30 January 2007

FAQs on Pre-Lent and Lent in Historic Series

1. What is the color of the paraments? LSB prescribes green for pre-Lent; black or violet for Ash Wednesday; violet from Invocabit through Judica and either violet or scarlet for Holy Week, with the possibility of white for Maundy Thursday.
2. What preface do we use for Pre-Lent? LSB prescribes Epiphany's preface.
3. What changes in the Divine Service? From Septuagesima onward, the Alleluia is replaced by the Tract. The Gloria in Excelsis does not disappear until Ash Wednesday. The Gloria Patri is dropped from Judica forward.
4. What about the Creed? We use the Apostles' Creed for the penitential seasons so that our parish doesn't completely forget it - but this is an innovation. The traditional creed for the Eucharist is the Nicene. LSB doesn't prescribe the one over the other, but provides either, giving the Nicene first.
5. Which post-communion collect is appropriate during Pre-Lent and Lent? I suggest the first one: "We give thanks to You, almighty God..." At St. Paul's we reserve the second prayer ("O God the Father...") for Advent through Transfiguration.
6. How can I help the congregation understand the purpose of Pre-Lent? Use the analogy of Lent as a trip back to the Baptismal font (at the Easter Vigil) - a return to the life given us there. Pre-Lent is the time to make preparation for that trip. It's the time to decide how you will observe the fast (something each of you should discuss with your confessor - and yes, each of you should have a confessor!).


Pastor H.R. Curtis said...

I'm probably jumping on this too late to have a good discussion with the author and readers of this blog - but for what it's worth...

What are our hermeneutics for the Rubrics? I take the last rubric from the TLH Agenda pretty seriously: "On and after Easter Day 1955 in any case of a contradiction between these General Rubrics as they are here printed and other rubrics published elsewhere in the official service books of the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America, these General Rubrics shall govern."

Now, we can say that the ELSC no longer exists, so this rubric is void. But I think the MO Synod adopted this as its own by making TLH and it's agenda etc. an official service book. So how can LSB's rubrics over rule it?

Again, that is a debatable point not worth dying over - but definitely worth discussing.

For my part, I take Ap. 24.1 as the rubrical starting point. We keep the traditional ceremonies, lectionary, etc. So at the parishes I serve, from Septuagesima on it's: violet, no Alleluias, no Gloria in Excelsis. These are the traditional western rubrics and are in accord with the TLH agenda (which gives the dropping of the Alleluia a "shall" rubric and the violet and dropping of the Greater Gloria a "may" rubric.).


William Weedon said...

Pastor Curtis,

But do not ignore that the fact that the colors of the paraments being "set" is actually NOT an ancient thing, handed down. More a creation, I believe, of the Church Catalog companies. The old rule was: best for highest, with the color being rather up for grabs. If you've got Stiller you can read through the section on the colors of the paraments. It's an eye-opener for sure. As far as the Greater Gloria, again, it depends in a way on how far back you want to go; it's use has varied quite a bit over the centuries. Luther wasn't innovating when he mentioned: let the bishop decide as to whether it is sung. It's place in the traditional Roman liturgy is nowhere as secure, say, as the Kyrie.


William Weedon said...

Oh, about your main thought: I think that the rubric in The Lutheran Liturgy specifically does fail to apply because the Conference is history, and even more so, because the TLH was never officially adopted by the LCMS, whereas the LSB IS our officially adopted hymnal via convention action.

Pastor H.R. Curtis said...

Good thoughts - on the colors and Greater Gloria the TLH rubrics have that covered in the "may" rubric: some of which "may" options the LSB sadly lacks.

And that is my conern: that there will be a reaction on our side of the aisle to all the wacky worship forms among us that will go too far the other way, and good conversations (like this one) among responsible parish overseers will be replaced with: LSB rubrics or bust.

Freedom _within historical norms_ to adapt to local custom seems to me to be the overall goal we should be aiming at.