Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Commemoration Days

This summer at Good Shepherd we have been observing the commemoration days and festivals of saints in Lutheran Service Book. I have been moving the festival to the preceding Sunday. It has been nice because it breaks up the sea of green. There are some downsides and I don't think I would do it every summer. There is something lost with the continuity of the pericopal readings and there is only so much you can say about the saints: they were all sinners in need of God's forgiveness in Christ; they all lived in the mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus; they all present faithful examples of lives lived in the faith.

One nice thing, from a theological point of view, is celebrating the saints during the season of the Church is a great way to emphasize what the church is; "the congregation of true saints and believers." It also brings a great opportunity to teach what Lutheranism is: holy, catholic, apostolic and confessional.

4 comments:

jWinters said...

Hey Jim,
Glad to see that you're doing this. I really miss my old "Saints and Days" section of my blog - but I just haven't been able to keep up with it lately. Maybe I'll be able to get back to it soon. Until then, use the wealth that is in the LSB about the commemorations - they are GREAT selections. Whoever put the commemorations together should be commemorated. :-)

in Christ,
jW

Jim Roemke said...

Jay,
The only problem that I have seen with the commemorations on the LCMS website is that it does not include those commemorarations that are actually celebrated in the hymnal (i.e., St. James, Mary Magdalene, St. Mary Theotokos, Bartholomew, etc.). Maybe I am not looking in the right place, but I have not seen these saints.

For what its worth, I was told by some collegues that this might be seen as "too catholic" by my good sheep and rejected; that has not been the case at all. They by and large seem to appreciate the Lutheran difference when it comes to honoring saints and enjoy the change it brings to the long summer months of Pentecost (I also like the change in vestments! And suprising again, the altar guild has been nothing but great with all the changes! God has so richly blessed me with this flock!)

Hope things are going well in gator land! I pray for you.

jWinters said...

Hey Jim,
Ok, so I'm doing this Bible studies on the "Sola" statements. In my research for this week - "Sola Fide" - I found a gem in the Apology: "And the examples of the saints are added [when they say: St. Francis wore a cap, etc.]; and when men desire to imitate these, they imitate, for the most part, the outward exercises; their faith they do not imitate." Apology, Article XV, paragraph 24.

I think that gets at why many Lutherans are scared of the commemorations - because they're afraid we'll promote the actions not the faith that produced the actions.

in Christ,
jW

Jim Roemke said...

Jay-
I have been driving this home each commemoration Sunday. We share the same faith, we gather around the same Word Incarnate, we come to the altar with these great saints and imitate and live in the same faith in Christ alone that they are now made glorious in. In each instance I have made some mention of their lives and what church history has said about them, but the main emphasis has always been on the fact that they are our brothers and sisters.