The problem, then, with the phrase “Liturgy of the Word” is that the Word, as such, is fully and really present only in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, when the Word Himself is personally present in His divinity and glorified humanity. The sign of the difference is that, while we offer incense to the Gospel in honor of Him whose Gospel it is, it would be sinful for someone to bow down and adore the lectionary, placing his faith and trust in it, and loving it above all things, whereas it is precisely this adoration or latreia that must be given to most holy Eucharist; indeed, as Saint Augustine says (and Benedict XVI often quotes him to this effect), we would be guilty of sinning were we not to adore It.I guess the point is I am in shock at how little the written Word means to him, if not to Roman Catholics in general, if he is representative. As a Lutheran, we do not devalue the Word of God as the living voice of God speaking through the Scriptures in comparison to the Word who comes to us in bread and wine, His flesh and His blood. Yes, it is true that some Lutherans devalue the Sacrament over the Word but this is a flawed and mistaken understanding both of Luther and the Confessions. There is no legitimacy for such an erroneous reading of Lutheranism, no matter how popular or deeply held its viewpoint is. At the same point in time, however, when Lutherans read "My Word shall not pass away though heaven and earth do..." we do not read Word as Christ distinguished from His Word in written form. It is shocking to me to read the author say that the Eucharist is Jesus but the Scriptures only contain His teaching and bear witness to Him. If this is, indeed, faithful Roman Catholic teaching, then the words I have read are freighted with a meaning different from the literal sense of the text. In most cases, I read Roman Catholic liturgical theologians to have nothing but the highest regard for the Word of God that is the Scriptures.
A Protestant confusion is thus introduced and subtly fostered. According to the Catholic faith, “God’s Word” is chiefly and primarily in the Holy Eucharist because it is Jesus Christ, and only secondarily in the Sacred Scriptures that contain His teaching and bear witness to Him. Like all mere signs, Scripture will pass away in heaven, as the Book of Revelation teaches: “I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev 21:22-23). Like all mere signs, it is only for the wayfarer. In Protestant churches, one often sees the Bible sitting up on the main altar, where the tabernacle ought to be, as though at the center of Christianity were a book, something written in lifeless letters on lifeless paper; such an architectural arrangement expresses the very essence of the Protestant heresy, where words replace the Word in His living and life-giving flesh and blood.
In fact, I would boldly contradict the author who characterizes this as a Protestant viewpoint. Most Protestants would heartily agree with him -- the Scriptures are not the Word of God but contain His Word, His teaching, and bear witness to Him. In that regard we Lutherans stand outside Protestantism to say that the Word of God (Scripture) is not merely a witness but the living voice of God speaking to His people in the same way the voice of Christ once spoke to His disciples. Scripture is God breathed, it is a performative Word, and, as Isaiah reminds us, accomplishes God's purpose without fail -- just as in creation the Word spoke and all things came into being (Francis acceptance of evolution aside).
For us as Lutherans, Christ is incarnate in His Word as in His meal -- here we have access to the grace in which we stand. His Word with water is baptism and His Word with bread and wine is the Eucharist. We Lutherans have endowed no priestly superpower to individuals but consistently place the power with Christ and within His Word. Our working definition of sacrament is the earthly element married to Christ's Word as Christ Himself instituted, commanded, and promised, and through which He delivers what He promises, namely, forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.
Yet, though I thoroughly disagree with the author's characterization of the Word as mere witness to Christ, I do agree that the older terms are better for the designation of that portion of the liturgy which surrounds the Word and that portion which surrounds the Meal. I do think, though I doubt it will ever become normative, that the terms Liturgy of the Catechumens and the Liturgy of the Faithful are more accurate descriptors of the natural division inherent within the Western liturgy and liturgical pattern which Lutherans share with Roman Catholics.
So, yes, it would be good to rename them. . . but not for the all the reasons offered in this article.... So now I suppose I have thoroughly confused you.