Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Red Letter Words
With these words, the Introduction to the Lectionary (of LSB) tells us something of the nature and history of the Word of God that calls and gathers the Church of God from the earliest of days to the present time. "Lectors" who brought the epistles to the congregations in Paul's name then read his words to the people to whom they were addressed. Christ continues to speak through His ambassadors -- in lection and sermon. When we say "the Word of the Lord" we mean "thus saith the Lord."
We keep traditional public ceremonies, such as the order of the lessons, prayers, vestments, etc. . . . The purpose of observing ceremonies is that men may learn the Scriptures and that those who have been touched by the Word may receive faith and fear and so also we pray... (AP XXIV 1, 3)
I am amazed at the good words about the Word that we find in hidden places in LSB. I doubt that many ever read this introduction and therefore miss a brief but excellent history of the lectionary, of the lector or reader, of the more modern use of a three year cycle vs the one year, and a host of other informative points. When we merely turn to the page for the readings of the day, we may miss a bit of the explanations that give insight to what we are doing when we read the Word of the Lord to the people of God assembled for worship, how we might read that Word, and what brought these particular choices to the pages of our lectionary.
As the very Word of God, the Scripture readings are the high point of the Service of the Word. Of the three readings, the Holy Gospel holds the highest dignity.... Within the Service of the Word, even the Sermon stands in service to the Gospel Reading. If the liturgy is pictured as a mountain range, the Holy Gospel and the distribution of the Lord's Supper are its two highest peaks...
Read the introductions. Read the ancillary material. There are treasures to be found there...