Author Topic: Advent Decreasing that Christmas may Increase  (Read 3822 times)

Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: Advent Decreasing that Christmas may Increase
« Reply #45 on: December 20, 2015, 09:16:27 PM »
Will, I hear you when you say using the one year will help by repetition the biblical illiteracy but after you use it for three years in a row, should not the "illeratati" among the congregants have got it and be ready for a larger dose and it is not as if they are not hearing about Easter during Eastertide etc. in the three year readings... only in post Pentecost or Trinity seasons are there completely different themes.  I have been using three-year cycle since they came out and even in the experimental times before they were "booked"... and my parish and I knew them like any of us knew the one year series. 

I sort of feel the same when I run into a pastor or parish that insists on using Thee/Thou and vouchsafes in prayers and liturgy (I am also not wild about them in hymnody but that is another issue).  After the fight/work, whatever it took to move us away from Old English in preaching and prayer to go back to it... there were reasons for leaving it behind as a historic artifact.  Sure there is sloppy English and prayers and liturgy that are too folksy or flippant but after almost thirty years of yea verily... it was time to move on to the way folks really talk and think and pray and learn and listen.
Harvey S. Mozolak
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exegete77

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Re: Advent Decreasing that Christmas may Increase
« Reply #46 on: December 20, 2015, 09:45:51 PM »
Some folks from Luther Seminary have created a four-year "Narrative Lectionary".


https://www.workingpreacher.org/narrative_faqs.aspx

I visited the website and watched the video.  It was an interesting perspective.  Perhaps I am not understanding it properly, but it sounded rather confusing to me.  Is he advocating dropping the Gospel reading entirely? Surely I must be misunderstanding him if that is the case. I can see the importance of Old Testament readings.  He makes a good case for those.  But I cannot endorse dropping the Gospel readings or shortening them.  Perhaps I am misunderstanding him?
We switched to the Narrative Lectionary series 3Ĺ years ago. It has worked well for us. At the time we only had one lesson for each Sunday. I set about adding to that so that every week we had Old Testament, Psalm, Epistle, and Gospel. Then another pastor worked with me to write the Prayers of the Day for all Sundays that matched with those readings. We have now completed all but the last quarter of the 4th year. It was a lot of work, but the dividend was worth it.

I was invited to write a summary of this for the Concordia Pulpit Resources that was just published this fall.
Rich Shields (TAALC)

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Weedon

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Re: Advent Decreasing that Christmas may Increase
« Reply #47 on: December 20, 2015, 09:48:58 PM »
Harvey, it was AN advantage to the historic series, and one that would be key, but it's not the only one. Think of what it means that the music of the Lutheran Church (and indeed of the Western Church) was literally composed around the One Year lessons! The musical crisis in so many of our churches (and certainly in Rome) is due in large part to a shift in lectionary, I believe, and our music is only now just beginning to catch up (think of the fine Starke and Stumpfle texts in LSB). This is so especially when we remember that the hymnody participates in proclaiming the readings of the day! But if you want to know why on earth you sing Hosanna and speak of palms and such in Advent hymns, you really need to HAVE the triumphal entry as your Gospel for Advent I, don't you? I'm glad that is now at least an option in all the three year lectionary in LSB. And does the yearly reading of the Ten Virgins on the Last Sunday simply explain the joyful "Wake, Awake?" Yes, it can be sung with that text when it occurs in the three year series, but once every three years for the King of the Chorales? I think not. Then there are things such as the rose of Gaudete which makes little sense if you're not hearing the "Rejoice in the Lord and again I will say rejoice" Introit and having readings that celebrate that even in the times of darkest perplexity about the Lord's dealings, He still is the one who raises the dead and preaches good news to poor sinners. Similarly with Laetare, refreshment Sunday, in the midst of Lent. So many other examples. And you can't wear out the texts. The word of God is an unfathomable treasure. You preach it, you unpack it, and when you come to that Sunday again, the text opens up in a way you hadn't heard it before and from the familiar to you lead to new and deeper truths (Loehe, Three Books).
« Last Edit: December 20, 2015, 09:55:37 PM by Weedon »

Boris

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Re: Advent Decreasing that Christmas may Increase
« Reply #48 on: December 21, 2015, 12:50:47 AM »
Harvey, it was AN advantage to the historic series, and one that would be key, but it's not the only one. Think of what it means that the music of the Lutheran Church (and indeed of the Western Church) was literally composed around the One Year lessons! The musical crisis in so many of our churches (and certainly in Rome) is due in large part to a shift in lectionary, I believe, and our music is only now just beginning to catch up (think of the fine Starke and Stumpfle texts in LSB). This is so especially when we remember that the hymnody participates in proclaiming the readings of the day! But if you want to know why on earth you sing Hosanna and speak of palms and such in Advent hymns, you really need to HAVE the triumphal entry as your Gospel for Advent I, don't you? I'm glad that is now at least an option in all the three year lectionary in LSB. And does the yearly reading of the Ten Virgins on the Last Sunday simply explain the joyful "Wake, Awake?" Yes, it can be sung with that text when it occurs in the three year series, but once every three years for the King of the Chorales? I think not. Then there are things such as the rose of Gaudete which makes little sense if you're not hearing the "Rejoice in the Lord and again I will say rejoice" Introit and having readings that celebrate that even in the times of darkest perplexity about the Lord's dealings, He still is the one who raises the dead and preaches good news to poor sinners. Similarly with Laetare, refreshment Sunday, in the midst of Lent. So many other examples. And you can't wear out the texts. The word of God is an unfathomable treasure. You preach it, you unpack it, and when you come to that Sunday again, the text opens up in a way you hadn't heard it before and from the familiar to you lead to new and deeper truths (Loehe, Three Books).

Pastor Weedon:  You make an excellent case for the One Year Lectionary. Do you have any statistics on what percentage of LCMS parishes still use the One Year Lectionary and what percentage use the Three Year Lectionary?  That would be interesting to see.

While I am not out to bash the Three Year Lectionary, I do think it is refreshing to see that some Lutherans are now starting to see the value of their old One Year Lectionary.  Just as an aside, I have always wondered why Lutherans so uncritically adopted the Three Year Lectionary that Rome produced at the Second Vatican Council. I never understood what was so wrong with the old One Year Lectionary that it had to be jettisoned entirely. I mean, if you want to add an Old Testament Lesson, add it.  If you want to add a Psalm, add it.  You don't have to scrap the One Year Lectionary to make those changes.  And part of me still likes the simplicity of having just two readings, an Epistle and a Gospel.  That's all we have in the Byzantine Lectionary and, as you know, it is a one year lectionary as well.

However, I try not to get dogmatic about these things. No lectionary system is perfect.   All omit SOMETHING that we like or think ought to be in there. And a lectionary is simply a means to an end, not an end in itself.

Jeremy Loesch

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Re: Advent Decreasing that Christmas may Increase
« Reply #49 on: December 21, 2015, 07:05:14 AM »
Preaching from the lectionary? I thought we were just supposed to buy whatever snazzy sermon series the evangelical publishing houses are selling? Reading from the lectionary is one thing but I'm supposed to preach from it too? Have you all been hitting the egg nog already? Crazy. ;-)

Jeremy
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Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: Advent Decreasing that Christmas may Increase
« Reply #50 on: December 21, 2015, 08:10:54 AM »
Will, I again see why and where you come down and more power to good useage of the one year.  One other consideration, which is not a balance to the hymn issue you present but... is that there are many sermonic resources, text studies and so forth now based not on the one year but the three year and when you use the three year you are in sync with lots of other Christians.... albeit sometimes a week off... 

I guess, beside having used it for many, many years, my pivot point is that it does give folks more scripture and yet it is restricted to only three cycles and they are grouped around gospels read in turn with John as an additional ingredient. 

Sometime I would really like to argue out the use of the Palmarum Gospel in Advent.  I know its use from childhood days and I do like the hymns that reference it but I think it unnecessary in Advent.  I tried to use it somehow at least by reference in sermons in the early years of the three year lectionary but have ignored it mostly in recent times.  It is the entrance to Holy Week and has its center of gravity there and you have to reach a bit to make it helpful or necessary to the beginning of Advent... it is an anachronism at best.  And those out of joint things can help, like Holy Cross in Sept, which some do not favor so much, maybe you among them?   And at other times they are just strange and needing too much explanation or even too comic like (and you would agree for sure about...) Christmas in July.  Anyway, blessings as you and we-all (southernized idiom) end the Advent season no matter how we began it.  Amid a plethora of plenty (for those of us who own computers and iPhones) into the presence of the larger IAM in the strewn straw. 
Harvey S. Mozolak
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Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Advent Decreasing that Christmas may Increase
« Reply #51 on: December 21, 2015, 08:14:20 AM »
The Triumphal Entry is an alternate or even an additional reading in the LSB 3-year series for Advent 1. We always use it.
Don Kirchner

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Weedon

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Re: Advent Decreasing that Christmas may Increase
« Reply #52 on: December 21, 2015, 08:59:33 AM »
Pr. K, glad to hear it.

Harvey, have you thought though of the riches that attend the use of the sermon resources for the one year? Luther's postilla, Gerhard's, Chemnitz', Walther's, Loehe's, and that's not even looking over at the Anglican divines or the great preachers of the Middle Ages! There are vastly more sermon resources for the historic series AND MOST ARE FREE.

Brother Boris, I have thought often about the length added to the service with the OT and Psalm (though our parish uses the old Gradual between first and second readings, with alleluia and verse between second and Holy Gospel). Still, I think the benefits outweigh the problem, particularly where the tie in to the Gospel is so clear. This past Sunday was Rorate Coeli and our OT reading was Deuteronomy 18, the prophesy about the prophet to come. Then the Gospel was John 1: "Are you the prophet? And he answered, no." Because we'd just read it, Pastor made the connection in a single sentence in the Homily. I would think it would take a bit more explanation should we have NOT just heard those words. As to how many parishes now use the One Year, I know there's been a slow but steady uptick. There's even a FB page dedicated to the One-ders: One Year Lectionarians. It currently has 400 members and of course, not everyone does FB or uses it for such things.

I want to make clear that I think the three year has real value and has been in many ways a blessing. I just think it's strengths don't outweigh the strenth's of the one year. Dr. Lee Maxwell had a fine, fine article on this in *Through the Church the Song Goes On,* I'd commend it to anyone interested in a bit more of the historical perspective.

Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: Advent Decreasing that Christmas may Increase
« Reply #53 on: December 21, 2015, 09:35:40 AM »
this is a hmmm:   "I have thought often about the length added to the service with the OT and Psalm (though our parish uses the old Gradual between first and second readings, with alleluia and verse between second and Holy Gospel)."

while I like you don't want to think about the massive nature of the Mass with its new additions... some think of it and cut out Ordinaries.

Of course, the whole rise of the Holy and Most Solemn Announcements of the Day, Season, Women's Group, Temple Talk by Gideons and Youth Group Thing... really should be crushed and anathematized for a generation.  Print it all out and then tell em again.  And when I caught myself enjoying the moment like I was an Ed McMann to Johnny Carson.... it was humiliating but not enough to always stop me.  I have now sat through, pre-worship (another terrible new thing to me at least) announcements that go on for 15 even 20 minutes when 10 is too too much.  And now let me announce that the Triune and most Blessed is Coming after several more timely and eternal announcements.
Harvey S. Mozolak
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Richard Johnson

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Re: Advent Decreasing that Christmas may Increase
« Reply #54 on: December 21, 2015, 10:12:17 AM »

Brother Boris, I have thought often about the length added to the service with the OT and Psalm

Any time I hear this, it gives me the heebie-jeebies. The liturgy takes as long as it takes. This "length" concern has led my former parish now at various services to eliminate one lesson, psalm, creed, confession. (They've also moved the Christmas Eve midnight Eucharist to 9 p.m., but that's another story.) I'm so blessed to be worshiping in a congregation that doesn't give a rip what time church is over. It goes 70 minutes usually, sometimes almost 90. Nobody gets up and leaves.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Weedon

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Re: Advent Decreasing that Christmas may Increase
« Reply #55 on: December 21, 2015, 10:16:46 AM »
Harvey,

AMEN! At our parish, announcements are rare. We usually have silent prayer before the ringing of the bell and during the prelude. At the end, again time for silent prayer (with the chime on the organ usually reminding us of a motif from the last hymn) and then we head out to the joyous postlude. Announcements are IN the bulletin and can be read.

Richard,

Absolutely. But remember that for century upon century, the Service of the Word went rather quickly from collect to epistle to gradual and alleluia to Gospel. The incessant shortening so of the actual liturgy are enough to drive one batty; but the question here is the historic weight of the swifter move in the traditional Western Mass. As Brother Boris has pointed out, also in the Eastern.

Our Vigil liturgy last Easter was amazing. NOTHING was cut. We had all the readings, began outside with the new fire, the Eucharist, it was simply amazing. Took a long time and isn't that exactly what a VIGIL should do in the nighttime?

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Advent Decreasing that Christmas may Increase
« Reply #56 on: December 21, 2015, 10:26:32 AM »
Harvey,
Our Vigil liturgy last Easter was amazing. NOTHING was cut. We had all the readings, began outside with the new fire, the Eucharist, it was simply amazing. Took a long time and isn't that exactly what a VIGIL should do in the nighttime?

Ditto. For some in our congregation it has become their favorite service.
Don Kirchner

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Boris

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Re: Advent Decreasing that Christmas may Increase
« Reply #57 on: December 21, 2015, 10:41:37 AM »
this is a hmmm:   "I have thought often about the length added to the service with the OT and Psalm (though our parish uses the old Gradual between first and second readings, with alleluia and verse between second and Holy Gospel)."

while I like you don't want to think about the massive nature of the Mass with its new additions... some think of it and cut out Ordinaries.

Of course, the whole rise of the Holy and Most Solemn Announcements of the Day, Season, Women's Group, Temple Talk by Gideons and Youth Group Thing... really should be crushed and anathematized for a generation. Print it all out and then tell em again.  And when I caught myself enjoying the moment like I was an Ed McMann to Johnny Carson.... it was humiliating but not enough to always stop me.  I have now sat through, pre-worship (another terrible new thing to me at least) announcements that go on for 15 even 20 minutes when 10 is too too much.  And now let me announce that the Triune and most Blessed is Coming after several more timely and eternal announcements.

Amen, Pastor Harvey! 

Whenever I encounter a thoughtful pastor like you, who doesn't waste his people's time with announcements that go on ad infinitum and ad nauseum, I say a silent prayer of thanksgiving.  May your tribe increase!

Randy Bosch

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Re: Advent Decreasing that Christmas may Increase
« Reply #58 on: December 21, 2015, 10:48:35 AM »
this is a hmmm:   "I have thought often about the length added to the service with the OT and Psalm (though our parish uses the old Gradual between first and second readings, with alleluia and verse between second and Holy Gospel)."

while I like you don't want to think about the massive nature of the Mass with its new additions... some think of it and cut out Ordinaries.

Of course, the whole rise of the Holy and Most Solemn Announcements of the Day, Season, Women's Group, Temple Talk by Gideons and Youth Group Thing... really should be crushed and anathematized for a generation. Print it all out and then tell em again.  And when I caught myself enjoying the moment like I was an Ed McMann to Johnny Carson.... it was humiliating but not enough to always stop me.  I have now sat through, pre-worship (another terrible new thing to me at least) announcements that go on for 15 even 20 minutes when 10 is too too much.  And now let me announce that the Triune and most Blessed is Coming after several more timely and eternal announcements.

Amen, Pastor Harvey! 

Whenever I encounter a thoughtful pastor like you, who doesn't waste his people's time with announcements that go on ad infinitum and ad nauseum, I say a silent prayer of thanksgiving.  May your tribe increase!

The good tradition - No announcements prior to the start of Worship other than any that might assist in comprehending the orders of the day.  Whatever prayerful preparation may have occurred prior to traveling to church, and pre-service contemplation and prayer are brusquely hosed off by news of the day and calendar heads-up ads.  What a loss.  Far better to keep all such announcements after the end of the service - and then only those that relate to sending forth into fellowship and out into the world - and then, verbally, only those few that are immediate and seminal with the rest in the printed bulletin perhaps available at the door to discourage the temptation of reading them and checking the links during that fine sermon or choir rendition...

Boris

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Re: Advent Decreasing that Christmas may Increase
« Reply #59 on: December 21, 2015, 11:13:29 AM »

Brother Boris, I have thought often about the length added to the service with the OT and Psalm

Any time I hear this, it gives me the heebie-jeebies. The liturgy takes as long as it takes. This "length" concern has led my former parish now at various services to eliminate one lesson, psalm, creed, confession. (They've also moved the Christmas Eve midnight Eucharist to 9 p.m., but that's another story.) I'm so blessed to be worshiping in a congregation that doesn't give a rip what time church is over. It goes 70 minutes usually, sometimes almost 90. Nobody gets up and leaves.

I am in agreement with you, Pastor Johnson.  It is amazing the different personalities different congregations can have, isn't it?  I have attended some parishes (as I am sure most of us have) where if the service lasted longer than 59 and a half minutues, eyebrows were raised and complaints started to follow.  Yet I have been in others where the "it takes as long as it takes" mentality prevailed and nobody worried or complained about how "long" things took. 

One thing I did experience that I liked was in an stately, old turn-of-the-century ELCA church.  Architecturally, it was a miniature cathedral, built out of gray stone, with bright red doors, Tiffany stained glass windows, a pipe organ, a brass eagle lectern, wine-glass pulpit (complete with a stairs leading up to it) and a gorgeous and ornate altar and chancel made of dark walnut with intricate carvings. It was also one of those parishes that, for some reason, was very conscious of time and wanted everything to be over with in exactly one hour. It was a large parish and could easily commune 500 people on any given Sunday. Yet the service almost never went over an hour. And what is more, they never cut anything out of the liturgy either.  Nothing was abbreviated or dropped. This is how they did it:

1. The organ prelude started well before the service began, about 15 to 20 minutes before.
2.  As soon as the prelude ended, the pastor stood up, silently gestured to the congregation to stand, and began the Brief Order for Confession and Forgiveness in LBW.  No greetings, no "good morning", no "this is our theme of the day" or "would you all please sign the guest register?".  None of that. Just silently stand and hear the pastor say "In the name of the Father and of the Son ... "
3. Then the had they Entrance Hymn (which was never more than 5 stanzas).
4. They never had children's sermons.
5. They followed the LBW liturgy to the letter, neither adding anything to it or subtracting anything from it.
6. The pastor preached a 10 minute sermon.
7. Communion was administered kneeling an the altar rail, but it was continuous, without those individual table blessings that slow things down.
8. There was no Recessional Hymn at the end of the service nor an organ postlude.  The service literally ended with "Go in peace. Serve the Lord.  Thanks be to God.
9.  There never were any spoken announcements. They printed them in the bulletin, handed it to you and assumed you could read.

For those parishes that are so uptight about time, I thought that parish was a good model.