Full Text for The Joy of Worship (Text)

-- - - Val. XXX \Vinter, 1967 No. 1 THE SPRISGFIELDEK is published quarterly by the faculty of Con- cordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois, of the Lutheran Church- Rlissouri Synod. ------- EDITORIAL CO.\IbIITTEE ERICH H. HEINTZEN, Editor RAI~AIOND F. SUKBURG, Book Review Editm Ev-GENE F. KLUG, Associate Editor ~ I A R K J . STEEGE, Associate Editor PRESIDEK~ J. A. 0. PREUS, ex 0fici0 Contents Page ED1 IORIAL : \\-hat kind of Seminary? (111) 1 BCLTAIANS AND THE OLD TESTAhlENT (I) : HIS APPROACH AXD INTERPRETATION 3 RAYMOND F. SURBURG, Department of Exegetical Theology (Old Testament) JOT OF \\ ORSHIP 2 7 GERHARD XHO, Department of Practical Theolog) (Homiletics) JESUS OF NAZ-IRETH: SAVIOR *IND LORD. A Re\iew Article 3 5 DAVID P. SCAER, Department of S>steniatic Theology BOOK REVIE\\'S . . . .... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 BOOKS RECEI\-ED '6 3 lndexed in INDEX TO RELIGIOUS PERIODICAL ITERATURE, published by the American Theological Library Association, Speer Library, Princeton Theo- logical Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey. Clergy changes of address reported to Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, Missouri, will also cover mailing change of The Springfielder. Other changes of address should be sent to the Business Manager of The Springfielder, Con- cordia Theological Seminary, Springtield, Illinois. Address communications to the Editor, Erich H. Heintzen, Concordia Theo- logical Seminary, Springfield, Illinois. The Joy of Worship The follo~t~i?zg article originally formed the third part of an essay by the snnze author, elltitled The Alissio~z of Clzrist's People in MrorsJziy. Inany people worship is too somber and staid an affair to include much joy. But for thc people of Christ worship should F O R be joyous. After all, in worship we respond to the God whose good- ness manifests itself in infinitely varied ways in our lives. Our liturgy, recognizes the close connection between worshiping and rejoicing. Therefore the liturgy sounds a note of joy. \\'hen we are aware of this it will help our worshiping to be a rejoicing. In the liturgy jo!. is tied to praise. The liturgy is permeated with praise. All liturgl- is thanksgiving to God for what He has done in Christ. The actions of God for man's salvation are de- scribed, and the great events in God's dealings with men are commemorated. The liturgy presents our Lord's birth, His healing ministry, His crucifixion, His resurrection. The Gloria in Excelsis is a reminder of the Incarnation, of Christ's birth. The Gloria comes as a response to the Kyrie which conveys humble reliance on the mcrc!- of God. In the confidence that God's mercy is ours, we break forth into a triumphant hymn of gratitude. God has sent His Son into the world, His Son has saved us and is now in glory at God's right hand, using His divine power fu I1~ for the good of His own. In the Gospel lesson our attention is focuscd on Christ and upon His ministry. Christ Himself is spcaking to us. \\re are transported back across the years to the Sea of Galilee, the lllount of Olives, Jerusalem. Samaria. Grateful for the privilege of hearing Christ speak, we sing a short response of praise just before and after the Gospel. The Gradual, which follo\vs the Epistle, is Iike\\-ise a thanksgiving. The first part of the Gradual, which consists of a Psalm 1-erse or verses, and sometimes a verse from the New Testament, looks back upon the thought of the Epistle and usually expresses that thought in praise. The last portion of the Gradual is the Alleluia. Alleluia is the Greek form of the Hebrew word meaning "praise ye the Lord." The Gradual is thus the bridge which unites the thoughts of the apostles with the \I-ords of Christ.' The xunc Dimittis, which follo\vs the Holy Communion, is our response of praise to the blessings God has given us in the Sacrament of the Altar. When we see holv the liturgy voices God's praise in God's deeds and how our response is often in the form of thanksgiving, there mill be joy in our worship. Thanking and rejoicing go together. There can be no joy without thankfulness. The person who has a thankful heart will also be a person who rejoices. The jo!-s of worship flow from thankfulness. An aspect of worship's joy is celebration. The liturgy- helps us to do just that, to celebrate. There is an affinity bettveen what we are doing in n-orshi and what believers of all ages ha\-e done. The familiar words of b salm 122 , "I was glad when they said to me, 'let us go to the house of the Lord'," express David's joy in attending the worship serviccs in the temple at Jerusalem. The opening words of Psalm 1 3 6 set forth a note of joy in the well known \vords of praise: "0 give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast lore endures forever." I h e Jewish festivals, espe- cially the Feast of Tabernacles and of the Passover, were occasions of great joy for the Jewish people. Our liturgy, with its frequent quotations from thc Psalms, harks back to the joy of the Old Testa- ment believers. This joyous note nfas not lacking aillong the New Testament believers. The words of Paul in Colossians 3 : 1 6 indicate that also for them worship was celebration. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thank- fulness in your hearts to God." Here was the congregation of the redeemed joining in festal joy arcund Christ's \\'ord and in Christ's name. \\:e worship in the train of the believers of all times when \re enter His courts with joj-, celebrating the great things God has done for us in Christ. In our liturgy we actually ask God to give us jo\-. \Ire do not ask for salvation, for that we already have. \Ye ask for joy, and more specifically as in the Offertory, a restoration of joy. This joy is not primarily feeling and sentiment. It is a matter of being joyful and of acting with joy. This joy is a part of the life of Christ in us. It has the cross and the resurrection of Christ at its ccnter. I t is a joy in Christ. \\'hat me are seeking then is a fuller vision of what it mcans to be a Christian.' \\'hat 11-c want is the joy of it all-the joy of forgiveness, of victory, of killing the self and of letting Christ rise in us. This is a jo!- that does not feed on success or failure. It is a joy that surface pain canwt kill, that inner distress cannot dcstrov. The cross currents of life will not upsct it. Think of the Apostle Paul. No matter what happened to him, in spite of what he had been, his joy could not be shaken, for he stood on Christ. This is not to say that the Christian will haw no sorro\\- in his life. Far from it. Outward circumstances ma\- often test the realitv of his joy, but if it is indeed a joy in the crucified and risen Christ, the changes of our earthly life mill not bc able to eradicate it. Even in times of sickncss and unemployment, crop failure and inflation, we can show the deep calm joy of Christ. In this way the joy that has been restored to us in church is carried into life. Our jo!- is never restricted to the formal worship service. Since this joy is not a feeling but a way of life, it is a freeing joy. The morc we experience this joy, the more we are free from fears that inhibit us, and the more we will see that worship takcs in all of life. Rejoicing \\rill become the keynote not only of our \\-orship in church but of our whole life. Our life will become celebration, for wve are free to rejoice always. Cha~zl~els of joy Because this joy is a gift as well as the salvation that is part of it, we need to keep ourseves in contact with the channels through which God besta~vs this gift. That means kccping close to the \\'ord and to the Sacraments. T h e lo!- of worship is conveyed to us in a unique way through Holy Communion. T h e entire Communion liturgy keynotes joy. The word "Eu- charist,'' a word often used for Holy Communion, comes from a Greek word meaning praise. This praise is linked mith joy. In the Sanctus we unite with angels and archangels and with the whole church in heal-en and on earth to praise the triune God. T h e Sanctus includes the words with which the people of Jerusalem ~velcomed Jesus as their King on the first Palm Sunday: "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the high- est." \Ye use the same words in \\-elcoming our King who comes to us, not on a donkey, but still humbly in bread and wine. Then, recei\-ing His body an blood, "God's own sacrifice complete" is applied to us personall!- and individually as a seal of the forgiveness of sins. S o wonder there is joy. T h c joy in Holy Communion is a foretaste of heavenly joy when we shall be privileged guests of the Lamb of God. The Lorcl's Supper points us to the time when our Lord \\-ill cat and drink with His own in His Father's Kingdom. That is why the Com- munion h!mns as well as the Con~munion liturgy are fillecl with notes of awe, triumph, esaltation, and doxology. T h e Communion service is not a place to mourn. \Ve don't need to "go to" it attired in black. Here on earth already the glory of the future kingdom is shining on the assembled people of God. Holy Communion brings us joy because it unites us with Him who is the source of jo!-, Jesus Himself. Here Christ effects the closest fellon-ship betxeen Himself and His p e o p l e . T h i s is under- scored by the words spoken to each communicant: "The Body of Christ given for you, the Blood of Christ shed for you." T h c Lord's Supper is the n-a! Christ chose to be with His o\\-n in a specially intimate way. H e will not be far off but assures us that wve are joined to Him in a union that is wonderfully close. He who said, "These things have I spoken unto you that my joy might bc in you and your jov might be full" (John I 5 : I 1 ), is present mith us and in us. United with Him who is the fountain of joy, it is possible for us to have jo!-. And it is not simply a matter of knowing joy by ourselves. \\'c can rejoice together with other Christians. In Holy Com- munion Christ binds us not only to Himself but to our fellow believers in a joyous bond of faith. "\Ye being many are one bread and one body; for ~ v e are all partakers of that one bread'' ( 1 Cor. 10: 17). A11 n-ho partake of the sacraniental bread also partake of Christ's Body. Since Christ is not divided, all conln~unicants are united in a spiritual body. The Lord's Supper is a means of indicating our spiritual unity in Christ, our common Lord. Bv partaking of the Lord's Supper we confess our faith. The Lord's Supper also strengthens us in our one faith. This is surelv cause for jov. . . Is the Lord's Supper more necessan for our joy than the sernion? \\'c make a mistake n-hen n-e attcmpt to estimate the respective value of the sermon and of the Sacrament and set them against each other. Both are important. There is no command in Scripture that the Lord's Supper be celebrated e\-er)- Sunda!.. \\'hen Christ said, "oft" or "often," He meant only that each time, whenever, we partake of the Sacrament we do it in remembrance of Him. The frequency of Communion should be determined b!, our need. God has chosen to comnlunicate with us primarily through words, and so we read and hear Holy Scripture. But because our faith is weak and our flesh is strong, God has chosen to use also other means to strengthen us. He has seen fit to take ordinary bread and wine, to consecrate them for heavenly use, with the promise that n-hen \re eat and drink we will receive heavenly benefits. Realizing how we need strengthening of faith and increase of joy, we will use all the means God has given us. \\'bile the Gospel is preached to people generall!-, the Lord's Supper brings God's grace to communi- cants individually, not only through their sense of hearing but through their sense of sight and taste. Thus sermon and sacra- ment complement each other as means of bringing joy. Outside the regular use of \ITord and Sacrament, what can we do that our congregations might grow in the joy of worship? \\.e can help them to understand that worship is the creative center of the church's activity. There are groups in every congregation, consisting of older and younger men and n-omen, middle aged people, single people, married people, children and infants, people in various occupations and with various levels of education. \\'hat is important is that each group, whether these groups are formed on the basis of sex, age, cultural interests or neighborhood, realizes that it is a responsible part of the larger group, the congregation. Cliques should not be permitted to form. A clique has developed when a group breaks away to build up its own life alongside that of the congregation and becomes self-suffi~ient.~ A clique may ahead!- have developed when a group persists in sen-ing in ways that are no longer needed. Cliques can be avoided when each group is anchored in the church's \\-orship. - - This is not to sa! that groups cannot have their own worship services. The! can and thev should. But there is a limit to the direct and ac t i~e part they can take in norship as separate groups. Joy of Wurship 3 1 -- Their \\,orship must, therefore, always be subordinated to the main ser~ice of the whole congregation. Othenvise the unity of the bod\. can be disrupted. A11 the groups need to look upon the main Sunday service as the center of their lives and the secret of their strength. If this is to come about, the liturgy cannot be regarded as just a decorative setting for the sermon. It cannot be regarded as a little ceremony to be gotten over with or a performance to be watched. Rather, it must be seen as a divine-human drama in which we who are kings and priests before God activel!. participate. There must be a whole hearted participation and an enthusiastic involvement. The more people are able to let themselves go spirit- ually so that t h q really throw themselves into the grandeur of the Sunday morning worship in word and act, making it the expression of their own devotion, the more they will grow in the joy of v7or- ship. They mill know that here in the worship service God has allolved His heaven to touch and to bless our sin-sick earth. Members will grow in the joy of worship also \\-hen they are helped to see how their baptism relatcs to worship. Our baptism is at the root of our worship. Holv Baptism is the means by which God took us out of our isolated edil and made us members of His Church. In baptism He washed away our guilt and gave us a new birth. He gave us the IIol!, Spirit and made us sharers in Christ's victory. Because of what God did for us in baptism, \\,orship has become possible for us. Specifically, how does our baptism tie in with our worshiping in church and in our daily lives? St. Paul reminds us (Rom. 6 : 1), "\Ye were buried therefore with Him (Christ) by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead br thc glorv of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." The apostle is saying that our inherited sinfulness must, by continual sorrow and repentance, be drowned and die and the new life in us must con- tinually come forth. What happened at our baptism must continue to happen: the sinful self must be slain and the new man in us must be resurrected. That is why a truly Christian life is simply a continual baptism (Large Catechism IV, Trig., p. 753). To con- fess our sins, to give up dependence on our own goodness as meriting salvation, to thank God, to serve God with a holy life-this is worship, whether we do it in church or somewhere else. That is why the Christian life, the worshiping life, is a re-enactment and constant repetition of our baptism. The effects of baptism are life long. Our baptism is a power for enriching and enlarging our wor- ship. To use our baptism in this way is to increase our joy in worship. W i d e r Than Church Going Growth in worship jo!- will take place, furthermore, \%-hen church members are guided in understanding that worship is wider than church going. Our Confessions make it clear that the mere follo~cing of prescribed forms is not worship. "Ceremonies and church rites which are neither commanded nor forbidden in God's [Vord, but are introduced in the Church . . . for the sake of good order and propriety . . . in and of themseh-es, are no worship of God nor any part of it" (F. C., X, Trig., pp. 1 0 5 3 - 1 0 5 5 ) . \\'hat constitutes w7orship is faith in Jesus in our hearts and the trans- formation that faith brings about in our lices. In other words, to worship well is to lire we1l.j This kind of lrorship is described by St. Paul: "I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, hol!- and acceptable to God, which is !-ou~ spiritual worship. Do not be con- formed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you mar prore what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (ljom. 1 2 : 1-2). The emphasis here is on presenting our n-hole self to God so that, while \vorshiping in the world, we are not conformed to the world. Because of the mercy God has besto\t-ed on us, we \\-ill want to present our bodies as a hol!- sacrifice. It is through our bode that sin invades our being. Satan can make use of our ears and eves to gain entry. But our bodies arc to be kept open to God. To keep them so is acceptable to God because of Christ and our rela- tionship to Him. [Vhenever we say S o to sin in our bodies and Yes to what is good before God, the effects of Christ's once and for all sacrifice are shelving in us. This, says Paul, is our spiritual n-orship. Such a presenting of our bodies involves the rene\val of our minds. Inward transformation is necessary. \Ye cannot think as before, simply because we are in a dad!- process of renewal. IYe lei11 want to mind the things of the Spirit and to cease minding the things of the flesh. \\'e will be led by the Spirit of God in our ver, mind. Thus not only outwardly but inn-ardly we will be different fro111 the world. Our thinking, speaking and doing ~c i l l no longer conform to the ways of the eril world. \\:orshiping is the presenting of our bodies and minds as a sacrifice to God. This rr~eans that we are nonconformists in the world. But I\-e are still in the world and among the people in the world. Therefore, if our worship is to he meaningful, it will hare to be directed toward people. Listen to what the writer to the Hebrews sa!.s: "Therefore let us go forth to Him outside the camp, bearing abuse for Him. For here we hare no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come. Through Him then let us con- tinually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God" (Web. 1 3 : 13-16). Joy of Worship 33 Kotice how praising God and sharing with people are put alongside each other. It mould seem that the more truly we praise God, the more genuine]! we will help people. \\'e will do good and not evil to people. Good can be accom- plished by the friendly urord, the supporting hand, the act of kindness. In so doing we share with others gifts God has given us-gifts of speech, hospitality, teaching, admonition. \Ve are to share especially with our fellow Christians. Scripture reminds us that we are to do good to all men but especially to those within the fellowship of faith (Gal. 6: 10). The good deeds we are to perform are specified by James: "Religion that is pure and unde- filed before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and wido-cvs in their affliction and to keep oneself unspotted from the world" (James 1 :27) . So ~ o u see, we cannot go into an ivory tower and hide off somewhere in a corner. \\'e will have to be in the ~vorld, serving the world of people. To the sacrifice of our praise is added the sacrifice of our service. This is a hard lesson to learn, but without it all our singing and saying mill have little effect." Now this serving will cost us something-comfort, ease, con- venience. \\'e \vill sometimes be niisunderstood. There is a cost- ing quality to the Christian life. There will be failures at times, but our failures do not ruin our worship because our failures are forgiven. Our Lord reminds us: "In the wrorld ye shall have tribu- lations," but EIe also encourages us: "Be of good cheer, I have 01-ercome the world" (John 16 : 3 3 ) . \iTe serve also by our routine dail!- activity. Each of us has an occupation, a unique calling, in which certain things are ex- pected of us. \\'e ~vorship when we work at our jobs as Christians. Then our occupation, no matter what it is, mill be a gloribing of God. 31en and women today need to see their daily tasks in such an eternal dimension. St. Paul put it ~vcll, "IVhether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" ( 1 Cor. 10: 3 1). Khethcr !ou prepare a meal, or wash diapers, or write reports, or build a house, or plough the fields, it can all be done to the glor!. of God. The point is, all things glorify God if we mean they should. To hear the \Vord of God and to go to Communion gives God glory. But to take food in thankfulness and temperance gives Him glory too. To lift up your hands in prayer gives God glory. But a man with a dung fork in his hand is glorifying God, too.: This is how we Christians are to look at our lives. Every thing is \vorthtvhile that glorifies God. \Ye worship when we live as Christians in eventhing and evenwhere. To grasp this is to find j o ~ in worship. Finally, if our people are to grow in the joy of worship, they must not simply be told what worship is, nor should they be treated only to a history of Christian worship. Both of these are important, but what is needed, above all, is for Christians to be given an oppor- tunity to practice he or ship. Only in this nay can the meaning of worship be refreshed. The whole endeavor of the Church needs to be centered in helping people to worship thoughtfully and under- ~ t a n d i n g l y . V \ ~ h e n a member really knows what he is doing and what is going on in a service of worship, he \\-ill want to come. If people are to know and feel what worship is, they cannot just talk about worship but they must worship. Here the pastor plays a significant role. When he is evidently eager and joyous in leading his people in worship, the people will be led to regard each oppor- tunity for worship as a joyous occasion. The!- will look upon the n-orship service as an opportunity for praising God, for strength- ening their hold on God through the Gospel, for praying for each other and for all men, and for sharing spiritual gifts through the hjmns, the Sacraments, and the responses. Furthermore, they will come to see worship as a bringing to God of the sacrifice of them- selves. 1t7orship is always an intensely personal thing, involving people thinking about how God works in their lives. We \\ill grow in the joy of worship as we experieiice \I-orship. To such jo!- we have been called in Christ. Such is the nlission of Christ's people in worship. FOOTNOTES I . Egar S. Bro\vn, Living the Liturgy (Philadelphia: The Muhlenberg Press, 1961), p. 38. 2. Paul W. F. Harms, Spirit of Power (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1964). p. 75 . 3. William D. Streng, Tmeard Meaning in 11-orsltip (Minneapolis: Augs- burg Publishing House, 1964), p. 76. 4. U'ilhelm Hahn, Worship and Congregation (Ecumenical Studies in Wor- ship. Translated by Geoffrey Buswell. Richmond, Va.: John Knox Press, 1963), p. 64. 5. Evelyn Underhill, \Yorship (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1937), D. 78 6. Ernest B. Koenlier, Worship in Word and Sacranze?lt (St. Louis: Con- cordia Publishing House, 1959), p. 109. 7. Ibid., p. 106. 8. Richard R. Caemmerer, Feeding and Leading (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1962), p. 21.