As part of Mercy Seat’s mission to rethink the Lutheran Church, we believe that the Church’s long liturgical tradition is a way in which we–as just one community–fit into two thousand years of worshiping Christ and celebrating redemption. We also have committed to taking that tradition into our lives and living inside it. For this reason, we commission musicians to set the liturgy to music. Whether it be jazz, alt-country, 60s pop, or soul, our services are continually re-imagining the ways in which the ancient words of our liturgy can work in our lives.
What is a liturgy? The liturgy is the traditional service of the Lutheran Church, from the Lord’s Prayer to the confession of sin. In a Mercy Seat liturgy we take many of these parts and set them to song, so that we sing “Lamb of God, have mercy on us” and “Holy is our God.”
For some, the liturgy is an old concept, something they’ve repeated since they were kids, “Lord have mercy, Kyrie, etc…” The ritual of the liturgy can seem an all-too-familiar husk of routine. For them, we’re trying to rework these words and breathe new life in them.
For others (and much of our community), though, the notion of tradition can seem off-putting. Evangelicalism has told us that spontaneity is the key to faith. For them, we want to emphasize the continual “becoming” of the Church. We participate in tradition–not because our ancestors in faith we’re so much more right–but because we, like them, come to church as part of a continual admission of our need for mercy and grace. The liturgy is a way in which we make celebration, brokenness, and humility part of our routines.