Thursday, April 5, 2007

Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday

The question was asked about incorporating the Lord's Supper in the Good Friday Liturgy. Both LW and LSB provide rubrics for this which are not far off from the Traditional rite. Mainly, the consecration (verba) is included.

Using bread and wine consecrated the day before is problematic for Lutherans. At Prince of Peace, we alway consume every that is consecrated at the service at which it is consecrated. There are never any "reliquae", at all.

What we do is a little unique. Liturgical purists may stop reading now. The only Good Friday service the people here knew was the Tenebrae, and they were fond of it. So we have a "Tenebrae" appendage at the end of our main service in which we utilize the reproaches (which we moved from the main service). It is not in lock step with "Sacred Tradition", but I'm okay with that. Frankly, it is not further away from the tradition rites that LW or LSB (which I am not criticizing) (or endorsing).

Comments are in red

The Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday

The Congregation gathers in Silence

The Collect (From LW)
Let us pray. Almighty and merciful God, we implore You graciously to be hold this Your family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed and given up into the hands of wicked men and to suffer death upon the cross; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

The First Reading: Hosea 6:1-6 (traditional)

The Response (Traditional antiphon)
O Lord, I have heard Your speech, and was afraid:
O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years.
In the midst of the years make it known;
In wrath remember mercy.
God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran;
His glory covered the heavens.
The earth was full of His praise
And His brightness was as the light.
He had horns coming out of His hand:
And there was the hiding of His power. (Habbakkuk 3:2-4)

Let us pray. O God, from whom Judas received the punishment for his guilt, and the thief the reward of his confession: grant unto us the full fruit of Your mercy; that having taken away our sins by the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, He may also bestow on us the grace of His resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (traditional)

The Second Reading: Exodus 12:1-11 (traditional)

The Response (Traditional antiphon--reduced a little)
Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men
Preserve me from violent men,
They plan evil things in their hearts;
They continually gather together for war.
They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; the poison of asps is under their lips.
Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked. (From Psalm 140)

The Hymn: “Jesus I will Ponder Now” …………...Lutheran Worship #91

(all hymns are foreign to the traditional rite except the pange lingua)

The Reading of the Holy Passion: St. John 18:1-19:42 (traditional)

The Hymn: “O Dearest Jesus, What Law have You Broken” ….Lutheran Worship #119

The Sermon (added)

The Hymn of the Day: “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” …….Lutheran Worship #113

The Offering

The Bidding Prayer (traditional)
(I print this in the bulletin, but have deleted it here for the sake of space, It's the LW one)

The Procession of the Holy Cross (traditional)
Behold, the life-giving cross on which was hung the Savior of the world.
O Come, let us worship Him.

Behold, the life-giving cross on which was hung the Savior of the world.
O Come, let us worship Him.

Behold, the life-giving cross on which was hung the Savior of the world.
O Come, let us worship Him.

(Reproaches traditionally would be here. We moved them)

The Hymn: “Sing, my Tongue, the Glorious Battle” …………...Lutheran Worship #117

(traditionally, the adoration of Christ appears here. We do it after the consecration)

The Lord’s Prayer (traditional)

The Words of Consecration (not part of the traditional rite, but necessary)

The Adoration of Christ (transplanted as noted above)
We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You
Because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.
By a tree we were made slaves, and by the Holy Cross we are set free.
The fruit of the tree seduced us. The Son of God has redeemed us.
Savior of the world, save us.
Help us, O God, for You have redeemed us by Your cross and blood.

The Distribution of Christ’s Body and Blood

The Post-Communion Collects (traditional)
Let us pray. We beseech You, O Lord, that Your plentiful blessing may descend upon Your faithful people, that having devoutly remembered the Passion and death of Your Son, and having received Your gentle consolation, we may remain steadfast in true faith and increase in true holiness; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Almighty and merciful God, Who has restored us by the passion and death of You Christ, preserve with in us the works of Your mercy, that through this Holy Sacrament we may ever remain faithful; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Remember Your mercies, O Lord, and sanctify us with Your eternal protection, for we are Your servants for whom Christ Your Son has established this sacred testament in His Blood, through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

The Hymn: "How Great Thou Art" LW #519
(just kidding)

Note: The Service of Darkness will begin shortly after the Hymn, if you must leave,
please exit the church quietly after the Hymn.

The Service of Darkness (Tenebrae) (all innovation, some of which from LW)

The Sentences and Collects
He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniqities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.
And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

Merciful God, Heavenly Father, we give You most hearty thanks that you have removed from us the grievous burden of our sins and placed it upon Your dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We humbly implore You, govern us by Your Holy Spirit, that we may be comforted in the face of all temptations by His suffering and death, be guarded against sin and an evil conscience, and finally obtain eternal salvation, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6

O Righteous and Holy God, Who manifested to us Your limitless love by not sparing Your own Son, but delivered Him up for us all; by the memory of His bitter death and by the sacred mystery of His sorrows in the garden and upon the cross, we humbly implore You to have mercy upon us and upon all mankind, and to make known Your salvation among the nations, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

The Hymn: “Lamb of God, Pure and Sinless” …………………...Lutheran Worship #208

The Reproaches (We sing the reproaches as they are below ala LW, and the hagios to music from Luther's hymn "In the midst of earthly life)

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O my people?
And how have I offended you? Answer me!
For I have raised you up from the prison house of Egypt
And you have lifted and bound your Savior to the cross.
Behold, I brought you into a land flowing with milk and honey
And you have given Me gall and vinegar to drink. O My people!

Holy and Righteous God.
Holy and Righteous God.
Holy and Almighty One.
Holy and Almighty One.
Holy and Immortal One.
Holy and Immortal One.
Have mercy, O Lord.
Have mercy, O Lord. A Candle is Extinguished

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O my people?
And how have I offended you? Answer me!
What more could I have done for my vineyard
Than I have done for it?
Behold, I have planted you as My fairest vine
And you have left Me to wither on the tree. O My people!

Holy and Righteous God. (etc. as above)

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O my people?
And how have I offended you? Answer me!
For I have scourged Egypt and its firstborn for your sake,
And you have given Me over to be scourged.
Behold, I did open the Red Sea before you,
And you opened My side with a spear. O My people!

Holy and Righteous God. (etc. as above)

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O my people?
And how have I offended you? Answer me!
For I have delivered you by drowning Pharoah in the Red Sea,
And you have delivered me over to the Chief Priests.
Behold, I led you with pillars of cloud and fire,
And you led me to the judgment hall of Pontius Pilate. O My people!

Holy and Righteous God. (etc. as above)

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O my people?
And how have I offended you? Answer me!
For I did give you manna to eat in the wilderness
And you have fed me with blows and beatings
Behold, I gave you water of salvation to drink from the Rock,
And you have spit upon Me with your mouths. O My people!

Holy and Righteous God. (etc. as above)

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O my people?
And how have I offended you? Answer me!
For I did smite the kings of the Canaanites for your sake,
And you have given my head a crown of thorns.
Behold, I gave you a royal scepter,
And you have smitten my head with a reed. O My people!

Holy and Righteous God. (etc. as above)

Pastor: Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O my people?
And how have I offended you? Answer me!
For I have clothed you in the wilderness for forty years
And you have striped Me and have cast lots for my garments.
Behold, I exalted with great strength and virtue,
And you suspended me on the scaffold of the cross. O My people!

Holy and Righteous God. (etc. as above)

The Lord’s Prayer

The Strepitus

The Collect

Pastor: Almighty and everlasting God, who willed that Your Son should bear for us the pains of the cross and so remove from us the power of the adversary, help us so to remember and give thanks for our Lord’s Passion that we may receive remission of sin and redemption from everlasting death; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Deus misereatur nostri

The propers for Holy Thursday (Missa Nos Autem) feature Psalm 67 as the introit psalm. This is not exactly the most obvious choice at first glance. But at deeper reflection, there are some very interesting aspects to this.

1 God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us, Selah
____2 That Your way may be known on earth,
______Your salvation among all nations.
_________3 Let the peoples praise You, O God;
___________Let all the peoples praise You.
________________4 Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
_____________________For You shall judge the people righteously,
_________________And govern the nations on earth. Selah
__________5 Let the peoples praise You, O God;
____________Let all the peoples praise You.
______6 Then the earth shall yield her increase;
God, our own God, shall bless us.
7 God shall bless us,
And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

The first verse of the Psalm is strikingly reminiscent of the Aaronic Benediction. But it is from the receptive point of view, which is interesting. The Aaronic Benediction is priestly in character and has interesting ties to the sacrificial cult. At the same time, it was given during the 40 years in the wilderness which ties it to the exodus and passover.

The Psalm itself forms a chiasm as I tried to show in the formatting (Eat your heart out Rev. Dr. Just). Verses 3 and 5 are identical and bracket verse 4 which speaks of Divine vindication and justification.

There are several references to the land (which NKJV renders "earth"). This Psalm really strikes me as a psalm of pilgrimage. That pilgrimage is ultimately fulfilled in the Body of Christ. ("Land" is simply the place were a people dwell, as Christians we dwell in Christ.

In the Chiasm, verse 2 is parallel to 6a "Then the earth (eretz) shall yield her increase;" (I don't know if I agree with the future tense of this translation--I'll have to give this some thought). But now consider verse 6a with Ezekiel 34:

23 I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken. 25 “I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27 Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them.

Interesting, eh? If the Land is Jesus, the harvest yielded is His Body and Blood.

Of course, the idiot (let the reader understand) who lengthened the introits for LSB left this verse out and it's the best one. Argh! Why am I so stupid!

Well, tonight my friends, we enter into our promised Land, the pilgrimage is over. This is why our Lord washes the disciples' feet. You don't wash your feet in the midst of a pilgrimage, but only after you have arrived.

I wish I had more time to explore all this. There is a lot here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Sacrament on Good Friday

Pastor E. asked the following, and I think it deserves a new topic:

Although not technically the focus of your article, I did pick up on the mention of the celebration of the Sacrament of the Altar on Good Friday. Until I arrived at my present parish I had never celebrated the Supper on this day. The previous comment, however, notes that "The liturgy of Good Friday therefore celebrates no mass..." Although rubrics and liturgy are included in LW for the celebration of the mass on Good Friday, is this a novel idea of recent origin? What, to your recollection, is the historic Lutheran practice here?

Let me start by saying that usually the study of "historic" practices is usually pretty nubilous. Practices change over time. Different things took place in different areas, and so on. My recollection is that German Lutheran congregations generally included the Lord's Supper on Good Friday at least until the age of pietism. If you wish to look at the Traditional Tridentine Rite, you may do so at Both versions for Good Friday include communion with "presantified" species.

And, as Pr. E., adeptly pointed out, the propers in LW are mass propers as are the ones in TLH, and LSB. The LW agenda, however, says that the "older and more primitive custom is that Holy Communion not be celebrated on Good Friday." (But I don't find this very credible--"Older and more primitive" than what? 1980?)

If our goal is to find and imitate what is the oldest and most primitive, we would be left with practically no liturgy at all. Everything that we do was preceeded by something else. It's like saying we shouldn't celebrate Christmas because Epiphany came first.

I bet that both sides could find some history upon which to base their claims. But does it matter which is the most ancient practice? Jesus tells us "Do this in remembrance of me." St. Paul tells us that we proclaim the Lord's death in the Sacrament. What better day to proclaim the Lord's death than Good Friday?


I started this blog to be a place for comments, analysis, and discussion on the traditional western propers, calendar, ceremonies, etc. I am not interested in blogging on additional topics, but don't hold me to that.

You are welcome to share your thoughts, but here are a few things to keep in mind.

1) I am not interested in any of the hot topics that are normally seen on Lutheran blogs. I've had all of the same conversations over and over again, and I have no interest in going through that again.

2) This blog is about the traditional propers (etc.) that one finds in The Lutheran Hymnal and the one-year series in Lutheran Service Book, as well as different other sources. I am not interested in the several variations of the Vatican II three-year series. If you use it, I'm happy for you, and I'm sure you're still going to heaven.

3) If you do not wish to share with me who you are, I'm happy for you, but I am not interested in what you have to say.

4) If you have recently left the Lutheran Church for some form of Eastern Christianity, I'm happy for you, but I am not interested in what you have to say.

5) If you cannot resist the insatiable urge to note that most (if not all) of what is talked about on this blog is "adiaphora" (sic), I'm happy for you, but I'm not interested in what you have to say. (And please learn the proper way to use the word in a sentence--but don't use it here.) (Get over it already.) Got it everyone? The word "adiaphora" is forbidden on this blog.

That is all I have to say about that.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Passiontide Veiling

Yesterday, I watched a little of the Roman Catholic Palm Sunday mass after church. I wasn't impressed, as usual. But I did notice that the crosses and statuary were not veiled. This is now optional in the novus ordo. I also notice a lot of pagaentry in the procession of palms, the passion reading in parts, the stations of the cross, and so on, in Catholic practices

We do the procession with palms and the passion reading in parts as well. But that's about as much of the pagaentry and drama I can handle.

If passiontide is about re-living the last days and hours of our Blessed Lord's earthly life, as if it is some kind of liturgical version of civil war reinactments, then it seems quite unreasonable that we would veil the crucifix, and I would assume this is why novus ordo Catholics often opt out of the practice.

Others try to interpret the veiling according to this passion play mentality. Some, for instance, say that our veiling of the crucifix is a kind of reverse psychology--that hiding something has the effect of drawing our attention to it. It's like the 80's Cinderella rock-ballad, "You don't know what you got, 'til it's gone." I heard this same explanation for not celebrating the Lord's Supper on Good Friday. Omitting it brings it more in focus. I find that rather silly, since Jesus said "Do this in remembrance of me" not "Omit this in remembrace of me."

Still others point to the John 8 Gospel reading in Missa Judica (5th Sunday in Lent), when Christ hid Himself from the Jews seeking to stone Him. That sounds somewhat convincing, but then it is just another prop in the passion drama. I would like to think that something else is going on here. And that something else has to do with the sacramental shape and meaning of the season. In other words, passiontide is not about our participating in a reinactment of the passion history of Jesus, but it is a participation in the real and eternal act of salvation through the Holy Sacrament of Communion. The Epistle from Missa Judica, Hebrews 9:11-15, draws us to consider our Lord's death not from the earthly, temporal side, but from the heavenly, eternal, and sacramental point of view. (The Book of Hebrews as a whole is a great Eucharist Homily)

The problem with pageanty is that in the end it is only about motivation. It's about finding the moral of the story. The reinactment places you in a mental recollection of the events, while the Choir sings the negro spiritual "Where you There", and the ladies weep gently in their lace handkerchiefs, and in the end, you are moved by pity to consider what are you going to do for Jesus in return for what He did to you. Frankly that is how many modern Roman Catholics and Evangelicals view the passion anyway. Justification takes a back seat to Sanctification.

All that said, I am of the opinion that the veil over the crucifix is there to remind us to look at the passion more deeply and theologically (and, therefore, sacramentally) than on the outward historical events. Ultimately, we find the finest expression of our Lord's passion not by looking at an image on the wall, but in receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in the Sacrament.

As memory serves, Pius Parsch gets at this kind of thinking in The Year of Grace. He also explains that the custom originated at a time when crosses where so ornate that veiling them only made sense. (my recollection is a little cloudy here, so correct me if I'm wrong.)

That explanation also ties in with the idea of the veil as a kind of visual fasting. I don't buy this at all. The lenten disciplines of fasting, prayer and almsgiving are not about giving up things just for the sake of giving things up. Each discipline touches upon a different kind of self-denial and mortification. Fasting is about the denial of our appetites and cravings. Prayer is about the denial of our sense of power and control. And almsgiving is about the self-denial of our false notion of self-reliance. In other words, it's all about getting yourself out of the way and your pride and self-centeredness. We take our attention off our ourselves, and fix our eyes on Jesus. Veiling your bathroom mirror would make sense, but not your crucifix.