Full Text for Worship in the USA (Text)

Worship In The USA Translation by Thcotlore Dclaney, Executive Secretary, Commission on \Vorship, I,u theran Church -Rfisso~iri S\;liotl Editor's Note: T~CJ follo~~~illg nrtic.lc, etltitlcd "Gottestiictlst ill (Zen USA," qq~ecit-ed ill QU~TEM~LR, rr jo~lrlinl edited bj I3is7rop Dr. Wilhelrtl Strrehlin, nlld ~vrittell 27)' Postor Richard MZ~III~IL, a ~011- i~r-lnrc~ of the bishop. As a revie~l~ of the OXSH SHIP SUPPLEMENT fro112 ml ul~tside source, it shozlld be of some interest to pastors 117ho hm7e it~stitztted its zise ill oztr cotlgregations. L LiTHERANISh'l CONSTITUTES the fourth largest ch~~rcli membership in t11c USA-after the Catholics, h~cthodists and Baptists. Substantially, it involvcs three church bodies ~vhich adhere to thc ilugsburg Con Fcssion . These thrcc work together in various jurisdictions and thus strive to unite thenisclves in a common Church within a rcosonable time. The ~vell-known hlissouri Synocl has par- ticipated in this effort for years. General agrcciiicnt, as mucli as possible, belongs to the unit! of the Church. Iluring this ycar, a gc~icraI commissian of sci,eral Lutheran churclics has published a ncn- Iiandbook for the wccltl! n~orsliip services. It is cnllcd li70RSHIP SLJPPI,EMENT-wc would say "supplemental agenda." It is very instructive to sce what direction further worship dcvclopnicnt is taking in Englisli-spcaking Lutheran- isin. Some things arising thcrefro~n might possibly alllaze us. How- ever, if we consider that our An~erican brethren like in a particularly ccumcnical horimn, nJc shall bcttcr understand thcir wa! . The wcckly cliicf service, as a rule, wjll be conducted as a preaching and conlniunion scrl~ice. As far as possible, every Sunday has at least t111o ~vorship scrviccs, one of which iilcluclcs the sacranlent of the idtar. ilccordiiig to thc usage of the ancient churcli-~vhich has becoiiic naturalized in the IZnglish-speaking world-this worship service is callctl holy euc-hnrist or holy conz~~~z~~lio~l. "Eucharist" was called thc Prayer of Thanksgiving already in New Testalncnt times, as we also recogni~c in our communion liturgy. Thc Entrance Song is followed by an expanded Kyric ~vitl~ petitions for the Church and thc \vorld. Eastern Christianity has approvccl this from thc beginning to the present, \vhilc the ~vcstcrn churches-Catholic and Reforn~ation-as yct ha\~c kept (as a rcm- nant) only thc Iortanw among us. Ho~vcvcr, 1ve ought not overlook the fact that the first Rcforl~lation Mass for~nulas recogni7cd the Niccan Creed as the rcgular creed. If the Nicean Creecl is now introclucctl us the rcgular onc also in tllc USA, then the ecumenical line nould again bc acccntctl thereby (since also tlic Catholics-ancl above all the Orthodox congregations-usc just this confession in their worship scr~~iccs; the Apostolic Creed being reservcd for haptisin). In his o~vll time, Luther energetically opposctl considering wor- ship as an okfcring n.hich inan brings as an act with reconciling pon7er bcforc Gocl. This protest of the Refor~ncr is still valid. Hov.ever, the iclca of offc~riilq is not thcrcby ruled out bcc;iusc tlre thankoffering of thc Christian for the reconciling act of God remains steadfast. From this, one can speak, in a good sense, of an offcrtory prayer (Offertoriunl). Our Lu thcran brethren in the USA have printal this at length through sclcctcd l'snlin vcrscs which change with the course of the church !.car. ,' In the past year, nrc liave adopted a coininon form for the Our Fathcr. A similar cxperinlcnt is going on in the English-speaking ~vorld. Also herc, people have united in the ecumenical colnposition of thC Lord's Praver. As in world Christianity, we see the endeavor of the nork is to-bring together the separated churches in all things where this is possiblc without surrender of one's own faith. After n decade of intensive theological and liturgical prepara- tion, our agencli~s have taken up certain prayers which were handed do1~11 fro111 thc ancient church-prayers \vhich, on thc other hand, have been strongly adhered to in the Eastern Church: the rcmem- brance of the saving acts of God (called "Anamncse" in Grcck) and the prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit ("Epiklesc," i.c., invocation). \Vc find both in the rcconlnlendations of the Alnerican Lutheran churches. \Vl\crc people gather for ~vorship, they nccd not only the text of the \Vord but also bodily participation. \\7c have experienced this, for example, in the evcning youth service during the 1968 plenary assembly of the \\'orld Council in thc cathedral at Uppsala. And we know it, moreo~~er, from other experiences. Consequently , the lituroi- '? cal commission of the Lutherans in the USA gives the worship certaln rcc~nimendations to which wc give ear: \\'hocvcr enters church on Sunday should not sin~ply l~astc~l to his place, but rather grcct tlie unscen but present Lord of this housc by bowing before the cross. This rule applies in evcry n~orsllip l>lacc, whether it be a tra~litional cl.iurch or a hall prepared for jvorship. RIartin 1,uthcr taught us to sign ourscl\rcs with cross at morning nncl evening prayer. In the course of history, we haw virtually lost this meaningful Christian custom. Xially c~ anclelical O. Christians arc of the opinion that crossing one's self is a tyl~~cally Catholic sign, unsuited for an evangelical. This is a mistake. Since wc have niaintaincd the practice of the l~astor's niaking the sigil of the cross at the blessing, is it not rcasonable that thc individual Christian iiiiglit c~i~ploy thc sign of sal\lation? In ecumenical circles- also in intcrnatio~~al 1,uthcranisni-this is i~~idesprcad and accepted. Thus the ad\,icc of our brethren in Anicrica may help us also regain it as a living sign of' our faith. Iinccling is similar. \\lc arc accustomed to the kneeling position at blessings and at tlic reception of holy com~nunion. Our pe~vs, hov- ever, are usually so constructed that k~iceling for prayer is inipossible. Only certain congregations - some of those in the \Vilhelnl Lijhe tradition - use kncelers. No\v this universal Christian prayer usage is being recommentled in the USA. \\'hoe\lcr has opportunit) to participate in worship services in other parts of the world ~vill learn ho\v \videspread this ancient Christian usage is. In gro\ving to- oether wit11 Christendom, may intelligcncc also grow ainong us to a place pe\\ls so that one can k~lecl 1\ithout difficulty for confession of sins and other prayers. But isn't this all legalistic? Germans will ask thus: Do we dcpend 011 such external things? Thc practice of the heart and not of the body is decisive. \\'hat should the aged and infirm do? Oftcn they are ii~nable to l