Some Thoughts on Christian Etiquette, Part 5, by Pr. Mark H. Hein

We ran across this series of articles written for his parish by BJS member Pastor Mark Hein and got his permission to publish them here. He is Pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL. You can access previous parts of this article, as well as his other posts on this site, at http://steadfastlutherans.org/pastorhein.

Part 5 – Final Preparations for Worship

It is amazing how people will be early to… or at least on time for… various ongoing activities in their life (work, school, etc.) as well as for special events (sporting and music events, movies, dinner reservations, etc.) but when it comes to the most important event that they will attend each week… every week… namely, divine worship… well, it can oftentimes be a different story.

In Part 4 of this series, I talked about the importance of preparing ourselves for worship. Please note that such preparation continues right before the actual service is scheduled to begin. We should plan on arriving at church early enough so that we have time to prepare our hearts and minds for all that is to come – for the One who indeed comes to us in this sacred gathering. When we first enter the church proper, we have the joy of greeting and briefly meeting with our dear brothers and sisters in Christ who mean so much to us. Time with our fellow saints is indeed precious. However, at some point we need to get ready for the divine service that is about to begin.

Upon entering the sanctuary of the Lord, a person may bow before being seated in a pew giving honor and due reverence to the Lord. Then, after sitting down, a parishioner may have a prayer asking the Lord to bless what is about to take place, all to the glory of God and to their’s soul’s health. In our hymnal, the Lutheran Service Book, one will find such prayers right inside the front cover.

With the hymnal still in hand, the parishioner can look to see what order of service is being used and mark it (along with the hymns to be sung) using the ribbons that are provided. Some congregations print out the whole service for easier transition from the “ordinaries” (those parts of the service that remain the same… i.e. invocation, confession and absolution, the creed, Lord’s Prayer, etc) to the “propers” (those parts of the service that change with the specific day and church season… i.e. the introit, gradual, collect of the day, etc.).

Now you are prepared for the start of the service. That is, unless your church is into contemporary worship or “creative worship” where except for a few remnants from your grandfather’s church (thanks be to God), everything is new and novel. For you dear people, I am sorry to say that you need to come extra early to church to read over the worship bulletin so that you can practice what you are going to say and when… so that you can read over both the confession of sins and confession of faith (if they even happen to “fit into” that particular service). Why you ask? It would be unconscionable to not know and agree beforehand what exactly YOU are going to confess!

And don’t even begin to say “I trust my pastor. Whatever he comes up for me to confess either in terms of my sins or my faith is fine with me.” Is it really? Why then, in regard to our confession of faith, we as Lutherans subscribe to three specific creeds or symbols of our faith? Why is the Apostle’s Creed one of the six chief parts of our faith in which we receive careful instruction so that we know what it says and what we are saying every time we confess it?

Ok then… sorry about going off on a tangent there. Back to the divine service. Here’s a question – what happens if we are unavoidably delayed and need to enter the sanctuary after the service begins? Can we enter anytime that we would like? No, not really. To do so would be rude. One would not think of doing that in reverence to the Lord and out of consideration for fellow worshippers.

At St. Paul’s Lockport, we have shared with our members that it is proper to enter the sanctuary during the prelude through the opening hymn (hymn of invocation). However, after that no one should enter the sanctuary until after the collect of the day has been prayed as the pastor is making his way to the lectern for the reading of God’s Holy Word. To enter the sanctuary during the invocation, confession and absolution, kyrie, etc., would be both irreverent and distracting to the saints in worship. Likewise, it is irreverent and distracting if people leave the sanctuary at certain times during the service. We will talk about this in detail in Part 6 of this series. Stay tuned!

Let us pray: O Lord, in all that we do may we show due reverence and respect to You, especially in divine worship. All this we pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The Rev. Mark Hein
Pastor,
St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church,
Lockport, IL

Posted in Etiquette permalink

About Pastor Mark Hein

Articles can be found here

The Rev. Mark Hein is pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church,
Lockport Illinois, and also fire chaplain for the Lockport Township Fire
Protection District. This year, he will celebrate twenty years in the
ministry in addition to previously serving ten years in hospital
administration. St. Paul’s, Lockport, hosts the monthly meetings of the
Northern Illinois Confessional Lutherans (NICL) for their ongoing study of
the Lutheran Confessions. St. Paul’s has a very active chapter of the
Brothers of John the Steadfast. Pastor Hein hopes to work with the women of
his congregation to establish the first chapter of the Society of Katy
Luther (BJS sister organization) possibly to be launched during the 2012
Festival of the Reformation.


Comments

Some Thoughts on Christian Etiquette, Part 5, by Pr. Mark H. Hein — 37 Comments

  1. Thank you Pr. Hein for the reminders on church etiquette.
    They don’t teach etiquette to my generation anymore.

    The bowing before entering a pew, previewing the confessions/hymns, and knowing when to enter church are seen as needlessly “pietistic” nowadays, I think.
    When, in actuality, they are ways of showing respect to God and consideration of fellow worshipers.

    Respect and consideration–how old-fashioned!

  2. Rev. Hein – Thank you for your series. Some good reminders for all of us to follow.

    I don’t know whether you covered this before but another great way to prepare for worship is to read the lessons ahead of time. You just have to know which series your church uses–then you will be able to find the OT, Epistle & Gospel readings on pages xiv – xxiii in the front of LSB.

    Some churchs might even publish the readings for the following Sunday in the bulletin. Mine does & I really appreciate it!

  3. Heartbroken, you bring up a very important point regarding the teaching of new generations, the passing down of what we have learned from our parents and they from their parents. This routine has been severely damaged at best and our church and society have suffered for it. Etiquette is just one item that we have lost. I pray that this series will not only be a reminder, but encouragement to again begin the teaching… again begin the mentoring, the passing down. We can regain what we have lost!

    Ginny, thank you for your kind words as well. I did mention the benefit of reading the upcoming lessons in part #4 of this series, but it is worth noting again and again because “inwardsly digesting” these lessons again and again is truly beneficial and a great blessing.

  4. And don’t even begin to say “I trust my pastor. Whatever he comes up for me to confess either in terms of my sins or my faith is fine with me.” Is it really? Why then, in regard to our confession of faith, we as Lutherans subscribe to three specific creeds or symbols of our faith? Why is the Apostle’s Creed one of the six chief parts of our faith in which we receive careful instruction so that we know what it says and what we are saying every time we confess it?

    Why exactly are these mutually exclusive? I mean, when the pastor says “Let us pray”, ought the congregation be suspicious as well?

  5. When the pastor starts every line of the prayers of the day with “I jus’ wanna’..” you might want to be little suspecting…

  6. Pastor Louderback,

    Do you write your own confessions of the faith for your parish? If so, why don’t you publish them for the rest of us so that we can see how you have improved on the creeds of the Church Catholic.

  7. Pr. Louderback,

    Both the confession of sins and the confession of faith used in the divine liturgy are “first person singular” confessions. “I a poor miserable sinner confess unto You all my sins and iniquities with which I have offended you.” And “I believe in God the Father Almighty…”

    If I am going to confess either MY sins or MY faith, little old “first person singular” me wants it to truly be MY confession of the same which obviously means knowing what I am saying… confessing. I also take great comfort in the fact that these My confessions have also been the confessions of my forefathers down through the centuries (yes, I will fight with my last ounce of strength and with my last breath the preservation of my grandfather’s church). I also take comfort in the oneness and solidarity of the fact that my confessions are the very same confessions of those who are with me now in the Church Militant.

    So much for the confessions we make. As you know, the prayers of the church are corporate prayers delivered in the first person plural. The pastor in his priestly function offers these up to the Lord our God on behalf of the body of Christ gathered in worship. Here, WE pray as one. And although I do not think we need to be suspicious of the nature of the prayers spoken by the pastor, it behooves all the faithful to always insure that such prayers are good, right and salutary. Why? because anything less reflects upon all of us corporately and besides, the WE always includes ME.

  8. Very fine article as well as comments. I was taught in my catechumen class by pastor that confirmed many. He made mention of saying a brief prayer with hands folded and head bowed and seated in pew. He also said this would be a nice prayer to say from the hymn…Lord open thou my Heart to hear and through thy word to me draw near, Let me thy word e’er pure retain,Let me Thy child and heir remain. On going prayer and still pray this on Sun. mornings.

  9. CS,

    Do you write your own confessions of the faith for your parish?

    No, not exactly. In my contempo service, for our confession, I put up a Scripture passage and have a brief explanation of what it means. We’ll take different themes with that–the cross, baptism, etc.

    We did the LWML pledge–does that count?

  10. Pr Hein,

    Ah…I’m sorry, but that seems a bit of rationalizing to me.

    First, the Nicene Creed is “We” not “I” so, does that change your position? That creed can just as much be something confessed by the church as a whole and not the individual (which is part of the reason I don’t write my own creeds).

    But still, if confession was written “We” that would make a difference? If you have prayers written out for you to say, it doesn’t matter as much?

    Either way it is the same: you should trust your pastor and confess along with what they have written down. After all, they are a pastor, called to deliver the Gospel to you and all people.

    If they write a confession that seems odd, say something to them. But the problem with the standard LSB confession is that it is vague. “I’ve sinned in thought, word, and deed, with what I have done and left undone,” allows me a great deal of deflection. “I am quick to say words in anger and not in love,” is a bit more specific and cutting.

    As to your comment: yes, I will fight with my last ounce of strength and with my last breath the preservation of my grandfather’s church well, really, it is not a fight. No one is forcing you to worship in a different way. You have plenty of supporters who feel the exact same way in the Synod.

    No, my issue is that you are on the offensive (and maybe not you, you, but certainly others) who are trying to marginalize people like me who have contempo services–by saying we are not Lutheran, etc.

    You tell me: if there were a convention resolution stating “No church may use music for congregational singing not found in LSB, LW, or TLH” would you support it? Vote for it? Or write it how you want to express the sentiment that you desire.

    No–you are good. You can do as you wish. The question is, Am I good? Or must I do as you wish?

  11. Mark L,

    I would say that is “yes, exactly.” As bright as we all may be, our choice of scripture and our smart thoughts ought not to be used in place of creeds adopted by the church and used by the church for over a millenia.

    And, are you really suggesting likewise that the LWML pledge can replace the ecumenical creeds? I’m sure the LWML pledge is a nice statement. I actually cannot remember it because I stopped using it in church services years ago when I stopped doing contemporary services and stopped doing the RSO of the month worship service (Armed Forces, LWML, Life Sunday, etc.) and relegated those good causes to the bulletin and took them out of the liturgy where they had crept in. Actually, that plethera of poorly written services in the late 80’s was probably the entrance drug for the LCMS into the harder drugs of CCM praise songs, emergent “liturgies” and ultimately grung rock worship. My cure came from a few good friends who taught me the meaning of the liturgy and its importance and I was also helped along by a reference to our “faulty golf swings” in a prayer in an LLL service back in the late 80’s or early 90’s. I think it was supposed to be a statement of law or confession or some such thing That was when I began to make my way back to the historic liturgy.

    Well, I digress. I was once where you were Mark, not realizing the importance of the historic liturgy and the foolishness in trying to replace it with my own “liturgies.” I wish you could have the same experiences I had that brought me around to the incredible power, beauty and historical breadth of the liturgy.

    My heartfelt suggestion to you is to relegate the temporary things (like the LWML pledge and your own creeds) to the bulletin and maybe Bible class and leave the worship of the corporate gathering to the collective wisdom of the ages as found in the liturgy.

    TR

  12. Just to clarify my position: I think that laity ought to trust their pastors. If they see that certain sins are rampant in the congregation and address them in their confessions, there ought to be trust in that–just as if they speak about the issue in their sermons. Perhaps you yourself will not be struggling from the issue–perhaps the specificity of the sin does not touch you–but it does someone.

    Now, if your pastor is acting in a way as to remove trust–well, that becomes the issue doesn’t it? But that has nothing to do with whether they are writing their own confession, their own creed, their own hymns.

  13. Tim Rossow,

    I was once where you were Mark, not realizing the importance of the historic liturgy and the foolishness in trying to replace it with my own “liturgies.” I wish you could have the same experiences I had that brought me around to the incredible power, beauty and historical breadth of the liturgy.

    I guess for me I just have a different background and attitude about this. I do love the liturgy. I too couldn’t stand all of the many services that we had. I pretty much dropped most of them.

    But my years as a pastor have taught me that not everyone loves the liturgy. Not everyone wants to sing hymns accompanied by an organ. Not everyone likes the formality of the liturgy–as though this were the only way to display “reverence”. And so, in order to reach out to others with the Gospel message, we now have cowo.

    But I’m glad we can be in agreement about creeds. We had a baptism in my cowo service yesterday (a child of someone who previously never came to my trad services…) and so we confessed the Apostles Creed. I didn’t make up some “baptism” creed for that.

    I do think that one of the challenges of Cowo is to keep that connection with the catholic church. With the traditional church. I have sympathy for those who criticize this aspect of

    But it can be done.

    So, to once again summarize, our church will never leave the liturgy. The LCMS, the Church Church, whatever. We will always worship that way.

    But at the same time, there is nothing wrong with worshiping other ways, in order to connect different people to Christ.

  14. @Mark Louderback #18
    Mark, thanks for your posts,

    You are treading into territory where many other Confessional Lutherans also step cautiously and at the same time (as with the baptism you wrote about) joyfully today.
    I grew up as a Catholic and today and today I am a Lutheran pastor serving in a church with both contemporary and traditional worship. I appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts and experiences about worship. I find them similar to my own.

    The church is so much older than any of us and in our uncertain world we look to traditions (like ancient forms of worship) as a rock to cling to in the storms. Reading church history teaches that for all 2000 years of the church’s existence the forms have been changing and still are changing. The only rock that I know of that doesn’t change is Jesus.

    So what does this mean?
    As pastors we want all people to know Jesus intimately and personnaly in all his soveriegn majesty and glory. We want to see every person show awe and respect to the one God, revealed in the Word made flesh. Our worship regardless of form ought to first and foremost carry Jesus to them.

    The question we ought to ask of all worship forms and all worship traditions is, “Does this form hand on Christ and knowledge of his Word to my neighbor and my children?” As a cradle Catholic I knew all about tradition and traditionalism. I saw a great desire for uniformity take hold of many Catholics. They were looking for certainty and saw uniformity in worship as a sign, a rock to cling to in the storm.

    As a Lutheran I know that Christ Alone matters. I teach my children and parishoners that worship matters not for the sake of tradition but for the sake of the Gospel. Luther’s great work in translating the Bible for his own people ought to inspire us to good preparation and leadership in worship today. Our ministry is about sharing Jesus first and never nostalgia.

    If the traditions that were handed down to you by your families and church are helpful give thanks for them and make every use of them. But if your neighbors, who need Jesus, aren’t coming to that form of worship why not try another?

    Yes by all means be faithful to the Word as you do try those other forms. Yes by all means hold onto every tradition you can of the ordo and the creeds, but as you hold on don’t lose sight one the ones that we ought to reach in the territory beyond our doors and cultural traditons.

    thanks for sharing your story of ministry

    In Christ john

  15. John,

    You are being dumb. You need to take it one step further back and ask why your neighbors are looking for a different form. They are looking for a different form because they want a form that pleases them. The church has always steered away from the forms that CW chases after because they are inappropriate. They are too trendy and transitory to carry the unchanging Christ you speak of. An unchanging Christ is best proclaimed through means that are stable and sturdy. It is that simple. Stop being so dumb.

    You exhibit further dumbness when you mistake the errors of Roman Catholicism for the forms they use. Your ancestor in the faith, Martin Luther, took the stable sturdy forms tested through centuries (unlike Mark Louderbeck’s creed which when confessed has not even been tested for a single day and never by anyone other than Mark himself, making his “The Church of Mark”), cleaned them up from the errors and used them and passed them on to us. Has the liturgy changed through the centuries. Yes, ever so slightly and ever so slowly, not like you and the bishop of the “Church of Mark” who seek to change the liturgy in wholesale ways each week! That’s dumb.

    TR

  16. Pastor Louderback,

    I am happy to read that you do not write your own confessions of the faith, but sorry to read that you omit the creeds in your CWS. It sounds like you do this because your CW congregation (or perhaps a potential group of visitors) doesn’t like to say them.

    The same argument holds true the Divine Service as well. The CW folk do not like to say or sing the those words of God from Holy Scripture (New Testament and Old) that have been handed down through the ages by the whole Christian Church on earth. Or is it just the tunes they do not like? I have yet to see CW that puts the historic liturgy to a rock tune, so I am guessing they don’t like those verses from Scripture which are historically used.

    We are talking about the Word of God here, not just traditions. I contend that those who want to use their own words do so for a reason. I can only guess that they do not like or agree with those words of God, and the theology they convey, which have been handed down in the Divine Services of the Church. I believe we should stick to those words from the Bible and not replace them with words that are palatable to the culture. Luther only translated Holy Scripture into the German language and removed false teaching that had crept into the church. He was not trying to make God’s word speak the contemporary cultural language of his day.

  17. Wow! That will teach me not to go too many days before checking on-line posts! A special thanks to Pr Rossow and CS for your comments. They are on target and well put.

    Brother Louderback! As for the Nicene Creed being “We” and not “I,” you are right in terms of its origin. As you probably know though, the church changed the creed to “I” in the Middle Ages and… oh my… it was done for LITURGICAL reasons.

  18. Pr. Louderback, #14, Says, “In my contempo service, for our confession, I put up a Scripture passage and have a brief explanation of what it means. We’ll take different themes with that–the cross, baptism, etc. ”

    The problem with that kind of confession is that it often devolves into the “sin of the week,” as my wife aptly calls it. Each Sunday, the pastor focuses on whatever sin may be referred to in a particular Bible passage (normally from the lectionary, but not always), and writes a confession based on that passages particular transgressions. It too readily becomes a rather contrived confession, and quite honestly, I find it difficult to say a truly heartfelt confession over some specific sin or another that someone else has thought up, when I have remembered too many sins of my own that week. We have committed many actual sins, most of which are rarely the one enumerated in the “sin of the week.” I can remember enough sins to keep me occupied during a general confession, thank you. Besides, there are a gazillion sins we have forgotten or don’t even know we’ve committed. Pr. Louderback, I believe I understand what you are attempting to do, and your motives, and I do not for a moment question those motives or your intentions. I simply think you are treading on somewhat risky territory, and I ask that you do so with great care and caution.
    As far as cowo is concerned, I’ve had a lot of experience with it, and it almost invariably focuses on “me”, not God. It also ventures into a performance mentality, especially among the performers themselves (OK, “worship servants”, if you wish). The temptation to appeal to the emotions is very strong, and I noticed that the music tended to get louder and longer as time went on. This kind of atmosphere also seemed to result in the pastor moving toward a half-time locker room pep talk, rather than a sermon. I hope that you have found that you can avoid those pitfalls.

  19. Pr Hein,

    Brother Louderback! As for the Nicene Creed being “We” and not “I,” you are right in terms of its origin. As you probably know though, the church changed the creed to “I” in the Middle Ages and… oh my… it was done for LITURGICAL reasons.

    And so I make my changes for liturgical reasons as well… 😉

  20. Johannes,

    The problem with that kind of confession is that it often devolves into the “sin of the week,” as my wife aptly calls it.

    Well, we got two different things going on here. I have a confession of sins in my cowo service–sometimes written down, sometimes not. Right now we are reading through the Small Catechsim 10 commandments & meanings, so our sins can get specific.

    But with my confession of faith, so to speak, I am not looking to point out sin there as much as I am to show why we believe what we do and where that belief comes from. So, it is more teaching than calling for repentance.

    Make sense?

    I appreciate what you say about the sin of the week. On the other hand, I was chatting with a kid about sexual sin and I asked him “Do you look at porn on the internet” and he said “Yeah–is that wrong?” So, you know, sometimes we need to sin pointed out to us. “This is sin!” Our generic confessions don’t do that.

    As far as cowo is concerned, I’ve had a lot of experience with it, and it almost invariably focuses on “me”, not God.

    I would gladly have you come to my service and point out if we focus on me and not God. I think cowo leaders need to be aware of this and work against it.

    It is my opinion that our Synod would be better off if we could speak about doing CoWo better. Unfortunately, the discussion is one of “You can’t do that!” “Yes I can!” “No you can’t!”

    So I do indeed need to take care in what I do. But I do think Cowo can be done to focus the worshipper on Christ.

  21. CS,

    I am happy to read that you do not write your own confessions of the faith, but sorry to read that you omit the creeds in your CWS. It sounds like you do this because your CW congregation (or perhaps a potential group of visitors) doesn’t like to say them.

    Err…where exactly do you get this from? Because, no that is not the reason I do it.

    What does “light of light” mean in the Creed? Quick, right it down, right now, no peeking. Explain it. Does it mean that Jesus is the light of the world? That He is the true light shining in darkness? Or that refer to His divine nature?

    See, the reason I don’t use Creeds is because they assume a certain working knowledge of jargon of Christianity that I think many don’t have.

    Not that people don’t understand what the Creeds teach–but the language is unfamiliar.

    So I teach what is in the creed, but I don’t use the creed. I mean, we had a baptism and I used the Apostle’ Creed. Reformation comes and we’ll quote from the BOC. But I’d rather simply explain what Scripture teaches and teach it.

    The Creed shows up in instruction class and the like.

    Make sense?

    The CW folk do not like to say or sing the those words of God from Holy Scripture (New Testament and Old) that have been handed down through the ages by the whole Christian Church on earth.

    Well…Trad people don’t like to sing the Words of Scripture in tunes written by modern writers.

    The issue is not Scripture–because both of us see it as important. Rather, the issue is musical accompaniment.

    I have yet to see CW that puts the historic liturgy to a rock tune, so I am guessing they don’t like those verses from Scripture which are historically used.

    You should check out the Family of God liturgy by Creative Communications.

    I contend that those who want to use their own words do so for a reason. I can only guess that they do not like or agree with those words of God, and the theology they convey, which have been handed down in the Divine Services of the Church.

    I think this is just wishful thinking.

    I mean, let’s face it, it is a lot easier to deal with me if I am a person who doesn’t like God’s Word–then you can quickly dismiss what I say.

    But I don’t hate God’s Word. I love it all. Which is why I want to teach it clearly. And that is why I do CoWo.

    Make sense?

  22. John,

    I appreciate your words. Thanks for coming here and sharing–it is good to know that I am not alone in this. I hope that you continue to bring Christ to the people under your care.

    And please, pop by again to further share your thoughts and feelings.

    TR

    Being dumb? Now now…

  23. Pastor Louderback,

    I would still like to see some of your creeds and services so we can compare them to the word of God.

    I am glad you still use the Small Catechism and BOC. Why haven’t you rewritten them for your congregation?

  24. I found that preparing for the service as you suggest is very helpful. If I arrive just before the beginning of the service without that prep time it makes a difference. Believing in the Real Presence truly makes a difference. You want to come into His Presence prepared to meet Him and receive His grace and Hear Him.

    The same God who thundered from Mt. Sinai, Who sent flames of fire to consume the offering on Elijah’s altar, Who spoke to Moses from a burning bush and also the One Whose power has defeated Satan and overcome Death, Who is the very Book of Life, the Ark of the New Covenant is present to speak to us in His Word, to grant us His atonement, to give Himself to us in His body and blood — not just hearing us from heaven– not just in Spirit, but in His flesh and blood. It seems only right to prepare to meet Him by examination of conscience and confession (one reason why I value private confession), bathing, being on time — He is the King of the Universe — would we casually enter into the presence of earthly royalty? I think that the more respect we show for Him the more our hearts pay attention to His words and the more honour we give Him.

    As for the recitation of the Creed, it is both an opportunity to publicly confess our faith and to strengthen it.

    One thing that I find a bit disconcerting is that following Holy Communion the liturgy so quickly ends. I’m not ready . Having just received Him I want to tarry with Him, to speak to Him in my heart. I don’t want to rush off to coffee and dessert.

  25. For the life of me I cannot comprehend the pride and vanity of a pastor who would PRESUME to re-write the Nicene Creed! Last time I checked, the Nicene Creed was in the opening section of the Book of Concord. That means it is Confession of Faith of the Lutheran Church. It also connects the Lutheran Church to the church catholic and to centuries of Christians who lived before us. How dare a pastor think he can “improve” on the faith that has been handed down to us? The Creed doesn’t belong to him. Therefore, he has no right to change or alter it. It belongs to the whole people of God. The pastor has no more authority to re-write the Creed than he does to re-write the Bible. The pastor has something called the “sermon” where he can express his views on things, including any supposed “deficiencies”in the Symbol of Nicea. In the words of C. S. Lewis, pastors are called to “feed the sheep, not experiment on the lambs.” And how can the faithful ever “inwardly digest” the texts of the Divine Service if they are constantly changed and altered? Has anyone ever thought of the damage to the collective memory of people that is causing? Why can’t pastors simply respect the text and order of the Divine Service as the Church has transmitted it to us rather than trying to reinvent the wheel every Sunday?

  26. Boris,

    Excellent points and the quote from C.S. Lewis is priceless. I do not think that those who write their own creeds look at it as in any way being damaging. On the contrary, to them it is perceived as being “value added” – simply improving upon the creeds we already have… changing things up a bit to bring some new life and flavor… really connecting with the current culture and making things more relevant. Even as I write this I am getting nauseus.

    What is amazing is the number of people who claim to have the right to rewrite, recreate and tinker with that which is, yes, theirs… but not theirs alone. The Creeds… the Symbols of our faith belong to the whole Christian Church and are subcribed by the same in toto. While there may be a new creed that eventually comes forth FROM THE CHURCH which addresses some gross and persistent errors and/or further clarifies the one true faith, changing the Creeds we already have is not an option. You cannot improve on that which faithfully declares and beautifully sums up what we believe… that which has indeed stood the test of time.

  27. I think I understand the impetus which informs the laity to “trust their pastor,” as lobbied for by a cleric, above ; but let us pray that the confessing lay Lutheran will instead cling to the Word truly taught, and the Sacrament rightly administered, by the Lord’s called and ordained messenger to the flock.

    Those in synodical fellowship with Rev. Louderback have a legitimate interest, and right, in knowing precisely what word-twists he is asking his congregation to confess with him. The phrase “I think you should trust your pastor” is hopefully not in his Third Article. It is certainly not in the Militant Church’s.

    On another matter, I think it is a laudable thing to get to the nave early. Unfortunately, the sanctity of meditating with the Lord in His house, can all too often be interrupted by the chatterers who can’t wait to inform others of the latest ticketed adventure of Cindy Lou, or the intimate details of Cousin Elrod’s hernia reduction. My experience has included Lutheran ushers adding to the chaos, by exchanging pleasantries and small jokes as they escort the saint/sinner into the presence of the Almighty … and awkwardly getting in the way of the bow or the genuflect Pastor Hein urges. My suggestion would be to keep the warm-fuzzies in the narthex, and maybe allow the door to function as a door. A door can be a good thing. Our Lord compared Himself to a gate, for example.

    Thank you, and God bless His beloved Bride … sweeping out the rascally errant dirt of confused thinking, in the course of diligently seeking after that lost coin.

  28. I enjoyed reading your comments Michael. Indeed, God bless His beloved Bride!

  29. My problem with the ‘we’ confession is the warning from saint Paul that angels have been present in worship services.
    with this being a possibility,how can I “a poor miserable sinner”confess for one of God’s creatures higher than me? Perhaps old Miss Busybody or that (probably) dangeroun divorced Army Vet lived a sin firr week, and doesn’t need to confess.
    But yes, preperation for a service is benificial. But, then, so is fasting – or performing a vigil. I hesitate to think what my grandfathe, a retired pastor, would say about a Grunge Band on the altar steps for a service, but a leather belt comes to mind….
    The ‘old ways’ put the worshipers into a slower time frame, showing our links to past generations. The certainknowledge of their surviving their problems, we too can make it over the rough spots in our lives. Prepare, be modest, and turn off that celular device

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.