Author Topic: Opening Worship  (Read 16204 times)

ddommer

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #60 on: July 12, 2010, 11:05:24 PM »
Scott,
As one of the creators of the Opening Worship of the 2010 LCMS Convention, thank you for your thoughtful reflection. You understood so much of the texture and symbolism, it was incredible. It seems you also well understand the complexity of the diversity within our church as well as the challenge to carry off such a worship service in such a large and cavernous space. Thanks for "getting it". Almost everything you described is exactly what we were trying to accomplish.
To offer some additional insight, the "light saber Jesus" is actually a commissioned work by artist Bill Meeks used at our church as a processional cross. It is actually a Christus Rex of Jesus returning on the day of Judgement. If you look closely, His robes are all blowing backwards, no matter how the figure is turned...quite remarkable. We chose that piece for the Altar cross because of it's scale in the space. the Altar (with it's digital parament), along with the Ambo, torches and Font were all a creation of the Center for Liturgical Arts in Seward Nebraska. The transparent wall behind the Altar was a theatrical scrim, allowing us to project translations when needed, digital stained glass or banners when appropriate, and well as reveal the choir when the service called for that.
All the Altars used in the service were from area LCMS churches highlighting the amazing diversity of churches within the Houston area. Some were very plain and understated, others very ornate and costly. All were unified by the stain glass panels used as a central theme for the convention hall, worship folder, and service color pallet.
I well realize some will find objections to some of the liberties we took in the expression of the service, but I have always loved Luther's passion for "redeeming the arts for the sake of the Gospel". That is a defining culture at the church where i serve. Thanks again for your insights. I hope to meet you someday in person.

LCMS87

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #61 on: July 13, 2010, 12:02:16 AM »
However, do you have an objection to the choir getting up and walking to stand in ranks in front of the Altar to face the congregation directly when they are singing an anthem, then returning to their seats afterwards?

At a funeral earlier this year, the funeral director was placing some flower arrangements in the chancel and asked if they were okay or would impede the choir.  I said, "In this congregation we believe that choirs are to be heard and not seen.  We sing from the back."  He did a bit of a double take and said, "What?"  I said again that we believe a choir is to be heard and not seen.  He thought about it for a moment and said, "I like that!  Heard and not seen."

(And I should note that when someone offered to buy robes so we could sing from the front, at least three quarters of our choir said an unequivocal no.  They are happy to sing and contribute to worship in this way, but they refuse to sing from the front.)

Weedon

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #62 on: July 13, 2010, 08:48:40 AM »
My reaction is still quite visceral.  Thinking about it angers me, so it is probably best not to comment on it yet.  I was reminded of the old story about the dog poop in the brownies...  Yes, the brownie was still there.  :)

therevev

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #63 on: July 13, 2010, 08:54:46 AM »
My reaction is still quite visceral.  Thinking about it angers me, so it is probably best not to comment on it yet.  I was reminded of the old story about the dog poop in the brownies...  Yes, the brownie was still there.  :)

It is a shame that the experience of the worship did not bring to you the comfort and hope of the resurrection but rather only reminded you of the sinfulness of man.

The Gospel will go on, the question is how many times in our worship and devotional life do we try to go without it. God will continue to bring his kingdom to us in his Word and Sacraments but sinfully we have the desire to bring our kingdom to him expecting our kingdom to be the offering.

I do think it is always hard for me to be at a worship service that is "different" because I feel forced to have my ears up for that which will beguile me with false words. I wish that I had more trust in what is being offered in these "different" worship services, but I struggle to be a receiver of the good news when I keep listening for that which is aimed to deceive me.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #64 on: July 13, 2010, 01:28:43 PM »
I do think it is always hard for me to be at a worship service that is "different" because I feel forced to have my ears up for that which will beguile me with false words. I wish that I had more trust in what is being offered in these "different" worship services, but I struggle to be a receiver of the good news when I keep listening for that which is aimed to deceive me.

I think that it is hard for pastors to be a person in the pew. Any service that we did not plan and are not leading will be "different".
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

therevev

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #65 on: July 13, 2010, 01:34:32 PM »

I think that it is hard for pastors to be a person in the pew. Any service that we did not plan and are not leading will be "different".

Brian you are right to notice I was commenting on a much broader topic of how it is unfortunately hard for me, and likely other pastors, to worship in the pew.
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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #66 on: July 13, 2010, 02:32:06 PM »
Were the President and VPs speaking "ex cathedra" at the beginning of the opening Service?

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #67 on: July 13, 2010, 02:56:30 PM »

I think that it is hard for pastors to be a person in the pew. Any service that we did not plan and are not leading will be "different".

Brian you are right to notice I was commenting on a much broader topic of how it is unfortunately hard for me, and likely other pastors, to worship in the pew.

And for our spouses when we sit next to them --- and verbally critique what's going on.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dan Fienen

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #68 on: July 13, 2010, 03:01:14 PM »
Not to mention having one's spouse comment on how loudly one sings and how much one is still trying to lead the congregation even when part of it.  ;D ::) :D

Dan
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LCMSBornNBred

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #69 on: July 14, 2010, 03:33:18 AM »
My reaction is still quite visceral.  Thinking about it angers me, so it is probably best not to comment on it yet.  I was reminded of the old story about the dog poop in the brownies...  Yes, the brownie was still there.  :)

Are you really implying…no, outright stating…that there was anything resembling dog poop, or anything not pleasing to our Lord, offered up in worship to Him this past Saturday at the GRB?  Really?  Every person involved was offering up their best to the Lord, from pastors to musicians to technical artists, even the artists who designed the beautiful crystal Christus Rex and the altar and baptismal participated with their gifts from afar.  Although none of the gifts can ever possibly be enough to express our gratitude to Christ, it is the condition of the heart, which only He can see, which is important.  You are REALLY going to judge whether the offering of their heart was worthy?  Is there no place in Divine Service for us to not only receive His gifts, but also offer up in worship of Him all He’s given us?

“Make a joyful noise to the LORD, ALL the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises!”

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them."

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.  To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

 …Yes, I know, I know, you will say this was regarding spiritual gifts.  But can you judge that the gift of wisdom, knowledge, or discernment was not given to those who planned the service through more than a year of praying and planning and checking ever word spoken or sung in the service to make sure it glorified God?  That the gift of faith has not been given to even the youngest child offering their worship in the procession or choir, or to every musician who has practiced for months even years to be able to bring their best…whether it’s singing with their God-given voice or playing the organ or the drums?  Or the digital artists who designed screen content or carpenters who built the staging?  Our entire lives are to be lived in worship of Him....why not during Divine Service?

“All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”

“For you were called to FREEDOM, brothers. Only DO NOT use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”

…are any of these phrases remotely familiar to you Pastor?

I would be ashamed, absolutely ashamed, if my pastor spoke that way about fellow Christians and how they worship.  I’ve spent time in Africa with fellow Lutheran Christians who spend four hours every Sunday worshiping God with their whole selves…even more expressively and louder than anything you will ever see here. During their service they also celebrate the Lord’s Supper, the reading of the Word, and Baptism.  I am absolutely certain God is smiling on His children and their pure hearts of joy in praising their risen Savior at LEAST as much as He is on any Divine Service or contemporary worship service here in the States.

I’m sorry for how long this is, I’m going to post once and then not debate this publicly any further.

Weedon

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #70 on: July 14, 2010, 09:07:53 AM »
Um, yes:  wholesome mixed with unwholesome.  But I've obviously provoked a visceral reaction from you about it too, and for that I am sorry.  We'll not solve our differences in perceptions over a forum like this, but I hope the day comes when we can sit down and discuss together, perhaps over a beer, and no doubt over many, many conversations.  The point of the Harrison election is for such a conversation to be allowed to begin.  I hope somewhere along the way it can happen between you and me.  Pax!

Pr. Luke Zimmerman

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #71 on: July 19, 2010, 10:04:50 PM »
The offering hymn was contemporary and based off of a text from Ephesians.  The Sanctus was done in Latin with the children's choir (if memory serves).

The Agnus Dei was, again, performed by the children's choir to a contemporary tune and was followed by "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" as the first distribution hymn.  

This was one of the places where the Divine Service fell short of the Western Ordo. The Latin singing of the Sanctus by the children's choir was wonderful. But the modern Agnus Dei was not.

Now before I get jumped on, my critique will not be of the modern setting/music. Rather, it will be with the text of the "Agnus Dei" song by Michael W. Smith. Though the title is the same as the Ordinary, the actual language is not. The actual Agnus Dei is a petition for compassion and pity: the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world has mercy. But Smith's song is not that. Instead, it is a modern paraphrasing of the songs of glory from Revelation. It has something in common with another Latin song with Agnus in the title: Dignus est agnus. Therefore, it should not have been used as a substitute for the Agnus Dei, but for the Hymn of Praise.

Now, this may sound snarky, but it appears that some of our contemporary worship brothers and sisters just find a common word and throw it in place of the Ordinary. We need something with Lamb of God in it, so let's use this song that talks about a lamb. This has been witnessed by me with people using Gerald Coleman's hymn "The Lamb" (LSB 547) or Twila Paris' "Lamb of God" (LSB 550) as substitutes for the Agnus Dei. Again, they have Lamb in the title, but they do not carry the same textual message as the actual text of the Ordinary: Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis. More care should have been taken with that.

In a similar vein, the Kyrie also was a bit disconcerting. Again, I'm not talking about the modern setting. In fact, I would say that the musical setting could/should be used by congregations who are looking for newer musical settings for the Ordinary. But the interspersing of the narrative passages turned the Kyrie from a cry for mercy with some penitential connotations into a full-on contritional statement. This changed its character. Placing the Kyrie between the Confession of Sins and the Absolution confirmed that change. Unfortunately, that is not how Lutherans, especially LCMS Lutherans have understood the Kyrie's role. It may be so in the Roman Church, the Anglican/Episcopal Church, perhaps even among some ELCA Lutheran liturgioligists, but not among us. Again, the critique is not of the musical setting, but of the failure to maintain consistency with the ordo and its original text.

So beyond the issues with sound levels---as pointed out very well by Justified & Sinner in our conversations at the convention---and some head scratching with the processional Christ, that's my concern with the opening worship. (Of course, I would have loved to have a celebrant who sang the Collect of the Day, the Gospel Acclamations, and the Communion Liturgy, like I do at my parish---but one can't be greedy!  ;) )  Hopefully, those who planned the opening worship and those who will plan other services at Synod and District events can take these critiques as "friendly amendments" and comments. I will say that the portable stained glass windows and the multiple altars were a wonderful addition to the convention hall and deserve full commendation.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2010, 12:52:33 PM by Pr. Luke Zimmerman »
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revjagow

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #72 on: July 20, 2010, 04:10:05 PM »
Quote from: Pr. Luke Zimmerman link=topic=2961.msg163433#msg163433 date=1279591490 (emphasis mine)

In a similar vein, the Kyrie also was a bit disconcerting. Again, I'm not talking about the modern setting. In fact, I would say that the musical setting could/should be used by congregations who are looking for newer musical settings for the Ordinary. But the interspersing of the narrative passages turned the Kyrie from a cry for mercy with some penitential connotations into a full-on contritional statement. This changed its character. Placing the Kyrie between the Confession of Sins and the Absolution confirmed that change. Unfortunately, that is not how Lutherans, especially LCMS Lutherans have understood the Kyrie's role. It may be so in the Roman Church, the Anglican/Episcopal Church, perhaps even among some ELCA Lutheran liturgioligists, but not among us. Again, the critique is not of the musical setting, but of the failure to maintain consistency with the ordo and its original text.

This paragraph and especially the statement about how LCMS Lutherans understand the Kyrie seems wrong on many levels.  First, why would LCMS Lutherans have an understanding or interpretation of the Kyrie that is unique to us and different from the rest of Christendom? Second, there numerous indications that a Kyrie like the one used at the convention is in line with the diverse use of the prayer in both Scripture and tradition.

1) In the Bible, a prayer "Lord, have mercy" or "God, have mercy" is employed by a blind man in Mark and a publican in Jesus' parable in Luke.  The former was a prayer for physical healing and that seems to be the spirit of the petitions that developed and were retained in the Eastern rite and reclaimed by the West after Vatican II.  The later clearly is a prayer of repentance and an acknowledgment of sinfulness.  In the liturgy, do we need to completely divorce the spiritual condition from the physical condition? Considering the instances in Scripture where forgiveness of sins and physical restoration are connected, I am comfortable with the lines being blurry here.

2) The earliest litanies that were part of the entrance rites have those aforementioned "penitential connotations" which help to blur the lines between God's protection of the body and the deliverance for our souls.  We pray "for our salvation..."; "the unity of all..." and the "peace of the whole world."  Reconciliation with God and with one another is implied, at least.  I wonder why it is so important to stay behind that line and not use the natural connection between a petition for mercy to asking for specific forgiveness?

3) Us LCMS Lutherans have a precedent for a setting of the Kyrie that crosses that line.  LSB #945 expands the Kyrie to a three Trinitarian verses - the first two of which are clearly penitential.  Those first two stanzas that state how we receive God's mercy flow well to a petition for the Holy Spirit to "make us grow and help us pray."  According to the notes attached to this hymn, it was written by Juraj Tranovsky sometime in the 17th century. 

4) That would make it a few centuries earlier than the revision of the Roman Mass that occurred after Vatican II.  In the Mass of Paul VI, two options for the penitential rite are a series of petitions that again cross the line to being explicitly about God forgiving our sins:

Priest: You were sent to heal the contrite: Lord, have mercy.
People: Lord, have mercy.

Priest: You came to call sinners: Christ, have mercy.
People: Christ, have mercy.

Priest: You plead for us at the right hand of the Father: Lord, have mercy.
People: Lord, have mercy.

Priest: May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.
People: Amen.


In short: my church has used the version of the Kyrie that was employed at the opening worship of the convention.  The use of a Kyrie with an expanded text and penitential petitions is all rite and within our rites.  You might even say, it has the rite stuff.   ...O.K., I'll stop while I'm behind  :P
Soli Deo Gloria!

grabau14

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #73 on: July 20, 2010, 05:18:37 PM »
Andy,

Pr. Zimmerman is correct about the Kyrie.  See Lutheran Worship: History and Practice, p. 409:    The Kyrie Elesion is the first prayer of the Service of the Word.  It is the prayer of the gathered congregation, "Kyrie Eleison" is "Lord, have mercy," a prayer encountered frequently in scripture, for example, the Cannanite women (Mt 15:22) and the ten Lepers (Luke 17:13).  The biblical and liturgical context do not support the thesis that this is a prayer of confession of sins.  It is instead a cry for mercy that our Lord and King hear us and help us in our necessities and troubles.

It cites Peter Brunner's Worship in the Name of Jesus in support of this (see p. 208).    Brunner calls the Kyrie an "Acclamation, which is also borne out of many consecutive repititons of this exclamation...."

Pr. Luke Zimmerman

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #74 on: July 20, 2010, 05:39:04 PM »
Quote from: Pr. Luke Zimmerman link=topic=2961.msg163433#msg163433 date=1279591490 (emphasis mine)

In a similar vein, the Kyrie also was a bit disconcerting. Again, I'm not talking about the modern setting. In fact, I would say that the musical setting could/should be used by congregations who are looking for newer musical settings for the Ordinary. But the interspersing of the narrative passages turned the Kyrie from a cry for mercy with some penitential connotations into a full-on contritional statement. This changed its character. Placing the Kyrie between the Confession of Sins and the Absolution confirmed that change. Unfortunately, that is not how Lutherans, especially LCMS Lutherans have understood the Kyrie's role. It may be so in the Roman Church, the Anglican/Episcopal Church, perhaps even among some ELCA Lutheran liturgioligists, but not among us. Again, the critique is not of the musical setting, but of the failure to maintain consistency with the ordo and its original text.

This paragraph and especially the statement about how LCMS Lutherans understand the Kyrie seems wrong on many levels.  First, why would LCMS Lutherans have an understanding or interpretation of the Kyrie that is unique to us and different from the rest of Christendom? Second, there numerous indications that a Kyrie like the one used at the convention is in line with the diverse use of the prayer in both Scripture and tradition.


Pr. Jagow:

I wouldn't contend that only LCMS Lutherans understand the Kyrie as not a confession of sins, but that the Church has/had done so. I think that it is significant that in Lutheran ordos, the Kyrie was not placed in between the Confession of Sins and Absolution, as it was done at the Convention's Opening Worship. Looking through the agendas used by the LCMS, even going back to the German ones, you find the Kyrie located prior to the Gloria in Excelsis/Hymn of Praise, not immediately before Absolution. That is also seen in the Common Service tradition.

An interesting quote from Precht's Lutheran Worship: History and Practice (p. 409, emphasis mine) reads:
The Kyrie Eleison is the first prayer of the Service of the Word. It is the prayer of the gathered congregation. "Kyrie, eleison" is "Lord, have mercy," a prayer encountered frequently in the Scriptures, for example, the Canaanite woman (Matt. 15:22) and the Ten Lepers (Luke 17:13). The biblical and liturgical contexts do not support the thesis that this is a prayer of confession of sins. It is instead a cry for mercy that our Lord and King hear us and help us in our necessities and troubles.

The Kyrie came into the Western Mass from the Eastern Church, where it provides the invariable response of the congregation to the petitions introduced by the deacon (assisting minister). The people express their "amen" by praying "Kyrie, eleison!" after each bid. In the Eastern Church, this form of prayer is called "Ektenia" (also "Ektene"--earnest, insistent litany). It is a prayer of humble and fervent supplication, often in combination with deprecations and intercessions, forming a litany in which appropriate needs and wants are brought before the Lord.



But lest one think this is only LCMS thought, here are some short citations from other sources:

Peter Brunner's Worship in the Name of Jesus (p. 208, emphasis mine):
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the throngs again and again burst out in the loud acclaim: "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed be He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" (Matt. 21:9).  Acts 19:28ff. portrays a pagan antitype; here we hear the mobs in Ephesus breaking out in the loud and continuing shout: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" Such cries we term "acclamations." In the heavenly church's worship these are frequently uttered by the heavenly beings, as the seer John testifies in his Book of Revelation; e.g. Rev. 4:8,11; 5:9, 12f. It is very significant that also the worship of the church on earth is punctuated with a plenitude of such acclamations. The doxological acclamation of the Gloria Patri is related to the psalmody. Short exclamations such as: Hallelujah! Glory be to Thee, O Lord! Praise be to Thee, O Christ! very clearly demonstrate the nature of an acclamation. Also the exclamation Kyrie eleison! originally falls into the category of acclamations, which is also borne out by the many consecutive repetitions of this exclamation. Sanctus and Benedictus likewise fulfill the function of an acclamation.


Luther D. Reed's Worship (pp. 81-82, emphasis mine):
The petition, "have mercy upon me," or "upon us," is found repeatedly in the Psalms--25:16; 26:11; 41:4; 51:1; 123:3--and in the Gospels according to Matthew (9:27; 15:22) and Luke (17:13; 18:38, 39). In every case, except Psalms 41 and 51, the petition is a cry for help in need--blindness, leprosy, sickness--and not a plea for forgiveness. The Kyrie, as we know it, did not enter the Christian Liturgy from these biblical sources, though the two words which comprise it were known to Greek scholars in the texts of the New Testament and the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament.

Modern research has disclosed the pre-Christian origin and use of the phrase. We now know that it was an acclamation and petition in common use throughout the Greek-speaking world, especially in Asia Minor, Egypt, and Constantinople. As an acclamation or shout of praise it had much the same meaning as the Hebrew Hosanna! It was also, at the same time, a plea for help or favor, not for forgiveness. It was found in different connections and forms, and apparently was used upon secular and religious occasions alike. Doelger, in his Sol Salutis, Gebet und Gesang im Christlichen Altertum (pp. 60-105), gives many examples of this and similar acclamations and petitions commonly found in secular and religious use in the early Christian centuries.


Luther D. Reed's The Lutheran Liturgy (pp. 255-257, emphasis mine):
The Kyrie is not another confession of sins, but a prayer for grace and help in time of need--"the ardent cry of the Church for assistance." Its significance may be gathered from its context in Scripture where these words fell from the lips of the blind men (Matt. 9:27), the lepers (Luke 17:13), the Canaanitish woman (Matt. 15:22), and others who sought relief from their infirmities and distress (cf. Mark 10:47; Luke 18:35-43). Even though our sins are forgiven and our souls are at peace, we are conscious of our weak mortality and of many infirmities (Romans 7:24). And so the Kyrie tersely and poignantly voices the collected petitions and longings of a hundred worshipers who, in the quiet confidence of daily dependence upon God or in the urgency and fervor of a special need, turn to Him for help and grace.

A somewhat more mystical point of view is expressed in the idea that the Kyrie represents our deepest spiritual longings and hopes, which can never be fully realized in this world. According to this "the Kyrie is the song of the Church in her exile. . . it is the old Maranatha (Come, O Lord) of the primitive Church" [Parsch]. . . .

The use of the Kyrie in the earliest Christian liturgies clearly shows that no special penitential character attached to it. The Liturgy of St. James (Jerusalem), St. Mark (Alexandria), St. Clement (Apostolic Constitutions) and St. Chrysostom (Constantinople) all use the Kyrie Eleison as a choral or a congregational response to intercessions of great breadth and objectivity. . . .

An expanded form of the Kyrie was inserted in the nature as a refrain after each commandment in the Decalogue, which was brought into the [Anglican] Prayer Book [1552] at this time: "Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law." This insertion, together with the loss of the Introit and Gradual, and the transfer of the Gloria in Excelsis to the end of the Service, not only represented a great change from the text of the historic Liturgy, but also gave a strong penitential nature to the first part of the Anglican Service. The Roman and the Lutheran liturgies introduce the elements of worship and praise early in their services, and sustain this mood. The Anglican Liturgy scarcely reaches these more joyous notes before the Preface to the Holy Communion.



From these Lutheran sources, even beyond the LCMS and at the time just before Vatican II, there is at least a consistent strain of thought that the Kyrie is not a statement that confesses sins; the Kyrie's nature is not contritional. To use it as a refrain to admissions of sins, as was done in the Convention Opening Worship, seems to grant the Kyrie a different nature than Lutheran liturgioligists have historically taught. The character of the Kyrie as seen from Reed, Brunner, and Precht is what we were taught at seminary (Class of 2003). That seems to be the standard Lutheran and LCMS tradition.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2010, 05:42:08 PM by Pr. Luke Zimmerman »
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