The Missing Canon: The Common Service, 1888   17 comments

148684pv

Above:  St. John’s Lutheran Church, Charleston, South Carolina

Image Created by the Historic American Buildings Survey

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/sc0169.photos.148684p/)

Reproduction Number = HABS SC,10-CHAR,42–11

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U.S. LUTHERAN LITURGY, PART II

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We would gladly behold the day when the One, Holy, Catholic, Christian Church shall use one Order of Service, and unite in one Confession of Faith.

–From the Preface to the Common Service (1888); Quoted in Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church (1917), page 308

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I.  INTRODUCTION

In U.S. Lutheran Liturgy, Part I (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/muhlenbergs-dream-the-road-to-the-common-service-1748-1888/), I wrote about the process which culminated in the unveiling of the Common Service in 1888.  I chose not to write about that liturgy because I had already entered twenty-four pages of writing from a composition book and I perceived that starting this post with such analysis would be better from the perspective of readers.  Thus I will do so.  And since, during my continuing process of writing about the period of adoption of the Common Service has become so verbose and detailed, I have decided to devote one post to the Common Service itself.

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II.  THE COMMON SERVICE

The Common Service (1888), as contained in the General Synod’s Church Book (1891) (http://archive.org/details/churchbookforus00gene) and the United Synod of the South’s Book of Worship (1888) (http://archive.org/details/bookofworshi00unit), for example, sets forth an order of Sunday morning worship.  Before the worship service proper begins there is the INVOCATION, followed by the CONFESSION OF SINS and the ABSOLUTION.  The Invocation is a Lutheran feature of liturgy.  It is neither historically Anglican or Roman Catholic, although the text of the Invocation:

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

is historic to both of those duly revered communions.

Then the service proper begins.  The order of worship follows:

  • INVOCATION
  • GLORIA PATRI
  • KYRIE
  • GLORIA IN EXCELSIS
  • SALUTATION
  • COLLECT OF THE DAY
  • EPISTLE READING
  • GRADUAL (CHORAL)
  • GOSPEL READING
  • NICENE CREED OR APOSTLES’ CREED.

The Church is “Christian,” not “Catholic,” in the Creeds here, although Luther D. Reed, in The Lutheran Liturgy (1947), page 285, mentions that the Church is “Catholic” in Lutheran liturgies from France, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.

Then follow:

  • HYMN
  • SERMON
  • OFFERTORY
  • OFFERING
  • GENERAL PRAYER
  • LORD’S PRAYER (Except on a Communion Sunday)
  • HYMN
  • COMMUNION (When celebrated)
  • BENEDICTION.

The order of Communion follows:

  • PREFACE
  • SANCTUS

The CANON, or EUCHARISTIC PRAYER, or in Lutheran terminology, the PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING, is notably absent, for Martin Luther had removed it from the Lutheran Communion service in the 1500s.  There were at least three reasons for this:

  1. Luther opposed the doctrine of Transubstantiation.
  2. Thus he wanted to emphasize the reception of the elements, not the transformation thereof.
  3. He wanted to emphasize the actions of God, not the words of people.

Liturgically the absence of the Prayer of Thanksgiving is awkward.  The Service Book and Hymnal (1958) restored this part of the liturgy.  Most subsequent U.S. Lutheran service books have followed suit.  Even the ultra-conservative Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod did so in 2008.

The Communion rite continues:

  • WORDS OF INSTITUTION
  • PEACE
  • AGNUS DEI
  • NUNC DIMITTIS
  • THANKSGIVING
  • BENEDICTION (Aaronic Blessing).

The Common Service also encompasses Matins and Vespers, services included in the earliest European Lutheran service books yet lost after the Thirty Years’ War (ended in 1648).

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III.  CONCLUSION

Liturgy is an extension of theology.  When theology is more responsive than reactive, more considered than reflexive, and more affirmative than negative, the resulting liturgy is better.  How can it be otherwise?

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 17, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BENNETT J. SIMS, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF ATLANTA

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF COMPEIGNE

THE FEAST OF THE RIGHTEOUS GENTILES

THE FEAST OF WALTER CRONKITE, JOURNALIST

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

As much as possible I prefer to work with primary sources, although secondary sources frequently prove invaluable in making the best sense of those primary sources.  And I prefer to work with actual bound volumes as much as possible.  For this post, however, some of my sources has been electronic, and I have provided links to them.  So I consider those linked ones cited properly.  I did find certain bound volumes invaluable.  Those credits follow:

Ambassador Hymnal for Lutheran Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, 1994.

Christian Worship:  A Lutheran Hymnal.  Milwaukee, WI:  Northwestern Publishing House, 1993.

Commission on the Liturgy and Hymnal, The.  Service Book and Hymnal.  Music Edition.  Philadelphia, PA:  United Lutheran Publication House, 1958.

Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church.  Philadelphia, PA:  The Board of Publication of The United Lutheran Church in America, 1917, 1918.

Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary.  St. Louis, MO:  MorningStar Music Publishers, Inc., 1996.

Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America, The.  The Lutheran Hymnal.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1941.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 2006.

Hymnal and Order of Service, The.  Lectionary Edition.  Rock Island, IL:  Augustana Book Concern, 1925.

Hymnal Supplement 98.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1998.

Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship.  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Pew Edition.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Publication, Lutheran Church in America, 1978.

Lutheran Hymnary Including the Symbols of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, The.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1935.

Lutheran Intersynodical Hymnal Committee.  American Lutheran Hymnal.  Music Edition.  Columbus, OH:  The Lutheran Book Concern, 1930.

Lutheran Service Book.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 2006.

Lutheran Worship.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1982.

Pfatteicher, Phiip H.  Commentary on the Lutheran Book of Worship:  Lutheran Liturgy in Its Ecumenical Context.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 1990.

Pfatteicher, Philip H., and Carlos R. Messerli.  Manual on the Liturgy:  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1979.

Reed, Luther D.  The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study in the Common Service of the Lutheran Church in America.  Philadelphia, PA:  Muhlenberg Press, 1947.

__________.  The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study in the Common Liturgy of the Lutheran Church in America.  2d. Ed.  Philadelphia, PA:  Fortress Press, 1959.

Stulken, Marilyn Kay.  Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship.  Philadelphia, PA:  Fortress Press, 1981.

Wentz, Abdel Ross.  The Lutheran Church in American History.  2d. Ed.  Philadelphia, PA:  The United Lutheran Publication House, 1933.

With One Voice:  A Lutheran Resource for Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 1995.

I also found some PDFs helpful:

Christian Worship:  Supplement Introductory Resources.  Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, 2008.

DeGarmeaux, Bruce.  “O Come, Let Us Worship!  A Study of Lutheran Liturgy and Hymnody.”  1995.

KRT

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17 responses to “The Missing Canon: The Common Service, 1888

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