28 March 2010

What a Boat-load of Scripture Readings

from Passion Sunday through Easter Wednesday! Simply ENORMOUS. In the Lectionary there are more than 100 pages to read aloud from today till Easter Wednesday. Granted, we won't use everything there, but we do use most of it. By the time the week is through, we'll have listened our way through the Preparation for the Passion in St. John and his telling of the Passion itself (Processional Palm Sunday Gospel; Holy Monday; Good Friday); the Passion according to St. Matthew (Palmarum); the Passion according to St. Mark (Holy Tuesday); the Passion according to St. Luke (Holy Wednesday); Creation, Flood, Abraham, Deliverance at the Red Sea, Gathering of God's people, Fiery Furnace; all of Isaiah 53 and a number of other OT readings and heard five of the Resurrection accounts.

What shines through these liturgies with such long readings is the Church's great trust in the Sacred Scriptures: as people hear God's Word, the Holy Spirit is at work to impart and strengthen faith and to fire us for love and service and praise.

So stop looking at your watch, let the Word swirl around you and sink into you and do its job, and be amazed at the great things our God has done, still does and will do FOR YOU!

"We bless You, O God, and we praise and glorify Your holy resurrection, for behold by the wood of the Cross joy has come into all the world!"

8 comments:

Myrtle said...

Even though it's been nine months since I began attending a confessional Lutheran church, I am still not used to the riches of having so very much scripture poured over me...from the Liturgy to the service of the Word. Today, just the Old Testament and the Epistle readings were more than I would hear in a month at my old church. But...oh how glorious...I was blessed to hear Matthew 26:1-27:66. Given an average of 2-3 verses a week in my old church, that's nearly three years of "reading" before the sermon in one sitting!

What was amazing to me was that I had borrowed two little girls to come with me. The first, a six-year-old, had come three weeks ago, her first time in church. She asked to come stay the night with me again and bring her younger sister with her. I admit I was nervous about having a three-year-old with me at church even though children are so strangely welcomed in the service, but I figured I could at least come back for the Lord's Supper if I had to duck out with the little one--she tends to narrate her entire day, sometimes rather loudly.

Before we walked inside, I told the girls they would need to whisper once we got inside. The six-year-old put out her hand to stop us, made her sister practice whispering, and then grabbed her hand and dragged her inside.

The service was just shy of two hours. For 1 hour, 45 minutes, the girls sat quietly listening, reading books, coloring, and munching on Cheerios. When the readings started, by the time we got to the Gospel, the six-year-old asked to share my bible (I like to follow along from the bible rather than the bulletin).

The first time she came to church, the six-year-old asked me why I went since it was so early in the morning and she knows how tired I get (I have MS). I told her that Church was one of the places God comes to us. She asked if she would see Him, too. I explained that we couldn't see Him, but we know He is there because of His promises. I told her that He comes to us in the bible readings and in the Lord's Supper.

This time, after the readings, she turned to me and asked me if I had a good visit with God.

She also asked if she was going to get a blessing again. When I nodded, she turned to her sister and said, "The man in the dress is going to put his hand on your head and say good things just to you. You will like it."

When we got back to the car, the six-year-old told me that if I wanted her to visit with God some more that would be okay.

100 pages? I was already jealous of your 10 Divine Services out of 12. Now I am completely green with envy!

I add my voice to yours, Pastor Weedon. Savor this opportunity, knowing that as you take in His Word, it will work in you just as does His body and blood. And...remember...not everyone who attends church in America has such a privilege, such an utter blessing. Be thankful reverence for the Living Word has been preserved in our confession.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately 99.9% of our LCMS parishes will not offer the liturgies that use these readings. Of all the churches in the Twin Cities area, I am not aware of any that does.

William Weedon said...

Anon,

I'd be curious how arrive at your knowledge that 99.99 percent don't use them. Was that hyperbole for most don't? That's beyond dispute. But there are parishes with Holy Week services throughout the entire week; we're not unique on that.

George and Colleen said...

Hyperbole or not, I don't know of any church on LI that has a service every day of Holy Week.

Then again, I feel like I'm stretching my congregation (fresh off a 4-year vacancy, not to mention whatever happened before that) by having services Wednesday-Sunday, including two on Good Friday.

Some people are really excited about coming throughout the week, but others find it overwhelming as it is. I'm fully expecting many to come to just one non-Sunday service.

William Weedon said...

Does Pr. Fleischmann's not?

Deacon Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

Dear Anonymous:

How about University Lutheran Chapel at U of M? Contact Father David Kind, or anyone in the office there, and inquire about their schedule.

George and Colleen said...

Fleischmann's church (www.clcem.org)
doesn't either. The most you'll find out here is a Wed. confessional service (or at my church, Passion Vespers) and then a full Thursday-Sunday.

Not that there's anything inherently wrong with not having services every day of the week, but a few of us would do it if anyone would come.

William Weedon said...

George,

Oh, we only have a handful. I think there were six for Divine Service yesterday and seven today (including a toddler and an infant). The attendance at the spoken Eucharist absolutely pales with the "regular" attendance at Maundy Thursday Eucharist, Good Friday Tenebrae, Easter Matins and Divine Service. Vigil and Good Friday Chief Service are coming along - still finding their own place in the parish's spiritual life, but a fraction of the other services. It takes time. Yet there are those who attend the early morning spoken services, and for them I'm happy to offer the blessings of those liturgies.