Author Topic: Opening Worship  (Read 1586 times)

prsauer

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Opening Worship
« on: July 10, 2016, 10:59:24 AM »
After having a night to reflect on the opening worship service, a few thoughts on things that stand out.

First, it is remarkable how "catholic" the form of worship has become over the last few years. President for the service wore a chasuble, there was a Eucharistic prayer, and what was unquestionably a Eucharistic liturgical dignity. We have come a long way since the 1969 Worship Supplement and the reaction to it.

There was among some, however, a dissonance to the catholicity of form in the content of the service, particularly in the content President Harrison's sermon. Perhaps it was a slip of the tongue on his part, but his statement that it was Luther's confession at Worms that "led to the birth of our church" seemed to highlight the sectarian tone of the message and some of the other content of the service. As a Piepkornian, I have always genuinely believed that Luther and the other reformers led a call to continuity within the catholicity of the church, not a declaration of the restoration of a church that disappeared or the creation of a new church (as one person at my table commented sarcastically - "are we really just Mormans with more history").

The comment itself is understandable as the goal (it is our convention, after all), both of Harrison and the service itself, seemed to highlight the LCMS and Lutheranism (for example) Prayers were offered not for the church, but for synod).

The central message seemed to be one of the church at war with the culture. The marginal note on the creed highlighted this "For more than 1600 years the Nicene Creed has been confessed by the church. Its clear and bold statements concerning the Triune God are still relevant in our day as the Church struggles against those who reject the truth concerning our God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." (italics added). Such a statement seems to highlight a view of the creed, not as a unifying document, but as a tool to be used against a world that is antagonistic to the church.

Indeed President Harrison's sermon highlighted in very specific terms ways in which the church was under "persecution" from the world. Strangely (again it seemed somewhat sectarian to me) it focused on US court decisions and legislation and not the persecutions of Christians around the world that have led to death. (Full disclosure - my views are no doubt colored by my ongoing relationship with a Coptic church that worships at my parish building in the Bronx).

The tone has been set. The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod is under attack in the United States. It seems much of this convention will be about setting the terms for how we will engage that attack. (And as I type this President Harrison begins his speech with a listing of persecutions the church has faced throughout history and today).

I, for one, would rather take the Coptic approach - focus on our faith and Christ. We seem to spend more time naming our enemies than we do drawing nearer to Christ. Our problem is faithlessness among Christians not a hostile government. The solution is holiness.

More to come in the president's speech.

Weedon

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2016, 11:19:09 AM »
Prayers were offered not for the Church but for the Synod

FWIW, from the prayer of the church offered last evening:

Save and defend Your whole Church, purchased with the precious blood of Christ.  Strengthen the baptized faithful in the face of persecution and martyrdom, that all who confess the name of Jesus might be preserved in the true faith; Lord, in Your mercy.

Bless the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the Holy Sacraments of Christ throughout the world.  Fill our hearts with a love for the truth and a passion for seeking the lost that we might be faithful in calling sinners to repentance and faith in Your Son; Lord, in Your mercy.

Also, President Harrison was not the celebrant, but the preacher; Pastor Bender was vested in chasuble; President Harrison just in stole. :)
« Last Edit: July 10, 2016, 11:23:46 AM by Weedon »

prsauer

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2016, 11:22:50 AM »
Apologies for that oversight. what stuck out in my mind was the one petition where Synod was repeated... repeatedly.

FWIW - you and the gifts that you have brought to the revitalization of worship at the synod level are nothing short of remarkable. Despite these quibbles that I heard from others (and which I tried to articulate).

Weedon

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2016, 11:24:40 AM »
You are too kind. It's just that Synod needs the prayers... :)

Here's the prayer you were referencing. I believe it actually is from the Pastor's Daily Prayer as listed in the Pastoral Care Companion:

Merciful Father, keep and preserve our whole Synod, her teachers and officers, true to Your Word.  Cause the work of our Synod to grow and flourish.  Guard and protect all members of our Synod against the danger of sinful ambitions, the love of dissension, and the spirit of indifference in doctrine and practice.  Preserve us from all heresy and false belief.  Bless and defend the seminaries, colleges, and universities of our Synod.  Give us faithful pastors and teachers of Your Word.  Accompany all missionaries on their perilous ways, and help them to perform their work faithfully.  Gather the elect from every nation into Your holy Christian Church, and bring them at last to Your Church triumphant; Lord, in Your mercy.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2016, 11:30:58 AM by Weedon »

prsauer

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2016, 11:40:39 AM »
Thanks.

I am assuming it was you that picked the 1 Peter text?

Weedon

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2016, 12:07:11 PM »
The theme was set: Upon this rock. This suggested using the propers for the Confession of St. Peter. That was Pr. Bender's suggestion and a very good one. Then a committee of three of us worked on the daily worship; I did propose the lectionary we developed around the three senses of "confess."

Rev. Brian P. Westgate

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2016, 04:59:01 PM »
I thought it was an LCMS Mass for St. Peter's Chair. Just wish we coulda had white instead of green (I'll just tell myself we went Sarumish for a couple hours . . .)

Weedon

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Re: Opening Worship
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2016, 07:47:47 PM »
If anyone missed the livestream of the service and would like to watch, you can catch it here:

http://weedon.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-convention-divine-service.html

There's about a half hour of preservice music. The Liturgy begins at about 31 minutes or so.