Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Sanctus and Beyond

In the Lutheran use, from the Sanctus onward the liturgy consists of common forms that do not vary as do the propers of the day. There may be two or three options regarding post-Communion collects; but the variations are still of the common.

Deferring to Fr. Eckardt's Liturgical Seminar, I will offer a few alternatives to his remarks on the remaining portions of the Liturgy.

Concerning the Sanctus, I am in agreement. It is good to note that he recommends a low bow during the Seraphic ascription (Holy, holy, holy,...), and indicates an erect posture during the Hosanna. Again, a slight bow is made at Blessed is He...., and erect again for the final Hosanna. In many places it seems to be the custom to retain a bowed posture until the beginning of the Blessed is He.... To me, this is akin to shouting "Hurrah!" while maintaining a submissive posture.

Concerning the Our Father, Luther and St. Gregory aside, I may not fully agree that the Our Father has a consecratory nature. As for Piepkorn's discouragement of ringing bells (ie. the Prayer Bell) during its recitation, Rubrics for the Ringing of Tower Bells directs that "The bell shall be rung throughout the praying of the Lord's Prayer in Divine Worship at whatever place in the Liturgy or Orders it may be said, Whether morning or evening, Sunday or weekday."

I do, however, lament the post-Vatican II change that gave the Our Father to the entire congregation, at least during the Mass and the Baptismal rite. If the Lord's Prayer does have a consecratorial (or blessing) aspect, it seems strange to have the entire congregation participate in this consecration or blessing. However, I can imagine the reaction if we would "remove" the Lord's Prayer from the general congregation and restore the former use of The Lutheran Hymnal.

From this point on, the remainder of the Liturgy does not vary. The only variables are the ceremonies attached to these stages of the Liturgy. The Verba, the Pax, the Agnus Dei, distribution and post-distribution remain the same. The Ablutions may be taken at the altar or may done in the sacristy after Mass. The Nunc Dimittis and post-Communion collect remain unchanging, with established exceptions.

At this point I would ask for your comments on two points.

1. I have a copy of Propers of the Service for the Church Year, set to Gregorian Psalm-Tones, by Albert Olai Christensen and Harold Edward Schuneman. These are based upon the Common Service Book, and was published by H. W. Gray Company, date not available.

When/why did Lutherans discontinue the use of the Proper Offertories, especially for Sundays?

2. When/why did Lutherans discontinue the use of Proper Post-Communion Collects, especially for Sundays? I know that the proper post-Communions for Saint's days tend to be sacrificial in nature; but the Sunday collects are generally oriented to the Gospel of the day.

I await your comments.