12 August 2008

Neglected Rubrics

Inspired by Pr. Christopher Hall, I would like to point out a neglected rubric in Holy Baptism, the Altar Book, p. 366. It's number 9:

"While making the sign of the cross during the blessing after Baptism, olive oil may be used to symbolize the sealing with the Holy Spirit for salvation (Eph. 1:13-14). This oil may be applied with the thumb."

This rubric restores for us LCMS and LCC Lutherans the ancient practice of the chrism (which was still present in Luther's 1523 Order and in the 1529 Order of Olavus Petri). Boo, hiss, though, on the word "symbolize" in the rubric. Far better to say that it manifests, that is, it reveals and confesses.

We use the chrism with each Baptism at St. Paul's precisely to manifest and confess that Baptism's gift is not only remission of sins but the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.


elephantschild said...

I'm enjoying your series on neglected rubrics; I'm learning so much.

Last weekend I attended a congregation where the silence before the collect was observed. It was wonderful, but I was glad I had read about why that's done, or I might have thought the dear man had lost his place in the Altar book!

Christopher D. Hall said...

Well, I'll be! Bill, I've enjoyed your "neglected rubrics" posts, somewhat because I went over the altar book with pointy eyes and recognized all these rubrics you pointed out (to the shame of my humility).

But not this one! Thanks for this. I may try to work this in with teaching the congregation about James 5. Thanks!

Rev. James Leistico said...

interesting... the burning light and the white "garment" (let the Lutheran reader understand) are given "to show that," but the oil is to symbolize... then again, I guess we can make "to show that" mean what we want it to mean

Rev. James Vosper said...

Another neglected rubric I have used in my pastoral ministry before LSB.