06 June 2011

It Just Occurred to Me

that we are almost five years into the "new" hymnal, Lutheran Service Book.  Wow!  They have flown by.  I think it was in early August of 2006 that the hymnals appeared in St. Paul's pews - we got to be the first congregation of Synod to have them.  We also were the first to notice the misprinting in some of the volumes!  Pr. Gleason's wife found yet another misprinted hymnal just the other day.  We've mostly got them all replaced gratis - thank you, CPH!

There were disappointments, of course, but over all LSB has been enormously well received here as in the Synod as a whole.  You can pretty much walk into any LCMS congregation (except the far out contemporary worship ones) and find it in the pews - though it is used to varying degrees in various places.  Still, it's a comfort to find a familiar hymnal ready and waiting.  It truly is the next "TLH" - the hymnal set to last for a generation and more - built to last.

In our parish, we've mastered Divine Service 3, 4, and 5.  We also know Matins and Evening Prayer, and some of our members have learned Compline and Service of Prayer and Preaching (Catechism Service).  We've learned a number of new hymns that have quickly become "old favorites" and we still have others we're working on mastering (like last Sunday's "Christ is the World's Redeemer").  Occasionally, we switch back to an old TLH tune (our folk absolutely love Spanish Chant for "Savior, When in Dust" - so we sing that though the new tune is a better fit to the text, in my opinion).  Private Confessions, Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, and Funerals are all "right out of the book."  We've learned most of the Psalm tones and are comfortable chanting Psalms, Introits, etc.

Behind the scenes, the Hymn Selection Guide (also built into Builder) is an absolute God-send.  We rarely depart from its suggestions.  Builder is not Mac native, but since we use the One Year Series, I only needed to create the bulletins in Builder once - after that, I tweak them yearly in Word and rarely need to access Builder itself anymore.  The Altar Book is remarkably complete and very easy to use.  I set the ribbons before each liturgy (one at the Kyrie, Gloria / one at the Preface for the day / one at the Prayer of the Church / one for the Propers of the Day; and I keep a permanent tab at the Sanctus and following) - a little practice and the ribbon turning becomes second nature.

As far as I can see, the biggest mistake was NOT including the Passion Readings in the Lectionary and instead placing them in the Altar Book - that means that each Lent I have to bring my personal Altar Book from home and put it on the Lectern for midweek Lenten Vespers. And that's my biggest complaint!  Honest injun!  It's just an exceedingly well thought out and put together set of books.  When I remember what it was like when I started, well, I'm just very thankful to the Synod and Commission on Worship for providing such an outstanding and unified resource. It makes being a pastor wonderfully simple - at least as far as liturgy is concerned.


revalkorn said...

Thanks for reminding me. I have my "after one year" LSB critique post to write.

William Weedon said...

I'd be interested in reading what you have to say on that. Where will you post it?

Jeremy Loesch said...

I put something in our newsletter about our 4 year anniversary with LSB. I try to do a 'summer reading list' article but this year I only advertised one book- LSB. Of all the books I publicize that CPH has produced, the most valuable might be LSB. (People already have Bibles, and if cost is a factor and it is, then LSB is it!)

The more I live with LSB the better it becomes.

Will, I would like you to know that your writing and talking about the practicality, spirituality, and vitality of the liturgy has been very instructive to me and I appreciate the things you have to say on this topic. There are others who have helpful things to say, but this is your blog and I'll say it to you here: thanks.


Terry Maher said...

LSB is in the pews at my parish too. And that's exactly where it stays, in the pews. Nobody uses it but me, since everything is both in the bulletin and on the screen, so there is no familiarity with using the volume itself. And I only use it for the hymns, for the bass line, since I practice something even more arcane than knowing how to use a hymnal, part singing, basso grosso in my case.

Watching LSB come to-gether on the LCMS site was one of the major factors in my joining LCMS.

On the one hand, it is a smorgasbord in the style of all (take a breath, here it comes!) post Vatican II novus ordo wannabes and as such does not and can not address the smorgasbord mentality in liturgy since it is itself a smorgasbord, but simply adds to the debate of what is to be served at the smorgasbord.

On the other hand, even though fatally infected with the virus of the age, it manifestly stands head and shoulders above all other similar efforts both before (including Rome's) and after it, and the outstanding job of revising the Common Service -- even though I have never seen it ever in LCMS and doubt I ever will even as it lives incognito in the cornucopia as DSIII -- is itself worth the price of the book.

William Weedon said...


Thanks for the kind words. Sometime in the near future Issues will be doing a series on the liturgy again - this time featuring what we have in LSB. Much looking forward to working on that.


I am utterly amazed that you have no parishes around you that utilize DS III - it is still widely used in these parts, and greatly loved. It's our normal service, of course. DS IV and V are "grace notes" to the main melody of the Common Service as we use them.

christl242 said...

I consider myself fortunate that my parish uses LSB, "from the book" and am grateful that we use DSIII. It's too bad that some parts of the Synod don't use it, they are missing the riches of our liturgical heritage.

Some parts of LSB are actually old friends for me from my ELCA Lutheran Book of Worship with the caveat that LSB does far better what LBW attempted to do.

Plus, we don't have the 9, 10 or eleven, I can never remember which, settings for Holy Communion that the ELCA's Evangelical Lutheran Worship has nor do we have to engage the political correctness and gender issues that ELW bend over backwards to include.

I think LSB is a fine hymnal in retaining the best of the old and offering some of the best of the new.


Terry Maher said...

LBW -- ugh!

About 1984 -- post RC pre Lutheran for me -- I was working on a little project for Carlos Messerli and he gave me a copy.

After working through it, I thought if this is all the Lutherans have I might as well have stayed in Rome with the novus ordo. It put off any thought of Lutheranism for me for years, until God played some serious hardball and sent it in a much better looking package named Nancy.

Nonetheless, if we gotta Greek up the Western rite, at least DSI and its antecendents did it right in presenting a mini version of the First Litany rather than a hacked to hell penitential thing like the novus ordo.

But still nevertheless and speaking of hacked to hell, if it were not for my time in WELS, which used the Common Service from Christian Worship, with its ridiculous relocation of the Kyrie, I would never hace heard a Common Service in any version anywhere as a Lutheran.

revalkorn said...

I'll post it on my blog: pastoralkorn.blogspot.com

It will take a few days to get it posted, as the sermon work will come first.

christl242 said...

LBW -- ugh!

Ugh he says! I'll tell ya what, when my ELCA parish (and this was back in the day before the powers that be in Chicago ruined what might have been a noble venture) celebrated a liturgy for the completion of our new church building one of the invitees was the Catholic priest of the local RC parish. He was very impressed by the quality of our worship, especially the singing. Novus ordo Catholics should be so lucky :)

And . . . AND . . . we had COMMUNAL celebrations of Vespers and it was lovely. There's quite a bit of material in LBW that exists in LW as well.

It is sad to think what the ELCA might have been. It had its glory days and some fine theologians like Frank Senn.


Terry Maher said...

I'm sure he was. LBW is the best piece of Vatican II For Lutherans I have seen! My point was, if it's gonna be Vatican II, might was well stick with the original rather than knock offs.

The most, from a show biz point of view, impressive Lutheran service I know is the ELCA one on cable here -- all organ and choir, no screens, no praise bands, right from the book liturgy, and full vestments -- on the priestitute who presides.

LW always struck me as simply the LBW LCMS hoped it would be.

Rev. James Leistico said...

my only complaint - no collects.

I know how much I have been living LSB when I pick up a TLH or a LW and try to find something where LSB has it. Even such a little (?) thing as the orderly and logical nature of the sections (putting the Psalms first, putting the rites baptism to confirmation to wedding to funeral) has affected the way I judge other hymnals.

christl242 said...

My point was, if it's gonna be Vatican II, might was well stick with the original rather than knock offs.

Well, had you visited my ELCA parish I think you might have found that the "knock off" was actually quite superior to the "original" -- at that time Catholic Parishes were using "Glory and Praise" for their music, which is right up there with Oregon Catholic Press and the Saint Louis Jesuits. Yuk.

Before its Chicago-led ecumania the hymns and services in the ELCA at that time were still recognizably Lutheran. Unfortunately that is no longer the case and is the reason I am where I am now and am very glad we have such a fine hymnal as LSB.


Terry Maher said...

The knock off is better than the original, and it has nothing to do with the singing in this or that parish. My favourite example of that "better" I mentioned before; in the novus ordo in the Greeking up that was so much a part of the so-called liturgical movement the Kyrie, which is a vestigal remain of the First Litany anyway, got morphed into one of the options for confession and absolution, whereas in what is now DSI, a revision of a "setting" from LBW and LW, it retains its character as the First Litany, a mini version of the original.

While it's nice that Lutheran "scholars" got it right where Rome characteristically botched it, it remains derivative in essence, even if the derivation is superior to the original, and, if that is what a Lutheran book of worship is, a Lutheranising of the latest Roman ordo, then one might as well stay with the original because that, Rome, is still what is calling the shots that wannabes in turn modify to suit themselves.

Added to which, years later on reading the BOC it was clear that such a procedure was not at all the basis of Lutheran liturgical reform, but rather to retain the ceremonies previously in use, not recently promulgated by Rome, except where they contradict the Gospel.

Then after having waded into the Lutheran "worship wars", it sttuck me and still strikes me as absurd to counter the efforts to take a manner of worship of non-Lutheran origin and imbue it with Lutheran content in the case of the "evangelical" inspired services with an effort to take a manner of worship of non-Lutheran origin and imbue it it with Lutheran content in the case of the novus ordo.

Either way arriving at contemporary worship just from different sources but neither what the Confessions speak of.

Such efforts were roundly and soundly blasted by Walther, when this nonsense was the "New Measures" of the Methodists and others of the time, and now it has been extended both to the new measures, which are the same measures, of our time as well as the new measures of Rome.

christl242 said...

The knock off is better than the original, and it has nothing to do with the singing in this or that parish.

Not so sure about that. Lutheran hymns have a decidedly different "teachable moment" than the crap (sorry to use such a strong word but it fits) that Oregon Catholic Press puts out with its glorification of the self put to music.

Even within the ELCA there was a variance in practice just as there is in the LCMS now, with CoWo existing alongside "traditional" worship.

As for Rome "calling the shots", well, let's just wait and see if the ELCA jefes in Chicago go along with Rome's latest revisions in the third Roman missal. I very much doubt that the gender-inclusive ELCA Evangelical Lutheran Worship is going to return to the texts that Catholics will be using come Advent 2010.

Nevertheless, Walther's points are well taken. It is ironic that on the one hand the RCL became the property of so much of the Protestant mainstream but at the same time deviated from Rome in their approach to women's ordination, etc. since both camps now use the historical-critical method of Biblical interpretation.

We in the LCMS are truly blessed to have LSB.


Kurt Flathers said...

We have just had LSB for about a 6 months now. We are kind of behind in the times, but then again, some in our congregation want to stay behind. We had used TLH up until 1994. So many in the congreagation did not want to change...then Pastor and Elders decided to switch, but not to LW, we went over to WELS and used the CW from them. IT was a change, but not a big change. People got use to it. Then, 2 years ago, our Pastor retired, and we called a candidate. He has come in and made changes. We started using LSB on the first Sunday in January this year. I have enjoyed it very much,a nd we have only done setting one. We are going to start using Divine sevice III in near future to.
What has gottent o me the most is the complaining of people in the congregation. "I do not know how to sing Amen anymore!" "The services take too long with new hymnal." "Why do we have teh creed and prayers after the sermon, rather than after the offering." "I cannot sing anymore, it is not same tune as before or different!" "Why did we have to change?"

It kind of irks me that we have so many worried about change, rather than listening to the Word, recieving the sacrament of the altar, and praising the Trinity in word and song. I love the new hymnal....the new settings, the new hymns...I enjoy it all. It makes us feel like we can use the hymnal along side the Word as a guide and tool for our lives and our worship at home, in church, and abroad. It is all self-contained.

LSB Rocks!

revalkorn said...

As promised: http://pastoralkorn.blogspot.com/2011/06/my-year-with-lsb.html

Terry Maher said...

There's the difference between pastor mentality and the butts in the pews.

Us butts are quite interested in hearing the Word and receiving the Sacrament. What we are not interested in is becoming liturgists and getting all into this or that version why or why not etc etc -- exactly why Luther advised keeping all that professional shop talk within its own circles, but otherwise pick a form and stick with it.

Terry Maher said...

Hymns are not part of any promulgated RCC rite.

Indeed Walther's point is well taken, and indeed the novus ordo pattern and calendar and lectionary have become, with denominational revisions, the common property of mainstream Protestntism, which indeed has departed from not only Rome's but their own traditional ways on matters like WO.

And now we have our denominational version of the same thing. Wonderful. Puts us just like not only Rome but mainstream Protestantism, and whether it is that or the "evangelical" stuff, either way one is appropriating an essentially non- and un-Lutheran worship and attempting to revise and endow it with a Lutheran identity.

Rev. Allen Bergstrazer said...

My, it has been that long? The congregation I previously served recieved the first shipment of LSB and though probably wasn't the first in the Synod, was probably the first in the district to recieve them. They were dedicated on the 100th anniversary celebration whose theme was 'Sing to the Lord a new song.' It was a bit of a challenge at first because there were no Altar or Accompaniment books yet. We made the jump from TLH to LSB having used HS98 to learn Setting 4. We spent 2 years preparing for the new hymnal and so it wasn't a painful transition at all. However I consider myself blessed to have started out in two congregations that still had TLH.

christl242 said...

Hymns are not part of any promulgated RCC rite.

No, they aren't but they can subtly change what people believe.

Just try singing all the stanzas of Haugen's "Gather Us In" for a while.

You'll see what I mean.