Monday, October 17, 2011

Presiding with Peers

Tonight I presided at the Divine Service (setting four) at our District Pastoral Conference.  It was a prelude to St. Luke's Day and the opening Eucharist for our Conference.  The guest preacher was the Rev. Greg Seltz (new Lutheran Hour Speaker).

A couple of thoughts...

What a blessing is it to be together around the Word and Table of the Lord!  I missed the Spring Conference and have missed one or two others in recent years.  Truly one of the highlights of the time we spend together as Pastors is the time we spend in worship.  With an emphasis upon Confession and Absolution in the daily devotions (Service of Prayer and Preacher) and the healing emphasis inherent in St. Luke's Day, we spent our time together remembering the work of grace that made us God's own in baptism and the healing grace that continues to keep us there -- healing of sin through forgiveness and the healing grace that comes to us in the Eucharistic medicine of immortality and the healing grace that sustains us in our weakness, ills, and afflictions.

I have to say that for me, one of the best parts of the Divine Service is chanting the Psalms!  What a great thing to sing together the Psalms using the tones of LSB.  I like it as well as any hymn -- perhaps even better.  The many voices that sing as one voice reminds us of the unity that is ours as many people gathered as one body in Christ.

I also find it amazing that one can follow the order from the hymnal pretty much straight out of the book and yet it becomes something rather unusual.  We used DS Setting Four since it is probably the least known among us and it gave us a chance to use the hymn tune setting that most do not use in their parishes.  It was salutary and blessed without any accouterments of a festival nature (no processions or fancy stuff).  I brought the processional crucifix from home, the old set of paraments from the chapel, and it made for a quite pleasing setting for the Divine Service.

The intrepid Brother Weedon has posted about how nice it is to use the services direct from the hymnal for the Pastoral Conferences and I concur.  When we use the book, we can avoid the old acrimony of high vs low church worship (though, it is true, some call the hymnal services "high" church).   I am amazed at how many appreciate the book even though it may not be what they use in their parishes on most Sunday mornings.  It speaks well for us and to us.  Quite a good book, actually.

I continue to appreciate the church year and how appropriate the lessons and festivals are to the ordinary needs and events of our life together.  You may argue about which lectionary to use (three year or one year) but I am a lectionary man.  It proved its magic tonight with a great sermon by Greg Seltz (new Lutheran Hour guy).  I heard Nagel in him and that is a compliment.  Norman Nagel continues to be one of the treasures of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and we could do far worse as a role model for theologian than the venerable Nagel.

All in all quite a good day... and a long one so I will close with a good night to all those still perusing the blogosphere...


Anonymous said...

Sounds really really good. Cannot describe my feelings reading this but it was calming so to speak.

Rev. David M. Juhl said...

DS Setting Four is most often used at our Pastors Conference Divine Service because it is "liturgical", yet "contemporary" for the guys who don't like hymnals. At least we use a hymnal for Divine Service. I take my blessings where I can get them.