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.


Brian P Westgate said...

There's a book that either Redeemer Press should reprint or I should copy! Not to mention a paper that someone, some might say I, should write. Though I wonder if the Reformation had something to do with it.

Brian P Westgate said...

My guess at the moment is that the loss have a) something to do with Luther's Deutsche Messe and Formula Missae, and/or b) stem from the loss of every Sunday and feast day communion due to Pietism, the Enlightenment, and lack of pastors in America. If your question included the proper Communios, we could add c) the addition of "Create in Me" and the "Nunc Dimittis." C could be related to A&B (not the railroad I've worked for back home) too.

Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

My own opinion regarding posture at the Sanctus seems to differ from that of Fr. Eckardt. I would argue that the celebrant should bow from the triple "holy" ("Sanctus") through "in the highest" ("in excelsis"), while the people should kneel from the beginning of the Sanctus. And all should make the sign of the cross at the "Blessed is He" ("Benedictus qui"). This, in my reading, is the most traditionalist approach. Though what I have seen at your and at Fr. Eckardt's blogs will surely inspire me to study the issue anew.

Brian P Westgate said...

Does that chant book include propers, including offertories, for saints' days?

Dcn. Muehlenbruch said...

Yes. These propers for the saint's days listed in the Common Service Book and TLH are included.

Brian P Westgate said...

Webber's Studies in Liturgy, pp. 109-111 mentions the variable Offertories, and even includes some. Thus it appears they were known in the Missouri Synod in the years before TLH was published.