26 July 2008

More Neglected Rubrics

In all of the Divine Services in LSB, we find this rubric after the salutation: "The presiding minister faces the altar. A brief silence may be observed. The presiding minister may raise his outstretched hands in the gesture of prayer while speaking or chanting the COLLECT OF THE DAY."

Two parts: both in the category of "may" rather than "shall" rubrics. Silence and then outstretched hands. The silence recognizes that the pastor's "Let us pray" is a bid. The congregation is thereby invited to lift its prayers in silence to the Lord. The collect by its very nature "collects" these individual intercessions and gives them voice. And the outstretched hands? Empty hands. Hands that are nothing but given to. Hands that are beggar's hands, awaiting the Lord's benefactions. Hands of a child outstretched to the parent to be lifted up, carried and loved. "Nothing in my hands I bring" we sing in one of popular hymns of the Western Church.

Sometimes the silence and the gesture can say more than any words can. These are "may" rubrics, but good ones to follow. They allow the congregation silence to gather its thoughts and the outstretched hands speak volumes by themselves. We are a people nothing but given to. We wait upon the Lord.


Past Elder said...

There's a huge difference between understanding "may" as "it's not that big a deal, we don't really have to mess with this" or as "while the Lord's command isn't one of them, the experience of the church has found good reason to do this".

Is it really all that hard to explain what a Collect is rather than just dump it? Just as we collect ourselves individually, we collect ourselves as a body too.

William Weedon said...

Amen, Terry! Amen!

Rev. Jim Roemke said...

What is that you are suggesting is being dumped? The actual collect or the moment of silence and outstretched hands?
I found my liturgics training at seminary to be ridiculously lacking. It is truly a crime that "Worship 101" only really expects the students to know and "perform" a half-hearted half of LW DS1 (at least that was what it did about 4 years ago.) I learned most of what I needed to know and model how I conduct the Divine Service from watching the dear Pastor Weedon bot in the flesh and via the internet. Thank you for teaching me, Father.

Sam said...

We actually "performed" the whole Divine Service (DS 1), with the omission of two of the readings. Aside from that, the service was complete. However, I know that what Rev. Roemke did for his class is still done.

For what its worth... we were encouraged to memorize the collects so we wouldn't even have to fiddle with the altar book. And... we were docked points if we didn't allow for silence between the salutation and the collect.

Past Elder said...

By "dumped" I was referring to the mindset which argues something like: words like Collect, Introit, maybe even the liturgy itself, don't communicate or connect with people any more, so we need to come up with new terms, pass over things like this, or even dump the whole liturgical thing for something that is relevant now and wins souls for Christ.

I believe what you guys say about liturgics at sem. The evidence out here in the field supports it -- if you find liturgy in an LCMS church, it will be DSI or its LW earlier version most of the time.

Being a veteran of the original "worship wars" -- the change from the Tridentine Rite to the novus ordo in the Roman Church -- even a well conducted DSI leaves me a little uneasy. I have a hard time seeing accepting a Lutheranised novus ordo from 1960s Rome as zealously guarding and defending the mass, with the historic practice for the most part unchanged as the AC states. I don't they they were about jumping on the latest Roman bandwagon as soon as it looks OK but looking to before there were Roman bandwagons. Vatican II For Lutherans strikes me as "contemporary worship" as much as Willow Creek et al derived services, just different in its sources, but neither the historic worship of the church.

I'm a closet red hymnal, page 15 type. OK, maybe not so closet. However DSIII is a wonderful version of the Common Service, which I wish would be just that, our common service.

Looks like if I'm going to go to DSIII any time soon it's a road trip to Illinois! Although, there's another past elder at work who recently changed parishes and from his description things seem pretty good at his new parish.

sam said...

Here is another question:
What about the concluding collect that I prayed today? Do we leave any silence between the two (it is not indicated in the rubrics)? Also, does the assistant also raise his hands in the orans position?

I wondered this as I approached the altar and decided to leave a little silence and leave the orans position up to Pr. GeRue.

William Weedon said...


Though not indicated, I think it appropriate to leave a brief silence after any "Let us pray" bid. As to the orans position, you have no doubt noted the curious rubric that the presiding minister is to lift his hands in the ancient gesture of prayer, but nothing is said about the assisting minister to whom that post-communion collect is assigned! I have often wondered what the exact intention of the committee was with that rubric. Vieker? Grimm? Any words of wisdom? As it stands, it neither indicates that the assisting minister should or should not raise his hands.

Anonymous said...

"When the Messiah comes, he will explain all these things to us . . ."

Seriously, this is a good question, and one which the writers for the LSB Liturgy Desk Edition will need to sort out.

Jon Vieker