Well I spent a bit of time last week talking to a Jehovah’s Witness again, man it is tiring. I always get the feeling I’m not actually arguing with what they believe more what they are prepared to tell me. They don’t believe in the trinity. They aren’t Christian, but they’ll never tell you that outright. So you are left debating a facade rather than a person. My Jehovah’s witness is loathe to even admit that this is where they get their theology from. They use “lets agree to differ” as a way of not listening to reason and I bet if I make the slightest headway they’ll be whisked away by their brothers or sisters and soothed in the balm of people who agree with them in typical cult like fashion.
They take an unclear passage of John’s Gospel (unclear to someone with no regard for Church tradition anyway) have an obtuse interpretation and then say that it is clear for all to see and use this as a reason for why all Christians should constantly bandy the Tetragrammatron about. No that’s not the name of a Decepticon Transformer, its the theological name for YHWH. It is exceptionally crass to say and sing the name above all names out loud, it is holy, and holy means set apart. Only in a profane age would it not be obvious.
It has been Jewish, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and yes even protestant tradition not to even write it in translations of the Bible, replacing it with the word lord. The Vatican and the congregation of divine worship has said that out of reverence to God we should not speak or sing aloud the name of God in the liturgy, and if not in the liturgy then we shouldn’t do so anywhere else. Next time you heard the Y word in an atrocious worship song, and it will be atrocious, mention it to the person who picks the music at Mass. There probably is a directive against atrocious music choices in mass too but sadly there is no accounting for taste. *
This conscious decision out of reverence is perfectly satisfactory to us as Christians because we know Jesus is God and that thanks to the wonderful mystery of the incarnation we do have a name for God we can say out loud. God revealed his holy name through the Logos, the word made flesh. We can sing the name of Jesus at the top of our lungs since it is by his life that we have seen the unseen God and by his resurrection we have a sense of joy and hope of salvation that can never be dimmed.
* Isn’t it curious that the Americans take the Vatican serious and the Bishops of England and Wales ignore this. I wonder how much else the Bishops of England and Wales ignore Rome?
I’d also say if you want a jolly good sing song go somewhere else where they do it better, if you want the mysteries of the Mass the Catholic Church is the place to be. The Catholic Church should not be imitating Vineyard music and many Catholics lapse because of the awful music they are subjected to during Mass in the vain attempt to try. Quite simply the desire to be modern detracts and distracts from the timelessness of the Mass.
The liturgy has to be number one priority for the Catholic Church, the number one priority of any Bishop. The Catholic Church can only be all things to all men if it stops imitating protestants in the holy Mass. There is a place for modern worship music, though I have no idea where, but people who like it should be able to sing to their hearts content and still be Catholic, but that place is certainly not during Mass. The Church needs to do everything it does to point towards the sacred mysteries of the sacrament of the altar, singing poppy little ditties obscures the otherness, the sacredness, the holiness of what God has done in instituting the Mass.
Dire liturgy without a doubt is the cause of the lack of vocations to the priesthood. We need a new spirit of Christian obedience to the sacred mysteries to infuse everything we do at Church, starting with the liturgy, because if we do that then the sacred mysteries will infuse everything we do outside Church too. Put simply, if we struggle to be Catholic at Mass then what hope is there for us in the world where the devil runs the table and has counted all the cards? Save the liturgy, save the world.