Monday, July 07, 2008

Divine Service 5 and Bearing with one another

Yesterday Good Shepherd celebrated the Holy Mysteries and received the Blessed gifts of Word and Sacrament in the 5th setting of the Divine Service from the Lutheran Service Book. I think it is very important for Lutheran pastors to present all of the services in the new hymnal on a regular basis. The reason for this: so that we all learn how to bear with one another.

Since I have been their pastor, Good Shepherd has used every service except Morning and Evening Prayer (and we will use those soon). In learning some of the new services I have gotten a lot of feedback, both good and bad about the services. That is good! In just about every service we have used I have had some people who absolutely loved them and others who absolutely hated them. I myself like some services better than others. This is a good lesson for Christians, it teaches us to bear with one another in love. And that is the lesson I try to teach my dear sheep. Sure, you may not like Divine Service 2, you may not like that I chant the Verbum in some verses, I may not like the less formal feel of Divine Service 4, but the Divine Service is not given for our entertainment, it is given as a vehicle for transporting the Word and Sacraments. As Christians who love one another, we gladly bear with a service we may not like for the benefit of our brothers and sisters. This is what Christian love and charity demands. And this is the beauty of Lutheranism. It is not about everyone doing their own thing, it is about everyone bearing with one another in love and patience. It is not about everyone doing what is right in their own eyes, but it is about bearing our crosses (and that may very well be the Lutheran Service Book or one of the services in it, or the liturgy in general). This is what it means to be Lutheran.

4 comments:

Chuck Wiese said...

I love Divine Service 3 chanted and would be perfectly happy if that is all that we did. I think there is a good deal to be said for the past use of the Lutheran Common Service in almost all the churches in the US.

On the other hand, since there is no longer a common service I agree that it is beneficial to learn the other services. I think it is good to be able to follow the service when visiting other LCMS churches. (Of course if they are using some order of service that they invented then nobody can be expected to be prepared to be able to follow along).

After repeatedly singing along with Divine Service 2 in my car on the way to work, I also found it a lot less irritating than I did at first. I even started to like it (still not as much as 3).

I REALLY love the Gloria from setting 3 but I do love to hear Caleb singing "This Is Feast" throughout the day at home (it seems to stick in his head when we sing it at church).

I'm sure I'll be able to appreciate settings 1 and 4 after I sing along in the car to them enough. Setting 5 will make me appreciate the other services better.

Even if I have to sing the much weaker "with you" instead of "with thy spirit" Lutheran worship is still the best thing out there liturgically. Even if I have to sing about uniting peoples hopes and dreams together like I'm in some kind of strange Lutheran Disney movie it's still better than any alternative. All the great liturgy and heritage of the church without the idolatry! Plus I get to hear the Gospel and receive Christ's body and blood at least twice a week. So if I have to bear with the short Lutheran Disney prayer that's not so much to ask.

Rev. Jim Roemke said...

I agree with everything you have said Chuck. As one who grew up on LW and the Divine Services in there (now DS 1 and 2)I have always been parital to them (especially 1 which was kind of what I grew up with as a "common service" of sorts, it seemed most Lutheran churches I went to in Northeast Indiana used that one). However, now that I have had a chance to really learn DS 3 it has become my favorite. That being said, and I'm sure you would agree, we cannot impose our "favorites" on everyone else, especially when there are 4 other acceptable alternatives right in front of us. Also, it is important to note that when DS 3 was the common service there was still a lot of monkeying around with it in individual parishes (just talk to any retired pastor).
Something that has always stuck with me is when my great aunt Frieda took my face in both of her hands when I told her I was going to seminary and practically pleaded with me to chant the service again. Great harm is done when pastors look at the rubrics as very loose suggestions.

Pastor Krenz said...

Thanks for this important post, dear brother. I am sharing it with my elders this morning. Blessings!

Sean said...

Hey Pr. Roemke, this is Vicar Daenzer
It's nice to meet people whose blogs you've read :)

I'm actually a bit concerned about this post. I'm not sure about the concept that ALL five DS settings of the LSB are intended to be used in each parish. The second concern is like it, that all of the hymns in the hymnal should be sung in every parish. Teaching music takes time, especially with largely untrained singers (ie: most congregations). It takes a considerable amount of effort to learn new settings and tunes, coupled with the inertia of Lutherans and our "fear of change". With Hymns and liturgical settings, less is more. Isn't the point of these to catechize the faithful, deliver Christ to them in Word and Sacrament, and prepare them for Christian death? Familiarity and repetition are the mothers of learning, and certainly go a long way to these ends!

I'm only a vicar I know, and I have a lot of anxiety over eventually receiving a parish, but having been a kantor I can say honestly that less is always more. When we work with children, it is good to repeat a small number of hymns and a limited number of texts/tunes, so that they will commit them to heart and know them well for life. With adults, that number has to be even smaller, since adults are not as comfortable with change nor as willing and able to learn as young people.

Certainly I'm a vicar, and in no place to be presuming to tell you how to pick services. How many you make use of is certainly a fair question up for discussion and differing opinions.

But what makes me most nervous is your motivation and reasoning for using all of LSB's services: to teach a point. This is the Divine Service and the Daily Office we are talking about! I am very troubled when the Holy Mass and Offices are used as a means to make a point. Teaching Christians to bear with crosses is certainly something to do, but to make drastic changes in the practice of the Divine Service? to uproot a parish's piety? to make the central aspect of the Christian life foreign overnight and arbitrarily different? This troubles me greatly. This isn't teaching to bear the cross; this seems to be creating a cross for the parish to bear, and what's worse, the Divine Service- the liturgy- is that cross that's being given! The Holy Mass is not anfechtung, it is Christ giving Himself to His people! What if the parish cannot bear this cross? What if they are led to despise the Divine Service of God? No matter how much potential it could have to make a point, the Divine Service itself is too holy, too sacred to manipulate in an attempt to make one, no matter what article of doctrine we try to teach thereby.