The Liturgical Warfare of Pride Month
One of the most common frustrations I hear from those who are appalled at today’s cultural meltdown is that it feels like naysayers are powerless to fight against it. The situation feels pretty bleak at times, especially during Pride month when everyone around us is falling over each other, trying to honor the secular gods of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Sure, we can boycott Bud Light and Target when they promote ideologies that lead to the destruction of society and the mutilation of children, but the leftward march of our culture isn’t slowing down, and forgoing cheap clothes and watery beer doesn’t even feel like a drop in the bucket.
However, this posture of hopelessness is the opposite of what Scripture commands. We are told in Romans 8:37 that, “…We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” 2 Corinthians 10 tells us that we possess spiritual weapons with the divine ability to destroy strongholds; weapons among which Scripture, prayer, and singing with God’s people are chief. We are not hopeless by any means.
“We wage liturgical warfare as we worship Christ, the eternal king.”
Now, it’s not enough to simply have spiritual weapons. They’re only helpful if you actually use them. Thankfully, as we gather weekly for corporate worship, we are being trained and equipped to use these weapons against the forces of darkness. We wage liturgical warfare as we worship Christ, the eternal King.
I’m going to walk through the structure of our worship service, discussing how each element confronts the wickedness of the sexual revolution and trains us to use our spiritual weapons in the fight against evil.
Call to Worship
Every service begins with a call to worship. While it is typically delivered by a pastor—most often me—this call comes from God himself. As we receive his call, we can easily see its contrast with the ideology of pride month, which would have us believe that we are beholden to no one other than ourselves and that our greatest good is to answer the siren call of our own desires. When God calls us to worship, we are reminded that we belong to him and are set apart as a holy people to live according to his will. We sing songs that help us rejoice in God’s goodness, and we read together from the Psalms, many of which focus on asking God to judge sin and wickedness in the world. We can heartily join in these petitions as we confront the sin in and around us.
Confession and Absolution of Sin
“The rainbow revolution preaches…a false gospel saying that what God calls sin is not actually sin and that we certainly don’t need to confess it.”
After the call to worship and a couple songs, we take time to pray and ask God to forgive us for the ways that we have sinned during the week. We pray both silently and aloud together as we bring our failures, doubts, and transgressions before the Lord, seeking his forgiveness. The rainbow revolution preaches the opposite: a false gospel declaring that what God calls sin is not actually sin and that we certainly don’t need to confess it. After we pray, we are reminded of God’s forgiveness that is given to us freely as a gift—a result of Jesus’ substitutionary death on our behalf.
Confession is a great equalizer among God’s people. When we do it together, we’re saying that each one of us is guilty and that, in Christ, each one of us is forgiven. We cannot maintain an illusion of superiority or inferiority for long when we all genuinely repent together.
Confessing sin and receiving a reapplication of God’s free pardon also counters one of Satan’s chief tactics, which is to use guilt and shame to immobilize us. When we know that we are forgiven by God, we are no longer at the mercy of Satan, who wants us to believe the lie that God doesn’t love us.
Preaching of God’s Word
The next part of our worship service is the sermon. Every week, we spend about half of the service hearing the Word of God proclaimed by one of the Coram Deo pastors. We stand up to hear Scripture read because it reminds us that God’s words are holy and unlike any other words we hear in life. Every part of our worship service, from the very beginning to the very end, is designed to immerse our hearts and minds in God’s Word. As we become a people of the Word, which Ephesians 6 refers to as the sword of the Spirit, we will be equipped to use it to counter Satan’s lies and deflect his blows.
“The question that must always be answered is, 'Says who?’ Do we sit under God’s authority or our own?”
The inherent conflict between God’s Word and man's word is one of the hottest points of friction between the liturgy of the Church and the ideologies of the world. The question that must always be answered is, “Says who?” Do we sit under God’s authority or our own? When we submit ourselves under the authority of God’s Word, we are saying that it is God’s standard, not ours, by which we are judged. This reality is fundamentally at odds with the ideology that we ought to embrace our sexual sin in order to “be true to ourselves.”
After we hear God’s Word preached, we obey Jesus’s command to take communion in remembrance of him (Luke 22:19). We physically get out of our seats and come forward to receive the bread and the wine from the pastors at the front of the room. As we do so, we are reminded that we are receiving the body and blood of Christ that was given and shed for our sins.
“...Though many may hate us, communion declares to all that no one can separate us from the love of Christ.”
Communion teaches us that the lives we live, we live to Christ—sexuality and all. We submit everything to Christ because our lives are gifts that he gives. It is through Christ’s death and resurrection that we are sustained as we live lives of obedience and submission to him. Just like our bodies need food and drink to survive, so are we to rely upon the body and blood of Jesus for our very existence. And though many may hate us, communion declares to all that no one can separate us from the love of Christ. We are freed to offer our lives as humble sacrifices to the King of Kings.
“We are actively proclaiming that Christ is in charge of every facet of our lives, a reality that idolaters despise because it means that there is a rightful Lord to whom they must submit.”
At the end of the service, one of the pastors will deliver a commission or a closing charge, reminding us of what we learned from God’s Word and encouraging us to take it with us when we leave. We are built up and spurred on toward good works in Christ as we depart and return to our ordinary daily lives. Typically, we will lift our hands in a closing prayer and a doxology blessing. We sing:
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise him all creatures here below.
Praise him above ye heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
We’re giving thanks to God for his saving work and for his provision as the giver of every blessing. We are actively proclaiming that Christ is in charge of every facet of our lives, a reality that idolaters despise because it means that there is a rightful Lord to whom they must submit. As we go, we are like leaven that works through a loaf of bread. We are sent into our homes, schools, and workplaces, charged to take the love of God with us, which, as a result, transforms both us and the world.
An Enduring Hope
This month, you will likely experience the hatred of a world that is vehemently and scornfully poured out upon God and his followers who would dare to blaspheme the secular god of sexual autonomy. And yet, though the world’s opposition to God is fierce and scaling up in volume, we have a great and enduring hope:
Scripture tells us that the gates of hell shall not prevail against Christ and his Church. Jesus reminds his disciples in his High Priestly prayer that, though they will encounter many tribulations, they are supposed to take heart, for he has overcome the world (John 16:33). Ultimately, every foe will bow the knee in submission to him. The future is bright, and we can have hope knowing that the God who loves us will sustain us and lead us victoriously into his kingdom.
“The wickedness of the world, pride month included, is passing away and will ultimately be forgotten.”
Every Sunday, through the songs we sing, the prayers we pray, the fellowship we enjoy, the sins we confess, the forgiveness we receive, the Word of God that we hear proclaimed, the communion we consume, and the commission that sends us out, we are equipped by God to fight the good fight of faith. The wickedness of the world, pride month included, is passing away and will ultimately be forgotten.
So be of good cheer and rejoice, for the Lord is good and his kingdom will endure forever!