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Gathered in the Name and Remembrance of Jesus: Lutheran Worship (1982)   6 comments

Lutheran Service Book (2006)

Above:  My Copies of The Lutheran Hymnal (1941), Worship Supplement (1969), Lutheran Worship (1982), Hymnal Supplement 98 (1998), and the Lutheran Service Book (2006), July 22, 2013




Gathered in the name and the remembrance of Jesus, we beg you, O Lord, to forgive, renew, and strengthen us with your Word and Spirit.  Grant us faithfully to eat his body and drink his blood as he bids us to do in his own testament.  Hear us as we pray in his name and as he taught us….

Lutheran Worship (1982), page 149



This post, being Part XIII of an ongoing series, flows from previous entries, links to which I have provided here:



Lutheran Worship (1982), abbreviated hereafter as LW, is the “Blue Book” which has received much criticism and praise.  LW, a revised edition of the Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW) (1978) (, is, for some, the bastard stepchild of recent Lutheran liturgy.  It is a flawed volume, to be sure.  The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) revisers who edited the hymns modernized some of the texts awkwardly.  Perhaps the most infamous example of this, based on Internet mentions alone, is the butchering of Ray Palmer’s “My Faith Looks Up to Thee,” which LW renders as “My Faith Looks Trustingly.”  The LBW had kept it as “My Faith Looks Up to Thee,” a practice to which the Lutheran Service Book (LSB) (2006) returns, mercifully.

Before I proceed I need to make a technical disclaimer.  My copy of LW is of the Pew Edition, not the Altar Book.  Pew editions are incomplete relative to alter books.  I regret any crucial omissions or accidental errors which might appear in this post for that reason.  But I have read secondary literature regarding LW services, so hopefully my understanding is basically correct.



A.  A Great Retrenchment

I conclude that between 1969 and 1982 a great retrenchment occurred within the LCMS.  Supporting evidence follows:

  1. The LCMS published its Worship Supplement in 1969 and authorized use of Contemporary Worship 2:  Services–The Holy Communion (1970), volumes which, in the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds, call the Church “catholic” not the usual Lutheran “Christian.”  Furthermore, they do this without so much as an asterisk or apostrophe.
  2. The Nicene Creed in the 1969 and 1970 rites is in the first-person plural, consistent with the Greek text.
  3. The Creed comes after the Sermon in 1969 and 1970 rituals.  The Common Service pattern is to place the Creed before the sermon.
  4. All of these changes carried over into the LBW (1978).
  5. Yet LW reverses them.  And it places an asterisk and a footnote on both the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds, explaining that the ancient texts say “catholic,” not “Christian.”

I am writing based on primary sources–official documents which the LCMS authorized.  The LCMS changed its collective mind during the span of a few years.

B.  Similar to and Different from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978)

Many of the services in LW are sufficiently close to the LBW as to be recognizable from them quite easily, despite changes.  The variants on the Common Service in LW are closer to the rituals in The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) than to those in the LBW versions of Communion, Matins, and Vespers.  Yet, for many, the LW rites were too different from the 1941 versions.  Relative to the LBW, however, LW is more traditionally Lutheran.  The Canon/Prayer of Thanksgiving in the Divine Service is quite brief, for example–close to being absent, yet present.

C.  Renunciations in the Baptismal Rites

We see another difference by comparing the baptismal rites in the LBW and in LW.  The LBW ritual includes the question:

Do you renounce all the forces of evil, the devil, and all his empty promises?

–Pew Edition, page 123

But the corresponding question in LW reads:

Do you renounce the devil and all his works and all his ways?

–Pew Edition, page 201

The LCMS form is identical to that found in the Service Book and Hymnal (1958), Music Edition, page 245.  Yet the LBW question covers more, if vaguer, territory.  All of it seems, to my Episcopalian mind, a distinction without a difference.  But some Lutherans found the difference and criticized the LBW for it.

D.  Calendars

Lutheran Calendars have become fuller during the last one hundred years, for names of more Biblical figures and people from Christian history have appeared there.  Thus I am not surprised to see that, in LW, May 7 is the Feast of C. F. W. Walther or that , in the LBW (which has the more complete Calendar), September 4 is the Feast of Albert Schweitzer, for example.  I note also that, finally in LW and the LBW, January 18 is the Feast of the Confession of St. Peter.  The Calendars of both books reflect the changes the Roman Catholic Church made in 1969, so the -gesimas are gone and there are Sundays after Pentecost, not Trinity.

E.  Lectionaries

Related to the Calendar are lectionaries.  The LBW contains the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship (ILCW) three-year lectionary for Sundays and major feasts, as does LW.  Yet LW adds the option of following a variant of the traditional one-year lectionary, with three readings per day.  Each book also offers a daily lectionary to accompany the the daily prayer rituals.  The LBW contains the two-year Daily Office from The Book of Common Prayer (1979), but LW offers a one-year lectionary, the framers of which seemed enamored with reading chapters as coherent units.  Intelligent reading of the Bible does not always entail reading a chapter as a unit, for sometimes more or less than that makes more sense, given the content.

F.  Psalters

The Psalter in the LBW (complete in the Ministers Edition, partial in the Pew Edition) comes from The Book of Common Prayer (1979).  The LCMS Commission on Worship, however, used the New International Version (NIV), far from the most graceful rendering.  The Psalter in the Pew Edition of LW is also partial, consistent with an old Lutheran practice.



The Reverend D. Richard Stuckwisch, in a nine-page article about the LCMS and the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship, describes the differences between LW and the LBW as

too many to describe here….

Lutheran Forum, Fall 2003, page 50

So I know that they are too numerous to describe in this blog post.  No, I leave that task to others, who have certainly done it already in the thirty-one years which have passed since 1982.

LW never won the acclaim its framers had hoped for it.  Many LCMS congregations retained The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) while others used the LBW instead.  The Lutheran Service Book (2006), which integrates elements of the  1941 and 1982 hymnals-service books, is an attempt at a unifying hymnal-service book for the LCMS.







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

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

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

__________.  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Pew Edition.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Publication, Lutheran Church in America, 1978.

Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship for Provisional Use.  Contemporary Worship 2:  Services–The Holy Communion.  Philadelphia, PA:  Board of Education, Lutheran Church in America, 1970.

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

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

Melton, J. Gordon.  Encyclopedia of American Religions.  4h. Ed.  Washington, DC:  Gale Research, Inc., 1993.

Pfatteicher, Philip 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.

Worship Supplement.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1969.

I also found some PDFs helpful:

Schalk, Carl.  ”A Brief History of LCMS Hymnals (before LSB).”  Based on a 1997 document; updated to 2006.  Copyrighted by The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

Stuckwisch, D. Richard.  “The Missouri Synod and the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship.”  Lutheran Forum, Volume 37, Number 3 (Fall 2003), pages 43-51.