Here is a recent picture from my former congregation. What does this picture say?
The baptismal font in the lower left corner shows that there was a baptism. So this was not a concert. The pastor was wearing red. The liturgical color of white for Easter was being displayed. The altar and a statue of Jesus were covered up by a big screen TV. (Normally, in this congregation, only the unused pulpit is covered by a TV screen). What else does the picture say?
The Facebook caption for the photo is: “Sunday Worship with Koine.” (Built on the Rock, St. Peter Lutheran, Appleton, WI). Koine is known for playing only hymns out of the hymnal, but the lyrics displayed on the screen say: “I pulled my coat tight, against the calling crowd.” That doesn’t sound like a hymn, but who knows.
This picture has captured some attention on the internet. For example, LCMS Pastor Todd Wilken (the host of Issues, Etc.) used the picture as “a general illustration of how contemporary worship distracts from the focus on the Word and Sacraments.” (The Bare Bulb, “An Act of Aggression,” comment). Does this picture illustrate how contemporary worship distracts from the means of grace, or does it illustrate genuine Lutherans using all their God given gifts to the best of their ability?