22 March 2013

This was too fascinating...

...to let languish in a comment box. See if you agree!

Pr. Matthew Johnson made this observation:

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? 

Well, the typical prayer form used after the sermon can be found at the end of the third volume of the House Postils, on page 390.

The order of the bids?

[For pastors]
So let us pray first of all for the spiritual government and the beloved office of the holy ministry...

[For hearers]
That He would give us a grateful heart so that we might love his Holy Word, have great regard for it, and by hearing it, bear fruit and amend our lives, so that we not only understand it correctly, but also live in accordance with it and do good works and daily grow in faith and good works...

[For civil authority]
Let us pray also for the civil government... the emperor... our prince.

[For citizens]
the common weal governed well that we may be obedient and upright.

May each pray for himself.

his wife.

and children.

and for whatever is entrusted to him.

for all who are distressed in body and soul.

Now, whether the Table of Duties shapes the prayer or the prayer shapes the Table of Duties, I think Pr. Johnson's "aha" is most helpful. In it we see something of the symbiosis of lex orandi, lex credendi. So, thanks, Pr. Johnson for the insight!

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