Sunday, April 06, 2003

Too often in the church and in other institutions people are embarrased of the power they hold. They should approach such power and authority with humility and a view towards the proper mandate this or that office has, but failing that, they should at least recognize it. This article should function not just descriptively but also prescriptively; here we learn about the whole church's office, both pastors and laity. The gospel is to be taught purely. That is, not everything goes. The sacraments are to be adminstered rightly. Only therein may the church as mission be true to its calling and to this article.

Theology and other things have just as much import and in fact are essential to the mission of the church. Too long Lutherans are given over to liturgical innovation and the idea that because we are free in the gospel we are free to do this or that, reaching deep into the grab bag of the church's ritual life. My mother, who wasn't Lutheran, was amazed at the care with which the Lutheran pastor who married them discussed and considered what music could be played at their wedding. Theology matters significantly because no one sees doctrine, people only see the liturgy. To have worship and rites is just like the famous love alone and truth alone. Love without truth is just mush; truth without love is hard-edged.

For one example, can we easily claim to use the Eucharistic Prayer options because we know that we "really aren't doing that?" No matter what arcane distinctions one may make in one's head, no one sees doctrine, people only see the liturgy. Even if one fiddles around from prayer to presenting the bread/wine to the congregation, the distinctions matter litte. There you have it, right in front of you, the body and blood of Christ offered to the Father instead of Christ's testament given for sinners.

As the ELCA now considers its liturgy and worship book through a series of trial rites, it is imperative that congregations and pastors carefully consider the proposals, the principles of worship, and so on. One can access all this material

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