Liturgical Notes for 12/31/17 and 1/7/18
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!
For the next two Sundays, December 31, and January 7, we will familiarize ourselves with the Divine Service as it is written in the Lutheran Service Book (LSB), Divine Service 3 (DS3) on page 184.
A printed copy of the entire Service will be distributed to each person as you enter God's House. You will also receive the normal insert with Introit and Readings etc. ("the Propers" as they are called). In addition there will be another sheet listing the hymns (which will also be on the hymn boards as usual). The hymns will come from TLH, so there will be a bit of juggling.
However, you will find that the Service is so similar to the Order we currently pray that it will be easy to follow. But in order to ease your way below are a few notes.
1. The congregational response to the confession and absolution will be spoken instead of chanted.
2. The confession, as you may have noticed, is never done at the altar because properly speaking it is pre-Service, with the actual Service beginning with the Introit (Entrance). Notice that that is when the pastor approaches the altar, at the Introit.
But there is a change I'd like to propose that other churches do. Namely, that the pastor will stand at the baptismal font for the confession, and give the absolution from the font as well. The symbolism is poignant since our ongoing purification of sins is a product of our baptism. Thereafter the pastor will ascend the altar for the Introit and the continuation of the Service.
3. The rest of the Service flows as usual.
4. There is one editing error. The "Collect" is placed after the Amen, but should be before it. You'll figure this out when we get there.
5.The Creed will be slightly different in wording. We will say "Holy Spirit" instead of "Holy Ghost". Also "the living and dead" rather than "the quick and the dead."
6. There will be no Offertory hymn ("Let the Vineyards be Fruitful".) Neither TLH, nor LSB calls for this insertion. It is a tradition in some parishes, but in my judgment it is one we can do without.
7. Following the Benediction there will be announcements and a closing hymn, though it is not listed. As with the Offertory neither TLH, nor LSB calls for a closing hymn. We will have one for now because a request was made. But it's something we can talk about.
The way the Service is ordered the last word we hear, as we go back to the spiritual battlefield is God's benediction upon us. That Divine Pronouncement goes with you on your way and it does what it says: It blesses you, keeps you, makes God's face shine upon you, and imparts his grace to you, by it God lifts up his countenance (i.e. smiles) upon you, and gives you the Peace that the world cannot give. The Peace that surpasses understanding. It is no sin to follow the benediction with a hymn. But the Service is written as it is for a reason. Food for thought.
Lastly, we will collect the service folders at the door to use again next week, and several times between now and Pentecost, when I hope we can buy the LSB for our pews, and use it as our regular book. In my pastoral and theological judgment it is the best book the LCMS has ever produced. But in the end it's not about me, or any individual. But about the church. This is the church's book. It has been for 10 years, and we are late to the party. By God's grace let us remedy that problem.
If you would like to get to know the Synod's hymnal better you can view a series of video's at this link.
Here's another. (Proper Preface)
Here's another. (Nunc Dimittis)
The Te Deum (LSB Matins)
Please forward this email to anyone who would be interested.