06 March 2013

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

The catechism shapes the piety of Lutheranism as it not only provides a compendium of Christian doctrine, but a pattern for praying.—Pr. John Pless "The Triangular Shape of the Pastor's Devotional Life" in Lord Jesus Christ, Will You Not Stay?, p. 329.


Matthew Johnson said...

In our congregational Lenten catechesis we recently covered the Lord's Prayer, noting the wonderful way in which Dr. Luther answers the question "How is God's Name kept holy?" The answer is chalk full of PETITIONS such as "Help us to do this dear Father in heaven!" and "Protect us from this, heavenly Father!" Luther here gives explicit expression to what is true throughout, the catechism may be prayed.

Another example would be in the Meaning to the Second Article, where Luther concludes the meaning (underscoring the resurrection of our Lord) by means of the wording used in the termination of collects: "just as He is risen from the dead, LIVES AND REIGNS to all eternity. This is most certainly true (i.e. amplified Amen)."

Matthew Johnson said...

Pr. Weedon-

This past Wednesday our congregation covered the Table of Duties, noting that it follows immediately upon the Daily Prayers. I noted that prayer and work belong together and that we ought to give at least as much attention, preparation, and energy to our prayers as to our work and callings (and then made the Lenten connection to Christ's High Priestly Prayer and the prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane before He undertook is great work and calling).

In commenting on the Table of Duties I noted that in the Large Catechism Luther underscores the household estate as the foundational estate of the three, so then we pondered on why the order is this in the S.C.: ecclesiastical, political, household (though Arand notes that the majority of Scripture passages are found under the foundational household estate in his "That I May Be His Own"). Is it possible or even likely that because of prayer Luther ordered the Small Catechism in this way? Consider the Prayer of the Church, in which we pray first for the Church/churches/ministers (as in the old diptychs), then for the government/military, and then for the married/children/youth/industry/commerce/arts/the sick, etc. Perhaps prayer (the Prayer of the Church) served as the basis for the ordering of the table of duties/work?

William Weedon said...

That is a fascinating question. The form of prayer usually used for a "general" prayer can be found in vol. 3 of the House Postils p. 390. The order found in this bidding prayer is:

spiritual government and office of the holy ministry and proper understanding of the Word; civil government (and then again for all pastors and ministers in Christendom); for the Emperor and against the Turk; and protection for the Emperor against the devil, the pope!; for the prince; for ourselves, our families, and all who are distressed in body or soul. So, roughly, YES.