24 April 2011

One of the Peculiarities

of Holy Week and Vigil is how the services change quite a bit actually from their wont.  The result is the liturgist has to be constantly thinking and rethinking what he's supposed to be doing as he leads them.  For a control freak like me, this definitely adds great stress, and LSB increased the stress by some rubrical changes that I had to learn from scratch.  It's been a good experience, though, over all and this year finally I think I'm settling into remembering what changes and when.  I did have a few hiccups.  We were halfway through the Hymn of Praise at Vigil before I realized that the altar candles had not been lighted (John read my mind and quickly attended to that); and then I remembered a conversation I had with Kenny before the start of the liturgy.  He remembered that there was something peculiar about the bell, but for the life of me my mind went blank.  We normally ring it at the start of the Hymn of Praise until it's conclusion.  Oops.  I also found out in previewing the Vigil in the bulletin right before the service was to begin, that Builder had done an odd substitution at the start of the Baptismal Remembrance and that what was in the bulletin was more like the introduction to an ordinary Baptism than to the Baptismal Remembrance of the Vigil - oh well, too late to do anything about that then!   The result was that Romans 6 was not read and that felt decidedly odd.  Builder also won't print the music for the Preface in the Service of Light, with the result that Pr. Gleason had to hold that heavy Altar Book for me at the font. Hopefully that will be fixed by next year.  The only peculiarities for Easter season is that the gradual is dropped and the Alleluia is doubled, and since that happens for weeks on end, that is rather easy to remember.


Anonymous said...

I agree that the Vigil really takes a lot of planning and thought, but it is so rich. I invited a brother pastor from a town 30 miles away to help me this year. It was fun for both of us. I so enjoy hearing the Exultet, and chanting the 2nd part (does it have a name, or is it also part of the Exultet?) after the preface. The liturgy, readings, and prayers of Holy Week are splendid! Those who don't come really are missing out.

Rev. Michael Erickson
Zion, Pampa, TX

Tapani Simojoki said...

Yep, I got caught out, too. It was the first ever Easter Vigil in the history of this congregation, and (being my second Easter since my ordination) the first in my ministry. Not many members attended, but we did have a baptism and a good number of visitors who came for that.

It struck me that you can't leave the Easter Vigil and remain hazy about the reality of our Lord's saving presence in Word, water, bread and wine! Lex orandi lex credendi, on steroids.

A big thank you for your part in the organising of our Triduum services.

Past Elder said...

I served at least half a dozen of these Vigils from just after it was moved from Saturday morning to Saturday night in 1955 and before the Vatican II "reforms" started happening, and the rest after that.

I really see no point in it. The original idea was a watch culminating with baptism and the Sacrament at dawn. The silence between Good Friday and Easter morning expresses the difference between the two much more than carrying on for a couple hours or more on Saturday night and leaving in the dark.

The Exultet -- or as they spell it now, Exsultet -- is not the only or even the original Praeconium. Nor is the modern prayer the old one. The prayer for the Holy Roman Emperor was only officially removed in 1955, though it had not been used since the last one abdicated in 1804, though a modification was allowed for Napoleon III.

The Praeconium Paschale is essentially an elaborated Preface, which is why it seems to be in two parts. It's all one thing.

We just don't need this stuff, and none of it is in any way a recapturing of a pre-dawn watch of the "early church", just a recapturing of the ceremonies of the state church of the Holy Roman Empire.

Michael L. Anderson, M.D., Ph.D said...

The Lord's dear battered body was silent, between Good Friday and His glorious Resurrection, to be sure; but I suspect the harrowing of hell was as noisy as ... well, as hell. Whatever differences the graying eyes of flesh perceive as existing between Sunday and Friday, these things are in reality overcome and swept away by a loud shout of triumph and gutsy accomplishment. "Don't weep for Me," the Redeemer Pantocrater says. He told the grieving daughters of Jerusalem that, on Friday; and the grieving Mary of Magdala, on Sunday.

In any event, the point to it all may have been best summarized by the psalmist, long before 1955 A+D: "I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord." (Ps 122:1)

"Glad?" One senses from this bubbly testimony, that the lyricist was absolutely thrilled to go into the Lord's designated dwelling, be it some tent with a fence.

On a Saturday, yet! Let that rich Benedicite Opera Omnia ... the good times ... roll!

William Weedon said...

PE rejects everything that came with V2, so when it comes to things like this, I politely ignore him (as he no doubt has noticed). It's just a fixation of his, and given his personal history in this regard, one I respect, but think is a bit unbalanced. He can yell at me later...

Past Elder said...

Vatican II? The Vigil existed for centuries before that, the work in some German Lutheran circles to reconstitute an Easter Vigil and the effect that had on the 1955 changes are also before Vatican II. My points apply to any Vigil.

Anonymous said...

Past Elder is right on the mark. Pius the XII was papal nuncio to Germany. He was quite enamored of German culture and his research into the work of German Lutheran scholars influenced his restoration of the vigil in the Catholic church.

As for “unbalanced”, well, that’s quite an appropriate word for what I experienced at a local Catholic parish this past weekend when a former ELCA relative was received into the Roman church. The entire affair put me in mind of a Broadway production what with music that ranged from sounding like My Fair Lady to Israeli hip hop. The readings were truncated, the lights stayed on most of the time after the “Exsultet” when they should have been kept down until the Gloria, and the large plain glass water bowl placed on a small table right in front of the altar for baptism of the neophytes left me feeling sorry for the neglected baptismal font.

At one point my Lutheran sister asked if the congregation was going to get to sing and I said not any time soon. She also asked if sermons are usually so short. Ditto. Made me more glad than ever to attend my LCMS parish the next morning.

I guess one has to live within the walls of Rome before one can really appreciate what it is today. Reading about it, even occasional attendance at a Roman mass will never give the whole picture. As I posted on another Catholic blog, my cradle Catholic father and husband wouldn’t even have recognized what went on at that vigil. When what was once “ordinary” becomes “extraordinary” and lives alongside the formerly “ordinary” somethin’ ain’t right in Mount Idy nor does it change the woeful errors that still exist in Roman theology.

The Roman yearnings by some parts of the LCMS are a mystery to me. Rome does not recognize the ordination of Lutheran pastors nor the validity of our Sacrament of the Altar, nor does she yet speak the clear and firm hope that we have in Christ for our own resurrection (as the pastor of the Roman parish stated, because of the Resurrection we have the “possibility” of eternal salvation).

Our catholicity does not depend on Roman Catholicity.