07 August 2008

Another Neglected Rubric

From page xi of the Altar Book for Lutheran Service Book:

"The custom of processing to read the Holy Gospel in the midst of the congregation is commended for church festivals."

At St. Paul's, we recognize every Sunday celebration as a Church festival! We process the Holy Gospel into the midst of the congregation each weekend. Why? What does this bringing of the Gospel into our midst manifest? It shows us that Christ Himself is in the midst of our gathered assembly, continuing to speak the Word by which alone we live in Him. "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." As in His incarnation He came among us to give us life, so in His enscriptured Word He still speaks to give us life. As we turn all toward the Gospel book in our midst and hear our Lord speak to us, we rejoice in how He keeps His promise to abide with us until the end of the age.


wmc said...

We do it every Sunday. Every Sunday is a little Easter. Besides, the kids dig it.

orrologion said...

Is this a part of either the historic Reformation-era and post-Reformation Western and/or Lutheran rites? I had heard of this practice in the early church, when I was a Lutheran, but am not sure if and when this practice was abandoned in the West. Pews are a relatively 'recent' invention in the West, I believe, whose absence would make more natural a place to read from as compared to an aisle normally used simply for traffic, entrances and exits.

-C said...

My former Lutheran parish (not LCMS) does a Gospel Procession every Sunday, too.

Anonymous said...

What is a Gospel Procession?

William Weedon said...

A Gospel procession is the carrying of the Gospel book or lectionary (often with Cross and torches, but not necessarily) into the midst of the Congregation for reading.


Historic Western practice was to read the Epistle from the south side of the Altar and the Gospel from the north side of the Altar.