Click to read more on the gold just shown…
A explanation of vestments, including the mitre, and the gold vestments in particular
Glory and splendor…
Our own departmental editor, Fr. David Petersen, was fêted by the loving people of Redeemer as well as the bishop of the English District this past Sunday on the occasion of a double anniversary: 15 years since receiving Holy Orders and 10 years as Pastor of Redeemer.
I mention it here not only because of Fr. Petersen's connection to the journal, but also because of one interesting liturgical reason and one point of familial pride. First, the latter point: my mom made all the vestments and paraments which were donated by a friend of Redeemer for this occasion. They are beautiful, if I don't say so myself. If you or your parish is interested in such appointments, I can put you in touch with her.
But now the liturgical point - thanks to the example of the Rt. Rev. Obare at the installation of President Harrison, Fr. Petersen had the idea of reintroducing the full vesture of the bishop at Redeemer - so Bishop Stechholz carried not only his usual crozier but also wore the mitre. As the wide world of Confessional Lutheranism gets wider, we in the Missouri Synod are learning a lot from our brethren in societies that have not had to live through the same history we have. In Siberia and Kenya they wear the mitre and keep the traditional form of church governance as the Confessions say we desire. They don't have the US's sad history of virulent anti-catholicism and anti-clericalism. Now that we have more contact with our brothers around the world, it is hoped that we will not only teach and lead but also learn and follow.
Tell the Good News About Jesus Convocation / Wyoming District LCMS
29 January 2011
The Lord Jesus has died for all. Bore the sin of many. Numbered with the transgressors. He didn't leave anyone out of His Good Friday. He died for all sin. Can you name any sinner or any sin that Jesus didn't die for? I didn't think so! He did the salvation job that only He could do. "It is finished." He did it unshakably!
And now He's freshly risen from the dead. He truly is God's Son. And He's been given all authority in heaven and on earth! Imagine that! It's no wonder. After all, in Matthew 9 we heard already how the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. That's the authority of God Himself! Now we hear it again. And ratcheted up! "All authority." Where? Not only on the earth but even in heaven too! Everywhere! Nothing, no one, and no place are outside of the crucified and risen Christ's authority.
And so All Authority In Heaven and On Earth Jesus meets the Eleven. He goes to them. Good thing. They've lost one. Twelve minus Judas. The eleven worship AND doubt. Bipolar eleven. Worship-doubters! We'd have no use for them. We'd send them home. "Thanks boys for your time. It's been a nice three years. But the job Jesus has for you is just too big for the like of you. Thanks for your worship. That's nice. But you can't be doubting and get the job of making disciples of all nations done. We've taken a vote. We have no confidence in you! You're all just too shaky and unreliable for us. So here are eleven Jacksons for cab fare. Good luck!"
And what does Jesus do? He sends the eleven anyway! All confidence must be in Him! All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him. Not you. Not me. Not the eleven. He's the Lord. He's the one who died and rose from the dead! Remember, He came to them. He's in charge. He's in control. Everything depends on Him – who died – who rose – who has been given all authority -- everywhere!
So Christ speaks! His Word always comes first! "Make disciples." That's the imperative. The main verb. His mandate. "Make disciples of all nations by baptizing and teaching." Baptizing in the Triune Name and teaching everything that Jesus has given. Not one or the other. Both.
What an incredible task! Make disciples of all nations by baptizing and teaching. Who could do such a thing? Can only Eleven get the job done? Can the professional clergy? We have to hurry! Chop! Chop! Faster! Faster! We panic. We despair. We play the blame game. If we believe that it's all up to us.
Good thing Jesus speaks up again. It's a wonderful promise. "Look, I'm with you always. I'm not leaving. I unshakably won salvation for everyone! Now I'll see to it that salvation's bestowal is unshakably delivered. For to be baptized in God's Name, like I just said, is to be baptized by God Himself! Anyone who is baptized in the Name of the Father has God as his Father! Anyone baptized in the Name of the Son receives all the benefits of My bloody Good Friday death. Anyone baptized in the Name of the Holy Spirit receives the life giving, life-sustaining power and presence of the Spirit."
"I'll see to this making disciples bit. You just be my instruments. Pastors: I have good use for you. Speak my words as I've mandated. Pour on the water. For in my words of Holy Baptism I'm speaking, I'm forgiving, I'm saving. People: I have good use for you too. Do my bidding and bring your children to the font. Bring them to church to hear my Word. Teach them what I've done for them. And if you want to invite your neighbors, bring them too. I won't turn them away. They can be my disciples as well. After all, all authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. I died. I rose. I'm the Savior. For the Eleven. For you. And for all nations."
In the Name of Jesus.
Our friends in Canada posted a great review of Lutheranism 101 in the Canadian Lutheran Online. Here it is:
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by Garry Heintz
When Lutheranism 101 first came out, pictures floated about on Facebook of people "caught" with their nose in the book. LCMS President Matt Harrison; a pastor eating sushi; a bust of Luther; an Octoberfest band; people's pets and children. Even a few Canadians were found reading it! So who should read this book?
Although the title implies it is an introduction for those with little exposure to the Christian faith, Lutheranism 101 is a great resource to help any Christian understand why historic, reformation Christianity believes, teaches, and practices the faith as it does.
The editors and authors (including LCC's Rev. Michael Keith) have ensured that Lutheranism 101 is an easy read for anyone. There are margin notes with quotes from Luther, explanations of Biblical words, Bible verses, and insights into the practice of the faith. The book opens with a quick-start guide and throughout provides resources like "How Should We Pray," "Christian Denominations," and "Bible Study Tools."
Getting into the text, Lutheranism 101 goes through the main teachings of Christianity, but it is not a Mere Christianity-type book. It doesn't only deal with articles of the faith on which most Christians agree: Who is God? What is sin? Who is Jesus? What has He done for us? The authors deal with all these basics of the Christian faith with the Lutheran emphasis on the Gospel.
And like the Lutheran Church, Lutheranism 101 strives to keep Jesus at the centre of its teaching. For example, while many churches make prophecy a confusing maze to navigate, this book simply explains the return of Christ as a joyful hope of the resurrection.
While much of Christianity is trying to look indistinguishable from the world, this book isn't afraid to say, "Here is what Lutheranism is." For example, the church isn't just a group of like-minded individuals, but it is every redeemed sinner. God then gathers His Church to hear His Word and receive His gifts from men set apart for that task.
Lutheranism 101 offers no apologies when it presents the Word of God as the source for all Christian teaching, understood through the lens of Law and Gospel. The Word of God is applied to sinners, calling them to repentance and to the places where Jesus works through His Word to give forgiveness in Baptism, Absolution, and the Lord's Supper.
So how did the Lutherans start teaching these things? A look at Luther's life and times presents Luther's rediscovery of the Gospel and how the Church has continued in that message. Christ's saving work prompts Christians to gather for the Divine Service, the weekly gathering of believers, to receive God's gifts. Having received God's gifts, Christians live out the life of faith to the glory of God. Jesus' saving work moves Christians to sacrifice for the sake of others and for the further proclamation of Jesus, visible for the entire world to see. That's what you get in Lutheranism 101.
Some may criticize the book as being too traditional, spending too much time on things like history and worship. However, tradition is simply that which is handed on. The purpose of this book is to pass on that which is at the heart of the Christian faith. Likewise, some may gripe that this book doesn't delve deeply enough into the core Christian teachings: it doesn't look at each of the commandments; it doesn't spend enough time focusing on prayer. But Lutheranism 101 is not designed to be a new edition of the Catechism.
However, in one of the appendices Lutheranism 101 points readers to other books which make up a Christian library. Other valuable resources in the appendices include timelines for Biblical and Christian history, overviews of major events and people who have gone before us in the faith, and a glossary of important words.
Perhaps the best comparison for Lutheranism 101 is a retract-a-bit screwdriver. It isn't a specialized tool. It doesn't fit every situation, but it sure is handy to have.
Pick up a copy. Use it to help your children with their confirmation homework. Use it for Bible study or adult instruction. Use it to remind yourself of the great good news of Jesus at work in your life. And get "caught" reading Lutheranism 101, so you can pass it on to a friend, a family member, or a co-worker who would also benefit from a better understanding of God's gifts for them!
Rev. Garry Heintz is pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Kakabeka Falls, Ontario.
Lutheranism 101 (309 pages, various authors) is published by Concordia Publishing House and is available online.
There is no two-level church with clergy above and laity below, or laity above (who hires and fires) and clergy below, or two churches, one visible and the other invisible. There are no levels - only where our Lord has put himself there for us (dir da) to give out his saving gifts as he has ordained the Means of Grace to do, and put the Predigtamt there for the giving out of his gifts surely located in the Means of Grace. -- Dr. Norman Nagel, CTM Vol. 61, No. 4, pp. 286.
We can rebuild him…
While innovation is generally regarded as the primary American contribution to the world, innovation in the area of religion and faith is not always, I would go further and say seldom, is a good thing. While it is true that we as Americans have innovated our way from one product to another, from one industrial leap to another, we have also been responsible for innovations that have caused great harm to the Christian faith and to our Lord's Church. Sadly, Americans seem to be better at innovation than production, for as soon as we perfect something new, it seems to head outside our borders to be mass produced by someone else. And therein lies its problem with respect to religion and faith. We are very good at new things but not so good at keeping faith and keeping old things going.
I get a lot of interesting communications from across the Missouri Synod here at Concordia Publishing House, on a wide variety of topics and issues. Just when I think I've seen or heard it all, I see something that I've never seen before. That happened again recently. A pastor gave us a lot of feeback and input on a wide variety of resources. He told us he has been in the ministry for twenty-five years. He commented on Lutheran Service Book and declared that only 40% of the hymns in it are "singable." Ok. But it got more interesting. He said he likes some of the liturgies in it, but not others. Then he said, and this is a direct quote: "Some of it is not so good, DS II. I told my secretary to tear it out of the hymnals."
Hmmmmm….a pastor directing his secretary to "tear it out of the hymnals." Really?
The older I get, and that seems to be happening more quickly than before, I am struck, over and over and over again, but how far removed we are from the spirit of our fathers when it comes to respecting the collective will of the Church when it comes to matters of adiaphora. The principle that what has neither been commanded, nor forbidden, is therefore free has been horribly abused among us to mean now, "Whatever is adiaphora doesn't matter and you can do whatever you want with it."
At the time of the Reformation the idea was that although we have freedom, we also have obligations to one another, therefore, I'm not free to thumb my nose at the church's collective will in matters such as this. And so, here we have a pastor directing a parish secretary to deface the church's hymnal because he, the pastor, in his vast and infinite wisdom, decides he doesn't like Divine Service II, therefore, he, the pastor, has the right to take his congregation's hymnals and tear a chunk out of them.
Am I wrong in my thinking here? Or does this perfectly illustrate a problem that is pandemic among us?
If we do not take what Scripture says concerning the presence of Christ with complete seriousness, then we have a wrong understanding of Christ. Then we also have a wrong understanding of His Church. Then we have a mental construct of Christ in place of the real Christ and in place of the real Church in which Jesus Christ is really present according to both His divinity and His humanity we have a dream church, a mere community of spirits in which Christ is only spiritually present just as He was prior to His incarnation. Then the Church ceases to be what it has been in the world ever since the incarnation of Christ, His death and His resurrection, and the institution of the Supper, to wit, the place of God's love among men, a spiritual and bodily community in which we are in Christ and Christ is in us.
The reason why our fathers contended for the pure doctrine of the Sacrament of the Altar is that they knew all of this. They recognized the consequences that an inadequate and false understanding of the Lord's Supper must have for the whole doctrine and life of the Church. We are not ashamed of their ardent struggle. For when she has followed the Reformer in taking with utmost seriousness the inextricably related questions of the faithful administration and the right understanding of this Sacrament, the Evangelical Lutheran Church has never been set on the enthronement of preferred opinions and confessional peculiarities. What is at stake for her is the supreme value for which the Church can and must wage her warfare, namely the absolute validity of the divine Word. In times past and present her struggle does not aim at securing a "Lutheran" Supper but a Biblical Lord's Supper and therefore the Biblical Church and the Christ of the Bible. In this process she has always acted on the assumption that Scripture's teaching on the Supper is not something yet to be discovered by future synods and theological conferences, but that it has already long since been found and can be seen by everyone who reads the New Testament in faith in Christ without ideological preconceptions.
Perhaps the Church of coming ages will be the first to understand what service the Church of the Lutheran Reformation has performed for the whole of Christendom by this untiring testimony in doctrine and life: the Sacrament can be rightly administered only where the Gospel is purely taught, and the proclamation of the Gospel can remain pure only where Christ's Sacrament is rightly celebrated. Just as continual celebration of the Sacrament must keep the Church's proclamation from ending up as mere doctrinaire theology, so likewise constant care for pure doctrine must protect the celebration of the Sacrament from sinking into cultic mysticism and magic. Word and Sacrament, Gospel and Lord's Supper, belong indissolubly together, because Christ the Lord is present in them and through them builds His Church on earth in divine omnipotence and love. This He does neither through the Word alone, nor through the Sacrament alone, but through both together.
- from Hermann Sasse, 'We Are Not Ashamed of Their Ardent Struggle'
On (small-c) catholicity…
Theological Assertion - Contemporary Worship Denies the Catholicity of the Church
Rubrics. A rubric is a word or section of text which is written or printed in red ink to highlight it. The term derives from the rubrica, meaning red ochre or red chalk, and originates in Medieval illuminated manuscripts from the 13th century or earlier. Rubrics are authoritative rules of conduct or procedure or glosses in the text (explanations or definitions of an obscure word in a text) or directions for the conduct of Christian church services (often printed in red in a prayer book).
I venture to say that you have not read the book if you have not read the rubrics. If you do not know the rubrics, you do not know the liturgy. They go hand in hand -- the words which we say and the directions that tell us how and what to do. They are not incidental because our practice is formed by our faith and our practice reflects what it is we truly believe. So, for example, if our practice is sloppy or slovenly, then we are in essence telling people that what we are doing is not important. Lord knows that there are already too many messages about the stuff of worship telling our people that this stuff is not important. Pastors do not need to encouraging them or adding to these hints that how we do things is of little consequence.
The sad truth is that we did not pay much attention to the rubrics back when the hymnal was dated 1941 and the directions were in black italic and we do not pay much more attention to them today, even with the nice, deep red color to draw our attention to them. It is to our poverty that we ignore the red. Those who ignore the red seem prone to rewording the black.
We have a perfectly good way to introduce the lessons but so often the person reading (lay or ordained) seems determined to make up something new. One of the worst habits formed from ignoring the red is the idea that we should greet the people with a hearty good morning before we plow into the Word of God. It makes me wonder what goes through our heads sometimes. Reading the lessons means reading the Word of God so that the attention is on the Word and not the reader -- so why draw attention to who you are by hollaring out a "Goober says hey" before the reading? Better to borrow from the Orthodox if we must ad lib: "Wisdom! Attend!" But the easiest thing of all would simply be to pay attention to the rubrics.
It is not that the rubric police will show up and cart you off if you ignore the red while making up your own black. It is not that heaven will fall to the ground and the work of God's kingdom will crash to a halt because you skipped a liturgical direction printed in red. It is not that the means of grace will be rendered impotent because you forgot a bow or turned the wrong way. Nobody is saying this. I am not saying this. But if what we are doing as representatives (ikons) of the Lord is important, if we believe that God actually works through His Word and Sacraments, then a little care about how we do what we do and what we do is not only good, it is salutary and beneficial. And, believe you me, people notice.
People learn through seeing how we do what we do as well as what we do. I once watched a waitress pick up a knife off the floor, wipe it on her apron, and place it back on the table. Now I am a firm practitioner of the five second rule when it comes to things dropped. But it is a little unseemly when you catch somebody practicing the home rule in public. So Pastors remember that you are not at home, you are in public. People are watching. Read those lines printed in red. See what they say and try to follow them. Read them often enough so that you know them as well as you know to say "In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit." The better you know them, the easier they are to follow. These things printed in red are really pretty good stuff. They actually make sense the more you do them. So give it a shot, won't you?!
On real context…
Dom Mark Daniel Kirby, OSB, has an interesting post up on his blog, On the Psalmody of the Divine Office, which was originally an address he gave to the National Assembly of the Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious. (One should bear this context in mind in case one wonders why Fr. Kirby is particularly focused upon the Divine Office in relation to clergy and religious. But what Father has to say has much value and fruit for the laity who pray the Divine Office, as well as for pastors who wish to bring sung Vespers to their parishes.)
Here are some excerpts. We pick up the article midstream:
Read the entire piece on Vultus Christi.
On Divine Service…
As Described by Wolfgang Musculus in 1536
At the seventh hour we returned to the city church and observed by which rite they celebrated the liturgy; namely thus: First, the Introit was played on the organ, accompanied by the choir in Latin, as in the [Catholic] mass offering. Indeed, the minister meanwhile proceeded from the sacristy dressed sacrificially [i.e. in mass vestments] and, kneeling before the altar, made his confession together with the assisting sacristan. After the confession he ascended to the altar to the book that was located on the right side, according to papist custom. After the Introit the organ was played and the Kyrie eleison sung in alternation by the boys. When it was done the minister sang Gloria in excelsis, which song was completed in alternation by the organ and choir. Thereafter the minister at the altar sang Dominus vobiscum ["The Lord be with you"], the choir responding Et cum spiritu tuo ["And with your spirit"]. The Collect for that day followed in Latin, then he sang the Epistle in Latin, after which the organ was played, the choir following with Herr Gott Vater, wohn uns bei ["God the Father, Be our Stay"]. When it was done the Gospel for that Sunday was sung by the minister in Latin on the left side of the altar, as is the custom of the adherents of the pope. After this the organ played, and the choir followed with Wir glauben all an einen Gott ["We All Believe in One True God"]. After this song came the sermon, …delivered on the Gospel for that Sunday…
After the sermon the choir sang Da pacem domine ["Give Peace, O Lord"], followed by the prayer for peace by the minister at the altar, this in Latin as well. The communion followed, which the minister began with the Lord's Prayer sung in German. Then he sang the Words of the Supper, and these in German with his back turned toward the people: first those of the bread, which, when the words had been offered, he then elevated to the sounding of bells; likewise with the chalice, which he also elevated to the sounding of bells. Immediately communion was held. … During the communion the Agnus Dei was sung in Latin. The minister served the bread in common dress [i.e. in a black robe or cassock] but [he served] the chalice dressed
(Joseph Herl, Worship Wars in Early Lutheranism [New York: Oxford University Press, 2004], pp. 195-96)
As Described by Rudolf Rocholl
According to the Brunswick Agenda of Duke Augustus, 1657, the pastors went to the altar clad in alb, chasuble, and mass vestments. Sacristans and elders held a fair cloth before the altar during the administration, that no particle of the consecrated Elements should fall to the ground. The altar was adorned with costly stuffs, with lights and fresh flowers. "I would," cries [Christian] Scriver, "that one could make the whole church, and especially the altar, look like a little Heaven." Until the nineteenth century the ministers at St. Sebald in Nuremberg wore chasubles at the administration of the Holy Supper. The alb was generally worn over the Talar, even in the sermon. [Valerius] Herberger calls it his natural Säetuch [seed-cloth], from which he scatters the seed of the Divine Word. The alb was worn also in the Westphalian cities. At Closter-Lüne in 1608 the minister wore a garment of yellow gauze, and over it a chasuble on which was worked in needlework a "Passion." …
The churches stood open all day. When the Nuremberg Council ordered that they should be closed except at the hours of service, it aroused such an uproar in the city that the council had to yield. In 1619 all the churches in the Archbishopric of Magdeburg were strictly charged to pray the Litany. In Magdeburg itself there were in 1692 four Readers, two for the Epistle, two for the Gospel. The Nicene Creed was intoned by a Deacon in Latin. Then the sermon and general prayer having been said, the Deacon with two Readers and two Vicars, clad in Mass garment and gowns, went in procession to the altar, bearing the Cup, the Bread, and what pertained to the preparation for the Holy Supper, and the Cüster [Verger] took a silver censer with glowing coals and incense, and incensed them, while another (the Citharmeister?) clothed and arranged the altar, lit two wax candles, and placed on it two books bound in red velvet and silver containing the Latin Epistles and Gospels set to notes, and on festivals set on the altar also a silver or golden crucifix, according to the order of George of Anhalt in 1542. The Preface and Sanctus were in Latin. After the Preface the communicants were summoned into the choir by a bell hanging there. The Nuremberg Officium Sacrum (1664) bids all the ministers be present in their stalls, in white Chorrocken, standing or sitting, to sing after the Frühmesse [Morning Mass], "Lord, Keep Us Steadfast." The minister said his prayer kneeling with his face to the altar, with a deacon kneeling on either side. He arranged the wafers on the paten in piles of ten, like the shewbread, while the Introit and Kyrie were sung. The responses by the choir were in Latin. Up to 1690 the Latin service was still said at St. Sebald's and St. Lawrence's [in Nuremberg]. Throughout this (eighteenth) century we find daily Matins and Vespers, with the singing of German psalms. There were sermons on weekdays. There were no churches in which they did not kneel in confession and at the Consecration of the Elements.
(Geschichte der evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland , p. 300; quoted in Edward T. Horn, "Ceremonies
I had a thought while driving home last night from Tulsa. I think I have noted a problem with so many evangelism programs -- the results we expect.