- The bulletin does not include liturgical options NOT being used on that Sunday. The bulletin does include a thin column which lists Scriptures and brief explanations of those parts of the service.
- The creed used is the text of the Nicene Creed proposed for LSB but, at the last minute, changed by the LCMS Convention to ditto what was in LW. Since I knew that "catholic" and the plural "we believe" might be an issue, I taught this and introduced it prior to our review of the hymnal -- mostly to separate these issues from the new book so that the new hymnal would NOT be rejected because of these changes. As I said, this began long before it was shipped in the late fall of 2006. This is in line with the official text of the creed from the councils more than 1500 years ago and actually reflects Luther's creedal hymn Wir glauben all or We all believe. The word Christian is a late medieval substitution which was done by some in Germany long before Luther was even born and has become a shibboleth for anti-Roman sentiment among many Lutherans even though it has nothing to do with any Reformation dispute. In fact, it is NOT a good substitute for catholic since it means something very different. Funny how Lutherans find it hard to swallow but other denominations, especially those whose confessions (if they have them) and practice never claim to be catholic, use the word without an issue but Lutherans, whose confessions explicitly claim catholicity are uncomfortable with the word in the creed. As far as inconsistency is concerned with respect to an infrequent funeral bulletin, occasionally I screw up and use a template from an older time -- accidental and not devious and definitely unintentional.
- We add an "announcement of the day" in which a few sentences about the day in the church year, the theme of the liturgy, and a word about the lessons gives context to folks who have trouble relating to the church calendar.
- We substitute a Eucharistic Prayer for the naked Words of Institution. The EP is taken from one of the prayer forms already in LSB (but set as a prayer of thanksgiving apart from the Words of Institution or divided up in the general prayer or hidden in some other way in the book) or in one of the other previously published books by our church (Hymnal Supplement 98, LW, Worship Supplement, Worship in the Name of Jesus, English translation of El Culto Cristiano, among others).
Some complain about the cost of it all (actually about the cost of two reams of legal size paper per week or about $15 worth of paper, about $5 worth of ink, and about $40 worth of secretarial time). So for about $60 per week, the whole bulletin is printed. We print less than the number of people in worship since the first service folks keep one copy though they used several in worship; they recycle them for use at second service. We also recycle any leftovers at the local paper recycling center. We are very green! So we spend
Are there folks who do not like the practices outlined above? Sure. Are there folks who love them? Sure. Are there folks, most of them in fact, who have no strong feelings either way? Sure.
Now for the issue of preference. The truth? If left to my own devices I would probably end up doing a pretty bad job of a combo comedy/inspirational monologue each week instead of the liturgy. What I do is guided not by personal preference but by liturgical conviction born of Lutheran confessional identity. All through our Confessions we insist that we have not abolished the Mass, we keep all church usages, ceremonies, and traditions which do not conflict with the Gospel, and our practice is guided by our Confessions and not by anything else. Can I help it that we Lutherans forgot what we confessed for a few hundred years, choosing to live as pseudo-Protestants on Sunday morning? We Lutherans cannot claim the Confessions as a heritage. We confess them anew in every age. They are not theoretical documents but the practical and defining confessions that inform our Sunday morning. Lutheranism is, as Sasse said, "the lonely way" of those who are neither Roman nor evangelical (modern sense).
Some of us Lutherans prefer to be like generic American Christians who follow a book on Sunday morning. Some of us Lutherans prefer to be like generic evangelicals who mirror the entertainment and cultural values of the moment on Sunday morning. Some of us Lutherans prefer all the smells and bells on Sunday morning. Then we act as if congregationalism means that each Lutheran congregation either chooses to be one of those (or chooses to be all of those but at different times on a Sunday morning). But our Confessions accuse us when preference is the criteria for worship practices. Our Confessions accuse us when we are shamed or embarrassed by a liturgical identity that is consistent with our confessional one.
Adiaphora means those things which cannot bind our conscience with respect to salvation (man made rules or tradition or hoops of human creation which we must jump through to be saved) but now it has come to mean personal preference. Adiaphora does not mean we are free to do whatever we like. Adiaphora still insists the Gospel is the criteria and what serves the Gospel and is faithful to our catholic identity is what we do. Our Lutheran Confessions say that the Mass (sacrament and not sacrifice) and all the historic ceremonies, church usages, ritual, and tradition which do not conflict with the Gospel (again not a personal determination in terms of what this means for me but genuine catholic and evangelical and confessional practice) are kept among us.
Walther, the guy who founded our Synod, insisted that these catholic worship practices (note small c) become our confession when people insist that we cannot or should not use them. In other words, this is not a contest or competition over wills or preferences but our worship practices are shaped by an evangelical spirit and a catholic identity which says less is not more, ritual and ceremony actually confess the faith in addition to words, and consistency over the long haul (not simply from one hymnal to another) is highly desirable.
I am not trying to insult or demand or offend but to honestly explain the why behind the what we do. I hope it helps.