Blame Juhl. We were talking the other day and he was telling about the von Schenk autobiography *Lively Stone* (edited by C. George Fry and Joel R. Kurz, available from the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau), and he said I had to get it. So I did.
One thing comes clear from reading this work: this fellow was a hoot and half! He'd have been a blast to have as your pastor.
The book has numerous quotable quotes - some of which this blog is not rated to carry! But one that I really like was his definition of what is the Church. He argued this at Fordham University, where he was one of three speakers. The other two were Gustave Wiegel (RC) and Alexander Schmemann (Orthodox). Here's what he said:
"According to St. Paul it is the Eucharistic Community, under the direction of the ordained minister of the church, to manifest the total presence of Christ."
Yes! And he didn't just talk it, he lived it. Truly we stand on the shoulders of giants. I wonder what von Schenk would say to the Synod today? I'm sure he'd still be a mighty preacher of repentance, but wouldn't it give joy to his heart to see the number of parishes that simply live and take for granted what he fought so hard for: the total service of Word and Sacrament. Parish after parish across the Synod has embraced this and discovered the joy of the weekly Eucharist - so much so that a Sunday without the Eucharist seems unthinkable anymore.
True, folks in the Synod thought the guy a kook. But countless others - who actually knew him - respected and loved him. The book is very worth the read. It will invite any pastor to examine the place that leiturgia, missio, and diakonia have in his parish life.
P.S. The shocker in the book was that this towering legend of the liturgical movement in the LCMS could say (same as Piepkorn!) "I see no objection to individual cups" and, referring to the common cup, "the sooner the congregation gets rid of it the better it will be." GASP! GROAN! LAUGH! The man is "unpindownable." He'll shock, anger, delight, and surprise you.