19 August 2008

Thoughts on When to Use What

The LSB offers five settings of the Divine Service.

LSB I and II stand closest to LW and LBW; though with some adaptations. They offer (though as an option) the fullest form of Eucharistia found in LSB. Of the two settings, it is my opinion (nothing more) that DS II is stronger in musical presentation. Though less well known in the midwest, it is a staple across swaths of the East coast and the West coast. It is worth learning. Compare the Agnus Dei in either rite and I think you'll see what I mean.

LSB III is essentially the common service (as found in TLH p. 15). Except for the Eucharistia, it offers the closest approximation to the Roman rite in the book; rather in the line and heritage of Luther's Formula Missae.

LSB IV might be described as an Americanische Messe - it follows Luther's precedent in using hymn tune paraphrases for the ordinary of the liturgy, but unlike the Deutsche Messe, anything that is not a hymn tune is spoken. This rite also offers an invariable preface and a changing Eucharistia depending on the season of the Church Year following the Sanctus.

LSB V is likely to be relegated to Reformation festivals - it IS mostly Luther's German Mass with a few felicitous changes; yet the heavy music of the Canticles make it unlikely to ever be a weekly service here in the States.

Should a parish use all the settings? I don't think it wise, myself. There is nothing wrong with a parish basically sticking to a single ordo. Still, if more than one order is used, I think there should be in each parish a chief setting that predominates. Frankly, the historic weight of LSB III commends itself in that regard; its sturdy music does not wear thin with frequent repetition. Thus, I'd recommend assigning DS III for all Sundays outside of Easter; either DS I or II for the weeks of Easter; DS IV for weekday services that are sung; and DS V for Reformation or Presentation of the Augsburg Confession and such.


Anonymous said...

We rotate through the four settings each month, for the most part. On Reformation Sunday, we use V.
I can see the wisdom in your suggestion, but would add only that our congregation is (oddly) comprised now more of converts than lifelong Lutherans. So there's little attachment to III. And there was such easy familiarity with IV, almost immediately upon first exposure when the Supplement '98 first appeared, many would gladly use it every Sunday, it's so singable.
So the rotation works well for us. (It's a minor strain on the organist, however--that's me) :-)
Susan R

Aaron said...

Pr. Weedon,

Music and liturgical texts aside, what do you think of the wording of the order of Confession and Absolution in LSB DS IV?

Anonymous said...

Finally! Thank you Pr. Weedon. I have been surprised (and disappointed) by the number of bloggers who say a congregation should be using all the settings. I find it a major annoyance that a different service is offered every week of the month at my church. It is wonderful for The Communion in TLH to be THE Communion; one can actually concentrate on the service, rather than trying to remember liturgical music that one only gets to hear once a month (or less if it's LSB DS5). I am amazed at pastors who insist the Liturgy be used rather than made-up orders of service because it is familiar, and then vary the liturgy so much that it hardly has a chance to become familiar.

The Confession and Absolution in DS4 is certainly weaker, as the congregation lets the pastor do all the dirty work of actually confessing. I would say DS3 is the strongest setting, especially with its triple Amen at the end. The single spoken Amen in DS4 and DS5 or the horribly brief sung one (even shorter than in Matins or Vespers, what's going on here?) in DS1 just doesn't feel right to close the Divine Service.

Matins is also a wonderful setting, but since that is only a daily office, not the Hauptgottesdienst, it should not be used as such. Wouldn't it be wonderful if it was actually prayed daily in church?

(BTW, Scott Diekmann has finally been set straight on lawnmower theology.)

William Weedon said...

Dear Susan,

You're an organist. I KNEW I liked you!

Dear Aaron,

I think it is quite lacking.

Dear Anon,

It sure would be wonderful to see the Daily Office come back into its own, but maybe Treasury of Daily Prayer will assist in that restoration!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of consistency of practice:
We pray Vespers most every Wed. night. Just a few of us gather for it, and for Pastor's homily. We've done it for nearly 20 years, since Pastor has been with us.
At one point, I knew the service completely, and didn't need to open my hymnal, except for the Psalm and (to my shame) the portion of the catechism we'd cover.
But now, with the changes in the Magnificat--different words and notation, even in the Gloria Patri--we struggle anew, even with the book open. Hard to break old habits.
I don't mean to be a curmudgeon about it--I have no problem with the flow of it, or even with its having been altered--but there are enough subtle differences here and there, between LW and LSB, that the benefit of memory is now infringed upon, though of course memory isn't the only goal of praying Vespers. After all, that's why we have books to refer to, isn't it?
I guess I'm an old dog.
By the way, we pray Vespers, or any Wed. night service, a capella, and it's lovely, and an entirely different experience from Divine Service. Here's a curmedgeonly thought for you: I'd just as soon pray the entire service by simple candlelight, or even a facsimile of it. But that's probably a pietistic desire best left unanswered. But, after all, it is evening--fully night in the winter months--and I fear we've just about forgotten what evening and nighttime really are, besides mere times of day.
Susan R

Ryan said...

I tried using a rotation of services based on seasons (I (Trinity season, Lent), III (Advent,Epiphany), IV (Easter)). I though I was providing some sanctified variety within bounds. The older people loved it but the younger people hated it, some young families stopped coming to church. I found out that their pre-literate children were confused and could no longer participate compared to when we had one primary service. So we returned to using one service on a regular basis (DS I).

Our current use is DS I most of the time, DS III on fifth Sundays, DS V for Reformation Sunday, Sometimes Easter, and then I, III, or perhaps IV for non-Sunday festivals like Christmas Day, Ascension Day.

My experience with the services:

DSI - Our basic service, advantage being the expanded Kyrie (over DS III) and the ability of the service to change somewhat with the seasons (notably the Alleluia for Lent)

DSII - Grew up partially with this, music is sturdier. Never been used here. Would love to use it as a regular service but I am not willing to die on this one. Maybe I will sneak it in for a festival instead of DS V.

DSIII - Older people love, love it. I grew up mainly on it and love it. Younger people and converts find it difficult and "darker" than DSI.

DS IV - Light and Cheerful, shorter, good for once in while but looks like it would not hold up well to regular use for long periods.

DS V - Is great, can't do it much since everyone, including the Choir is tired out by the end. Who said we don't do anything in church... Liturgy (and singing) is hard work! Makes a very nice High Festival sort of service.

Hymnal wise I would gladly drop DS IV for a complete Psalter or Sunday Collects. Same goes for the dual settings of Matins and Vespers (and yes I understand the history of the dual settings, just don't personally think we need two of each)

Anonymous said...

So interesting keeping up with all this. I never realized how much the different character of each setting mattered, and after all these years of participating!
Makes me want to ask around in my congregation which people prefer and why. Just to see what thought they've given, or not.
I've heard what some think about the weekly rotation--funny how the negative reaction nearly always finds a voice. Now THAT's where we're truly consistent.
Susan R

Anonymous said...

For a little variety at the Lenten season, how about trying DS-III without the organ? Bet it would add to the "atmosphere" of the Lenten season.

It is such a shame DS-III doesn't include any Eucharistic prayers!

DS-IV and DS-V are just aweful!!!!
Might as well make up your own home-made liturgy than use these.

Tory S. said...

I grew up on Divine Service II setting I from LW (keep in mind, I'm only 19), and my congregation back home still uses it on a regular basis, even though LSB DS1 is the same except for the Offertory.

At my congregation now, we rotate pretty regularly through DS I-IV, although the clear congregational favorite is DS IV. It's much easier to sing than DS III, which, like the first respondent, isn't well known amongst our congregation of Lutheran Converts. I do agree, though, the Confession & Absolution is severely lacking.

Still, though -- I haven't sung "This is the Feast" in many months -- when my current congregation does use DS I, they sing the old-school Gloria. Good, but old habits (even for a 19-year-old) are hard to break!

Dcn. Muehlenbruch said...

I am always interested in the discussions about the "settings" of the liturgy in the LSB. But, being a traditionalist, I am not always in complete agreement with statements presented.

First of all, I am committed to the rule that we, as ordained clerics, are obliged to preserve the rite (ordo, "setting") that we have received. For me, this would be LSB DSIII.

Secondly, I would suggest that the 5 "settings" of the lithrgy in LSB are not settings, properly so called; but are 5 distinct orders of service. Settings are musical arrangements, not variations in texts.

Thirdly, with respect to tory s and the use uf This is the Feast...:
One of the strangest things that I have ever witnessed was during an Advent service. The Liturgist/celebrant announced, before the service bagen, that "since Advent is a penitential time, instead of singing the Gloria in Excelsis, we will ust the alternate - This is the Feast of Victory."

When Mass is celebrated in violet vestmants, the Gloria in Excelsis (and/or the alternate) are to be ommitted.

Bryce P Wandrey said...

When I left seminary I was a die-hard TLH 15 (DS III) guy. The congregation that I served in NC was also. We started using HS '98 DS and the reception was mixed. But by the time we bought the new hymnal quite a few people were coming up to me saying, "Pastor, can we use Hymnal Supplement DS every Sunday?" I was shocked but it is always good to get some variety and people, no matter how long they have been using one setting, can learn to love another.

Preston Paul said...

I think there is a great danger in forgeting that the actual text of the Divine Service is the most important "catechism" we have. It seems to me changing the actual text of the Mass regularly is not healthy nor wise. We use DSIII every Sunday and are considering the Healey Willan's setting for the Trinity Season. Young and old alike have fallen in love again with the Common Service. Emmanuel Press has a great little book for reintroducing the Common Service to God's people, formerly publsihed by CPH. I also should mention that I was weened off pg. 158 growing up and personally don't miss the service at all. Writing the words of the Divine Service on the hearts of God's people in one form will, I believe, bear much fruit.

Anonymous said...

It it truly fascinating to see the thinking that goes into how others select the Sunday morning services.
I must agree with using the services seasonally. DS3 for Advent, Christmas and Lent. DS1 for Epiphany and Easter. Alternating monthly during Pentecost. I must also agree with an earlier poster that having grown up on DS1&2, DS3 does seem darker and more penitential, and ideal for Lent, whereas DS1, especially with This is the Feast seems ideal for Easter.
On another note, having only used it at Seminary, I LOVE DS5, and really would like to use it on a Sunday morning, however it does not really adapt itself to a non-communion service, thus making life to confusing having to switch back and forth one Sunday to the next, both for me as Pastor and for the organist.
On a final note, Service of Prayer and Preaching is an excellent service.

Rev. Michael

J.G.F. said...

Our congregation is very good with all of the settings.

We use DSIII during Advent, Christmas and Lent (sams Gloria in Excelsis for the pentitential times, full-blown for Christmas); DSI through the ordinary time of Epiphany (with the Gloria); DSII For Easter (This is the Feast); DSIV for the summer months, and DSI (This is the Feast) for Michaelmass through Advent. We only use DS V for Reformation or one of the Lutheran days that occurs on a Sunday.

It works well for us, and our folk know all of them pretty much from memory. I guess they're quick learners :-) Sticking with one service is ok, but my folk know all of these liturgies well. Most don't use the hymnal when they sing, so they've committed all of the texts and tunes to memory. I think that's a good thing.

J.G.F. said...

oops... that "sams" Gloria is supposed to be "sans".... It's not the new Walmart version :-)

Paul McCain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul McCain said...

Bryce, it is a real tragedy that you left the pure confession of the Gospel and Sacraments and joined the Church of England, now even being ordained in that church.

William Weedon said...

Thanks all for the comments on the "settings" - I do agree with the Deacon that they are more accurately not settings, but differing services.

So how popular IS DS 4? I'd really love to know how widespread its usage.

Past Elder said...

What DS I & II stand closest to is the 1970 novus ordo of the Roman Church, the granddaddy of all "it ain't a rite, it's a setting, here's a bunch of them" worship books.

Throughout church history, various rites have existed in various times and locations, but I think several rites existing as settings of one rite in one time and/or place is another 1960s thing. While they cut and pasted among ancient sources, this type of endeavour is new, not traditional.

I am yet to be convinced that nearly 500 years on in the Reformation following the Roman Church's lead, as all the other liturgical but heterodox churches have, in this experiment is what our Lutheran fathers had in mind by zealously guarding and defending the mass.

Where is "too Catholic" when you need it?

I had a ringside seat for the coming to be of the novus ordo, going to school at one of the centres for "reform" that directly fed into it, including periti at the council. There was absolutely no bones about it -- this was a departure disguised as a continuation, a break from the scriptural and liturgical cycle of the Western Church, with new rites, a lectionary and calendar. The use of the term "setting" derives from this mindset exactly -- the mass itself exists as some sort of Platonic Ideal, admitting of various "settings", which is the complement to what we learn in Scripture class, the Gospel too admits of many settings and understandings, in which we now celebrate rather compete. It's all good, in short.

Whether one abandons the historic rite for something sources from ancient sources does not change its nature as an abandonment, and it is no different than those whose abandonment looks to Willow Creek or whatever for a replacement, or rather, an alternative, it's all good.

What it all is, is "contemporary worship", only differing in sources. So put I, II, the revised calendar and lectionary up with the Peter, Paul and Mary and Simon and Garfunkle records. Having five rites, two calendars and two lectionaries as one liturgy is hardly "historic". Maybe at the next convention we can designate "historic" liturgy as the Ordinary Form and "praise services" as the Extraordinary Form of Lutheran worship!


DS III is magnificent, though I will probably never hear it in my DSI only parish. I converted to Lutheranism at age 46, so I don't buy the convert thing. The more I learned, the more magnificent it got, and the more I wish our usage conformed to its name, common service. The preface invites a great diversity of observance, but not in the 60s sense but rather within just that, a common service.

Retaining Jacobean English in the ordinaries and using modern usage otherwise was a stroke of genius in DSIII. I don't have a problem with IV and V -- if we must have settings as rites, going to Lutheran sources is preferable to post conciliar Rome.

wmc said...

Advent/Christmas/Epiphany - DS 3
Lent/Easter - DS 1
Pentecost - DS 2 with a month or so of 4

Been doing it for 16 years (excepting DS 4) with nary a discouraging word.

Your mileage may vary.


Anonymous said...

'I converted to Lutheranism at age 46, so I don't buy the convert thing.'
Among those who grew up with III, who represent a smaller number in our congregation at present, no one's expressed any other hankering or respect for it, other than the years they spent singing it. No one's mentioned its magnificence; only its familiarity.
So, for our congregation, from what I've learned, the convert thing has purchasing power.
As was said, mileage varies.
Reading so many critiques and learned opinions will add to my approach and appreciation for the services. I needed that, unable as I am to hear them from other organists and congregations.
You sometimes ache for someone in the congregation to give you a clue here and there, though sometimes, when they do...
Susan R

Jim Huffman said...

McCain: "Bryce, it is a real tragedy that you left the pure confession of the Gospel and Sacraments and joined the Church of England, now even being ordained in that church."

Where -- precisely -- is this allegedly pure confession found?

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

The attempt to do something, even Matins, rather than DS 3 caused wrath and woe on every hand, for this pastor, the vile offender! >=o)

I prefer DS3, I'd like people to know DS 1 and 2 in case they are traveling (you should have a passing familiarity with them) - and the rhyming Sanctus of DS 4 annoys me. . . what's wrong with some free verse hymns? Down with the English poetic tyranny, down I say! That being said. . . 4 is easy to sing.

I suggested 5 for reformation, and when people saw "Isaiah, Mighty Seer" was met with looks of shock and horror. Thus, it was not done.

William Weedon said...


You and I obviously disagree with and are confounded by Bryce's decision; but please don't feel the need to point out his decision everytime he comments as though his decision made him an unwelcome commentator on my blog. He is welcome to post anytime. There is no "Lutheran only" sign for blog commentators here.


The pure confession is found in our Symbols, which we do a rather poor job of living out.


The key to selling Isaiah Mighty Seer is to have two good vocalists do the back and forth on most of the song, having the congregation join in only on the Sanctus: "Holy is God..."

Voc. 1: Isaiah Mighty seer in spirit soared
Voc 2: And saw enthroned in majesty the Lord.

Very effective if these vocalists are choir boys who are kneeling at either side of the altar. Then have the congregation join in with the Sanctus and bells and timpani and whatever else you can throw in!

The very last couplet the choir boys or vocalists would sing again.

THAT'S how to do Isaiah Mighty Seer!

Paul McCain said...


I have not "pointed out" his ordination into Anglican Orders before. This is far more than a period of "questioning" or "study" but rather a decision to leave Lutheranism. And I believe a little, "truth in advertising" is in order, since his photo shows him in a clerical. Since he won't be open and honest about his ecclesiastical affiliation, but here and elsewhere engages in a good deal of gamesmanship on the issue, it is important for your readers to know whom, precisely, is posting and what his theological commitments are.


Paul McCain said...


Where is it to be found?

Conveniently, there is a great book containing the best confession of the Christian faith of which I'm aware.


Give it a whirl!

While it is most certainly true that the confessors of this confession are men with feet of clay, poor, miserable sinners, the objective confession itself is pure, true and correct.


Bryce P Wandrey said...

First of all, my apologies to William for this interjection into what should be a substantive discussion of the orders of the DS in LSB.

But Paul, there is no gamesmanship. I have two blogs (one of which has a full bio of my life), a blogger profile (which at this point has been viewed 883 times), am a member of the Wittenberg Trail, and a member on the ALPB website. All of these sites contain an email address at which I can be reached and they always have. If anyone wants to or needs to know about my life in order to dialogue with me, they can email me. So far, you have been the only one overly concerned to do so at this point. I take it that others either know about me or just don't care.

Your efforts, no matter your motivation, are really not necessary. If people want to know about Bryce Wandrey all they need to do is Google my name...or wait for you to say something about me (I guess), whichever comes first. :)

Now, hopefully, back to the subject at hand.

Amy said...

It's in a book. Wow. Does that mean that libraries that have a copy "hold the true confession"? Is Amazon in fellowship? The internet?

What I'm wondering -- since Mr. Wandrey is being challenged on the point -- is where in the LCMS is this "pure confession of the Gospel and Sacraments" found? Amongst pastors who conduct services with Jews and Muslims? Among LCMS "clown ministries"? The LCMS claims to be a synod (actually, it claims to be a "church") which walks together, united in one faith, without division. Since those in that fellowship are making such a claim, surely it's easy to defend.

William Weedon said...


The doctrine confessed in the Lutheran Symbols is either true or it contains an admixture of falsehood or it is entirely false. If it is the truth, that truth is not nullified by bad practice (and as you pointed out - bad practice we have a plenty!). The truth, though, remains a call to repentance for us. Let's just take one of your points: the clown eucharist. How can this comport with the Lutheran Symbols asserting that the Mass is celebrated among us with greatest reverence? It can't. Thus it is an abuse, and it is a subLutheran (subChristian!) practice; it calls for repentance.

Is there any particular in the Lutheran Symbols that you hold to be a false confession of the faith once delivered to the saints?

wmc said...

Voc. 1: Isaiah Mighty seer in spirit soared
Voc 2: And saw enthroned in majesty the Lord.

Sounds like a rhyming Sanctus to me.

wmc said...

Retaining Jacobean English in the ordinaries and using modern usage otherwise was a stroke of genius in DSIII.

Hardly genius. It was under duress. "Faux-Jacobian or we won't buy the hymnal."

And it is faux-Jacobian. I gotta admit, though, I do miss the "hath holpen" of the Magnificat. Where else can you get to say that one any more?

Paul McCain said...

Pastor Cwirla, thou hath holpen me to appreciate even more faux-Jacobian.

Past Elder said...

I don't find duress and genius incompatible -- although I readily admit, I have a good deal more familiarity with the former than the latter.

The point was, with extremes arguing to either not touch a word or rewrite it totally, keeping the ordinary the same and updating the rest seems an excellent approach.

The bigger point being -- if a rite now consists of various settings, each with their own options a, b and c for, say, formulae of absolution, at what point does the ordinary cease to be, well, ordinary.

Does St John Chrysostom or any other real rite offer two or three ways to confess and absolve, a couple of alternate glorias, several "eucharistic prayers", on and on?

Related to which, our liturgical reform seems to have as its inspiration conserving what has been handed on, pruned of accretions that contradict the Gospel, so that for the most part the ceremonies are unchanged. Writing a whole new ordo is not what this is about. I see no difference between quilting something to-gether out of ancient sources rather than zealously guarding and defending the mass and quilting something to-gether out of Willow Creek and Saddleback sources -- other than the sources.

If we think it untenable to use sources outside our faith and seek to imbue them with Lutheran content, why does this become tenable when the content is from 1970 Rome? Our reform looked to what is catholic, not what is Catholic.

wmc said...

HIstorically, absolution is not part of the divine service, but belongs to private confession. Neither of Luther's two orders (yes 2!) had confession/absolution. The introduction of C/A into the divine service, whether by a strict formula or not, is somewhat of a Lutheran novelty.

The entrance rite of DS 4, which is not an absolution if you don't use the right-hand option (which is the same formula as DS 1 and 2) is drawn from the SELK hymnal.

William Weedon said...

True that Luther had no confession and absolution at that spot in his two services, but it did appear early on. It was there in 1531 in Sweden; and in Saxony in appeared solidly by 1580, but AFTER the sermon (where it still makes more sense to me).

Past Elder said...

I think that is due to the influence of the Eastern Rites, where confession and absolution happens at the start not of the whole divine service, which begins with what in the West we have called the Mass of the Catechumens, prayers, readings and a sermon in which all, believer and non-believer alike, may participate, but at the start of the Mass of the Faithful, where the non-believers are excused (now THAT'S closed communion) and the believers remain for the Sacrament.

How can one who does not believe, or has not professed his belief, confess his sins? No doubt that is why the Eastern Rites locate confession and absolution where they do, as the first act of believers about to commune in the body and blood of the Lord.

I am not arguing for the relocation of confession and absolution to its place in the Eastern rites, just saying that it does indeed make more sense for it to be where they have it. Even if we in the West have put it in a less advisable place, the modern trend to leave it out seems to come not so much from a burning desire to be faithful to ancient liturgical models, but not to muddy things up with all this sin stuff. It needs to be somewhere, and the Confiteor is said before going into the sanctuary itself.

The novus ordo jumbled this up entirely in its attempt to reGreekify the Western Rite -- "Lord, have mercy" losing altogether its nature as a petitionary response (having lost the petitions in the West!) and becoming a penitential response to a sin just named (For the times we have ___, Lord have mercy) in yet another Roman mess. At least we got it right, even in LBW, the confession and absolution being then done and separated by the traditional "In peace let us pray to the Lord" with the first few petitions from the First Litany of the East said -- which for me makes what follows of Vatican II For Lutherans in DS I & II tolerable, in the Latin and medical sense.

Anonymous Lutheran said...

I'm a little late commenting on this, but I thought that as a relatively recent convert (three years ago), I'd chime in on LSB III.

My home church uses LSB I. Before we got LSB, we used I's predecessor in LW on Communion Sundays, and Matins on Sundays without Communion. We are no longer using Matins. (And though I love This Is the Feast, I find singing it without having Communion afterwards to be incredibly weird.)

The first time I visited a church that still used TLH I was completely lost. *At the time*, I found myself thinking how glad I was that most LCMS congregations seemed to have abandoned that order.

My second and third experiences with this service (these times as LSB III) were much the same.

The strange part is that my fourth experience (TLH again) was completely different. I had no problem at all following along, and I actually loved it.

I don't think I simply got used to it, either; this church was somehow doing it differently. I think pacing might have had something to do with it, but I'm not sure.

The reason I'm saying all this is that I think converts' supposed dislike of LSB III may have at least as much to do with how a church does this service, as with the service itself.

Since my last experience with this service, I've often found myself wishing to go back. I can't really say just why--maybe I should do a side-by-side comparison of the services and see how they differ.