed to think the NYG was good overall, or something to that effect. So I plan on taking my set of thundersticks that I've had laying around for years to church this Sunday. I knew I was keeping them for a reason.

Frank Gillespie said...

Scott, I too heard that overall it was good from a number of folks (even if most managed to attack the Higher Things conferences in the same breath) My concern here is that we set up a practice so that the kids, upon their return, can incorporate what they picked up at the NYG in order to better facilitate reintegration into their home congregation. I think we all want the same thing. The kids should come home and be confused as some, who while making a case that the NYG is above any critique at all, stated that the mass events “were not considered a "worship service," but were considered worship”. I’ve heard this our worship is not worship but is worship from numerous individuals over the last two months. So, so as to not offend, I hope that including rubrics in our liturgy for thundersticks can help up move to a common understanding of what worship is and is not.

Anonymous said...

Frank, if we include rubrics for thundersticks, then I want rubrics for how to wear war paint. I want to be able to come to church painted up like William Wallace, with red letters painted on my chest "John 3:16!", and of course my thunderstick. That will prove I am a "Christian soldier" in the Church militant! Hoo-rah!

Frank Gillespie said...


Nobody has introduced such a ludicrous practice into the church as far as I can tell! Wearing warpaint is best left to clown ministries and such.

I’m only suggesting that we conform to the worship that our kids are introduced to so that they don’t get bored and leave the church when they return from national gatherings. This is really about retaining our children.

Kelly Klages said...

Frank, the weird thing is how close this is to the way people are really thinking. On some level, people do realize that what youth gatherings look like today will be what church looks like 20 years from now, in some circles.