Liturgically Pro-Life

I am guilty of liturgical innovation. I have added a few words to the Litany (Lutheran Service Book version): "To strengthen and keep all sick persons and young children; to free those in bondage; to protect the unborn, the disabled and all who are vulnerable; and to have mercy on us all; We implore you…

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“Liturgical Texts” in LSB

(Post edited 8/9/16, 8 pm) One of the greatest features of the Lutheran Service Book family of books—including the Treasury of Daily Prayer—is that the biblical sources of the liturgical texts are all marked in the margins. This is both informative—it teaches us where those texts are taken from—and edifying—it is a constant reminder that…

Liturgical Titbits: A Tale of Two Days

As we learned in the previous post, the church retained two different calendars side by side: the lunar and the solar. Thus there was a clash between two ways of dividing up the year. But there is also another clash in the church’s time-keeping. We think of the new day as beginning at midnight. So…

Liturgical Titbits: A Tale of Two Calendars

The Christian Church was borne out of the mixed soil of the Old Testament Scriptures, first-century Judaism and the Græco-Roman world. This mixture of influences is still with us today when it comes to measuring and marking time in the Church’s life. The worship of the Old Testament, and much of the Judaism of Palestine…

Chants for the Reformation Lessons

After the lecture on Music and the Reformation last Friday, we celebrated choral vespers. To get a sense of an earlier time in the Lutheran church, the readings (Epistle & Gospel for Reformation Day) were chanted according to Luther's directions in Die Deutsche Messe. Here's the music (text from ESV®). The Epistle:   The Gospel:…

Seven theses on church music

From a presentation I was honoured to give yesterday at Luther-Tyndale Memorial Church in London, as part of their annual Reformation Festival. I. Music is the chief vehicle for the proclamation of the Word of God in the Church. II. Therefore, the task of church music is to proclaim the Word of God. III. As…

Sinai, the Land and Liturgy

Profound words from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (as was). This forms the foundation for his discussion of the 'spirit of the Liturgy'. Now it becomes clear that what took place on Sinai, in the period of rest after the wandering through the wilderness, is what gives meaning to the taking of the land. Sinai is not…

Liturgical Titbits: The Idle Congregation

“Why don’t we get to do more in the service? Why does the pastor get to do (almost) everything? All that the congregation seems to do is to sing hymns and say ‘Amen’ a lot. Why? It makes it feel like the pastor is more special and important, and makes us feel devalued.” This way…

Bring back The Office

No, not this one. Or that. The original. Because repetition is the mother of all learning. I am frequently struck by the extent and depth of the biblical knowledge of the fathers—the apostles, the fathers of the early church, the Mediæval doctors, the Reformers and the great theologians of the late-16th and 17th centuries. How…

If we are going to sing long hymns

… as I advocated in my previous post, we are going to have a couple of problems. First, it will lead to longer church services. Which, to be perfectly frank, isn't a problem at all, but a good thing. There are 168 hours in a week, most of which we spend working, sleeping, eating, drinking…