Friday, November 16, 2007

The Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed is the only creed confessed during the Mass. The historic rubric omits the Creed "on ferias, and even on many saints days." It is, however, always said on Sundays, and on many principle feasts.

The use of the Anathasian Creed on Trinity Sunday, in place of the Nicene Creed, is contrary to this rubric. In this case, the Anathanasian Creed may be used a the first (OT) reading. Otherwise, it is properly used as a reading at Matins on Trinity Sunday.

The historic rite places the sermon or homily between the Gospel and the Creed. Common usage places the Creed immediately after the Gospel. I would suggest that the placement of the Creed is a matter of local custom.

Since the Gloria in Excelsis, the Creed and the Sanctus share a common dignity; the rubrics direct that everyone faces the (liturgical) East when the Creed is recited.

In those places where the Creed follows immediately upon the Gospel, especially when the Gospel has been read in procession, it is contrary to the rubrics to intone the Creed while the procession is returning to the altar, and while the celebrant is facing the congregation. The sub-deacon returns the book to the celebrant. After the ministers have returned to their usual places, only then it the Creed to be intoned.


Past Elder said...

The rationale I was taught (pre conciliar RC) for the Gospel-Sermon-Creed order (no homilies back in the day) was first the Scriptures for the day are read, then preached upon, then the faith as a whole confessed.

While I've never heard it stated, I suppose a rationale for Gospel-Creed-Sermon would be first the "fixed" texts are done then the Sermon, which will be unique to the congregation and time.

This and the location of the Our Father before the Consecration were the two big formal points that struck me when I first started hanging around Lutheran churches.

Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

You will also see, in many parishes, not only the Creed, but also a hymn between the Gospel and the Sermon. One reason for this, I suppose, is the hymn happy nature of Lutherans. Complaints of long services could be remedied in many cases by reducing the number of hymns. My own opinion about that part of the Mass is that placing anything between the Gospel and the Sermon only serves to distract from the intended connection between the two. It would be a bit like inserting a bunch of things between the Consecration and the Communion. I stayed away from the Internet for a few weeks, but I'm trying to get back into it and catch up on things. Thanks, as always, good Deacon, for your discussion here.

Dcn. Muehlenbruch said...

The Lutheran Hymnal places the sermon after the creed, and states that a hymn "shall" be sung before the sermon. The later publication of the Willan and Bender settings state that a hymn "may" be sung before the sermon

Lutheran Worship places the creed before the sermon, and insists that the hymn of the day "is" sung before the sermon.

The Book of Lutheran Worship suggests that the hymn of the day "may" be sung before the sermon; but lacking this, this hymn "is" to be sung following the sermon. The creed is placed after the sermon or hymn, per the above.

I know of one congregation that uses the following order: Gospel, sermon, Chief Hymn, then the Creed.

I will make no recommendations at to a "proper" order; but I welcome comments from everyone. I am interested in your opinions.

Rev. Benjamin Harju said...

Funny, I also know one congregation that has Gospel, Sermon, Chief Hymn, then Creed. My guess on the logic behind this order is that you first hear the Gospel read, then preached upon, then you sing about the Gospel you heard read and preached, then finally culminate in confession the One Faith of Church in the Creed, which the sermon and reading fall under. A good Lutheran my find this a bit distasteful, but I think it's defend-able.

Personally, I would rather there not be a hymn there at all.

Any idea who stuck a Chief Hymn into the midst of the Gospel-Sermon-Credo portion of the Mass? Or when it happened?

(Sorry for taking so long to get to your blog. You sent me an email, which I promptly misread and misunderstood. Alas for my useless mind.)

Rev. Benjamin Harju said...

Another note: Current LCMS orders require the Credo to be confessed at ALL communion services, despite historic Western practice.

If it is remembered that the rubrics are there for practical reasons, as opposed to just being the conglomeration of many old practices over time, then one thing begins to stick out: the Credo is not begun while the procession is moving, because the confession of the Credo is catholic and orthodox worship, not merely devotion. And worship is not characterized by traipsing around, but by standing, bowing, prostrating, kneeling, etc (both physically and in the heart). That the congregation waits for the clergy to return to their places indicates that the clergy and People are united in worship together in the same direction - Heaven.