14 March 2009

You Know What Floats My Boat?

Planning Easter Vigil! I love that liturgy above all others. I'm really looking forward to it this year - no Baptisms that day, but we will be confirming four (possibly five) adults. What joy to return to Baptism as the fount of our life in the Savior and to rejoice in sharing His resurrection victory that evening!


Cha said...

That was always my favorite liturgy as a Lutheran, too!

Come to think of it, Holy Saturday liturgy - much like western Easter Vigil in several ways - is still my favorite liturgy all year.

William Weedon said...

Yes, having attended both, there is a commonality there. Of course, I still prefer the Western rite...

Past Elder said...

For my first several years as a Lutheran, there was no service whatever between Good Friday and Easter morning! Nor did I know there was one in Lutheranism, until I found an "alternate" service stuck someplace on my former synod's website, and thought holy crap (sounds better in Latin) that's the Easter Vigil I served all the time as a kid!

And I was just starting to think this "Lutheran" way of expressing the tomb with nothing in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday was OK!

I'll have to say though, I really do like these "tenebrae" Good Friday services rather than the traditional one with the petitions (Flectamus genua!), the reproaches and the adoration of the cross.

Even though that's got to be among the most ancient of services too -- with Greek surviving in it even in Latin, the only place other than the Kyrie where this happens.

Geez, I remember when Pius XII stuck Communion at the end, which overturned the whole idea that on Good Friday, to underscore the reality of crucifixion, it was the one day of the year when Communion is not available. Mass of the Presanctified. Sounds like something by Wagner.

But man, the seven words, the candles going out one by one, then -- STREPITUS! I about came right out of the pew the first time, like the old order of sin was broken, the veil of the Temple rent, and the mercy seat of God open to all was for real! BAM!

Dcn Latif Haki Gaba SSP said...

Fr. Weedon: I am looking forward to the Paschal Vigil as well. We at St, Stephen's, Milwaukee, will have the Vigil this year for what might be the first time ever in this parish. And Fr. May tells me that we will have two Baptisms.

Scott said...

Pr. Weedon,
For the first time ever, teh board of Deacons(Elders) and Pastor of my parish is considering observing the vigil, but we need help with the liturgy and rubrics etc. Would you be able to lend us a hand? We would greatly appreciate it.

You can contact me at scott at schreibnet dot com if you can assist us in re-instituting this ancient and wonderful service.

Scott Schreiber
Bd of Deacons
Christ Lutheran Church, Cleveland OH

Dcn Latif Haki Gaba SSP said...

Past Elder,
I have fond memories of serving at the Easter Vigil as a boy and young man at a Lutheran parish on the North Side of Milwaukee. So ever since those days I have tried to find the Vigil in whatever city I find myself. Last year, when I was still living in Fort Wayne, I did an unusual thing: I attended two complete Vigil liturgies in one evening! First the one at Zion Lutheran Church, which started at 7 p.m., as I recall, & took about two & a half hrs, and then at about 11 o'clock I went to the Latin one at Sacred Heart, celebrated by Fr. George Gabet (one of the men I definitely miss since I moved). Fr. Gabet is a priest of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (which I admire just because three of the four letters in its abreviation are SSP) and a most competent liturgist of the traditional rite. That Vigil took over three hrs. I was glad to get some rest the next day.

Past Elder said...

I'd be interested in which Good Friday service you guys are having -- a tenebrae type or the ancient one?

Last year my parish did a kind of tweener. Didn't do the Seven Last Words thing, but read the Passion from John which is the traditional one for Good Friday, but in sections with candles going out etc.

What's funny is, tenebrae in RC usage is, or was, a three day thing, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, basically doing Matins and Lauds for those days the night before. The same 1955 reforms of Pius XII that stuck in Communion also stopped that. So even the so-called traditionalists with the 1962 rite -- early Bugnini for those who can't hack later Bugnini, the novus ordo -- don't have the tradition.

Maybe one of you knows when the Seven Last Words thing came in re Tenebrae. The original readings are from Lamentations, St Augustine and St Paul.

Lamentations is particularly apt. It is read on Tisha be'Av, commemorating the destruction of the first Temple, and the exact day on which the second Temple was destroyed too. So it only fits to be read on the day of the destruction of the real Temple, Jesus, who rose again!

Throw in a strepitus and I'm down with that.

Past Elder said...

Oh I forgot -- they tacked on the Bidding Prayer from the traditional Good Friday too last year. No flectamus genua/levate though.

William Weedon said...


Just email me with anything I can do to help.


We hold the traditional service at noon (though I begin on my knees, rather than my face) with the Gospel of John reading, the bidding prayer, the reproaches, and the adoration of the cross. This year for the first time, we'll also offer the Sacrament.

Then in the evening, we hold Tenebrae Vespers. We do both services exactly as they are listed in LSB.

Past Elder said...

The adoration of the cross is supposed to take the place of Communion. Thursday, supper. Friday, cross.

Past Elder said...

Also, follow up question -- I only have the pew edition LSB, which doesn't have Tenebrae. What readings does it use -- Seven Last Words, John, Lamentations, ???.

William Weedon said...

The Tenebrae prays Psalms 22, 2, 27 and 51 (after each of which a candle is extinguished) then the St. John Passion divided into two parts (after each of which a candle is extinguished), then following the sermon there is a canticle (Song of Habakkuk) and closing prayers at the conclusion of which the final candle is extinguished.

The readings appointed for the Chief Service are:Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9; and the Saint John Passion (interspersed with the O Sacred Head).

Past Elder said...

Interesting. The Roman Rite has, for the "chief service" which is also the only service, two Lessons, one from Osee (Hosea) and one from Exodus, to show the application to both Jews and Gentiles, then the Passion of St John, the Communion passages of which were the readings for that on Maundy Thursday.

There are two tracts too, one from Hab 3 and the other from Psalm 139.

I wonder where they got the Tenebrae readings. The traditional ones are Lamentations, St Augustine's commentary on Psalm 54 (Vulgate, 55 otherwise) and Hebrews 4:15-5:10 and 9:11-15. Hab in the synagogue is associated with the Second Day of Shavuoth (Pentecost) as the haftorah, not the Passover.

I wonder where and/or when Die sieben letzten Worte got going for Tenebrae.

Re Communion on Good Friday, in RC this is different too. One can have a Communion service without having Mass, due to the idea of the reserved sacrament and the presence beyond the usus. The hosts are consecrated the night before on Holy Thursday, hence the term Mass of the Presanctified. Thus, Communion can be had yet still retain the idea that on Good Friday to emphasise its character it is the one day when Mass is still not said even if Communion is now offered.

Anonymous said...

Re Communion on Good Friday, in RC this is different too. One can have a Communion service without having Mass, due to the idea of the reserved sacrament and the presence beyond the usus.

Yep, that's what I experienced as an RC for ten years.

Since Lutherans do not have a "Liturgy of the Presanctified" I am most curious as to how this is resolved. I don't recall ever having attended a Lutheran Good Friday service in which Communion was distributed.