Sunday, November 3, 2019

At odds with God's intention. . .

Almost all the work of modern liturgical development has been to make the Mass, the Divine Service, more accessible, to strip away its layers of mystery and majesty, and to make it more egalitarian and a work of the people.  It has been a dismal failure.  People have departed the worship of the Church more since this restaging of the Mass or Divine Service than ever before.  Worse, however, this has  betrayed the very intention of God in creating a place where we not only anticipate the future but participate in that future in the foretaste of the blessed and eternal feast to come.

Like a child who peers into a toy store in the days before Christmas, the Mass or Divine Service (pick your name) allows us to glimpse the future God has prepared for us.  But better than the child who is left to his dreams as he views with wide eyes all that glitters, we are invited into this moment in time where eternity is present and we are given the taste of heaven in the bread which is His body and the cup of His blood.  It is heaven on earth.

The typical view of modern liturgy is that we do the work and God is the watcher.  The historical view of the Mass or Divine Service is that God is doing the work and we are both watchers and invited participants.  We are the people of God for whom all of this exists.  So we are not the actors who eagerly await His divine approval nor are we spectators who watch and applaud the show.   We are those who watch and who enter into the Divine Mystery by hearing the efficacious Word of God read and preached, by recalling our baptism into Christ when we died and were raised to the new life that death cannot end, and by tasting the goodness of the Lord in the flesh of Christ and the blood of Christ hidden but really present in bread and wine.

We know what is coming so the Mass or Divine Service begins with the confiteor.  We confess that we are unworthy to be there at all, stained by sin so that we should not even dare to ask to watch.  But God in His great mercy welcomes the unworthy through the grace of absolution and sets the Table of the Lord in the presence of this world and all the enemies of the Kingdom.  Then in the introit comes the invitation to come into the presence and the entrance rite of introit, Kyrie, and Gloria leads us to the collect where we ask in prayer for the promises to be heard in the pericopes of the day.  Instructed in the divine and saving Word and having had the saving acts of Christ brought again to our joyful remembrance, we are ready to offer the sacrifices of praise, thanksgiving, tithes, and offerings.  Then we are deliberately brought into the sublime moment when Christ, true to His Word and promise, as Host and Victim, delivers to us the food of the Kingdom -- His flesh and blood in bread and wine.  We adore Him first by singing His praise and then by eating and drinking in faith.  What can be added to this wondrous grace except a quick thanksgiving song and prayer only to be sent forth in the world as His people doing His bidding with His name and blessing upon us as we depart to fulfill our vocation.

Friends, if this is NOT what you think is happening on Sunday morning, you need to review the Word, relearn the Catechism, and discover the doctrine in the liturgy.  Because Sunday morning is nothing short than God delivering heaven on earth for a foretaste and preview of what is to come -- to keep us in the way, holy and blameless so that we may meet Him when He comes and enter into the joy of our Master forevermore.  When the modern liturgical movement chose to emphasize accessibility and simplicity and the work of the people, we were betrayed and Sunday morning began to be more about us than about the God who bids us come and delivers to us a glimpse of forever within a moment in time.

18 comments:

Carl Vehse said...

"... the Mass or Divine Service (pick your name)..."

Lutherans, whose quia subscription to the Book of Concord of 1580 includes the Smalcald Articles, have made their choice to distinguish the Mass ("this dragon's tail, [I mean] the Mass, has begotten a numerous vermin-brood of manifold idolatries") from the Divine Service in which the Lord's Supper is celebrated.

Lufauxrans, who hold only a quatenus subscription to the Smalcald Articles, may pick another name.

Anonymous said...

The word "mass" is used in the Lutheran Confessions, and not always in a negative sense. The word "Mass" continued to be in use after the Reformation. What is condemned is the *Roman Catholic* Mass, etc.

The word can be used and was used, by Lutherans. Your sectarianism is again rearing its ugly head.

But now that you are in a church body consisting of one pastor and one congregation, perhaps that is what you prefer. Apparently all Lutherans now are faux Lutherans and your pastor and congregation is what is left of the true visible church on earth, the last of real Lutherans.

R. Taylor

Carl Vehse said...

Mr. Taylor,

In his article, "Luther and the Mass: Justification and the Joint Declaration" (Logia, X:4, Reformation 2001, 13-19), Rev. Daniel Preus, former Vice-President of the Missouri Synod, stated:

"By 1533, however, Luther carne to the conclusion that 'mass' should no longer be used in reference to the sacrament of the altar. Luther's Letter Concerning His Book on the Private Mass [AE 38, 227; WA 38, 262-272; StL XIX:1286-1299] is very illuminating in regard to his distinction between the two. In this letter Luther provided a definition of the tern 'mass' that clearly drives a wedge between mass and sacrament.

"The word 'mass,' Luther believed, should be defined as the sacrifice that the priest offers for sin. It should never be used to speak of that sacrament which grants to believers the body and blood of Christ and the forgiveness of sins."

This change in the attitude of Luther and other Lutherans came after the Augsburg Confession, which also did not identify the pope as the Antichrist.

Your false accusation of sectarianism against me would also apply to Rev. Preus, the staff of Logia, Concordia Theological Seminary (who has the article on their website), and Martin Luther. Perhaps you need to meet with your pastor and confess your sin against the Eighth Commandment. Repent, Mr. Taylor.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Peters has given us a beautiful description of what the Mass truly is. We should all say "thank you," both to the Pastor and much more so to our Saviou, Jesus Christ. As he pastor has said, "If this is NOT what you think is happening on Sunday morning ...." and he is spot on.

The carping of Carl Vehse is unseemly as usual. If he eventually gets to heaven, he will be utterly shocked at the number of non-Lutherans who are there as well. We should all be quite aware that the words and attitudes of Luther are not on par with Scripture. Christ came for all men, not just for Lutherans.

Fr. D+
Continuing Anglican Priest

Anonymous said...

Vehse...you manage, again, to dodge obvious facts to push forward your sectarian agenda. Now that you are in a member of a church body of one congregation and one pastor, you can be content that finally you have located the true visible church on earth, in a dying congregation in Austin, TX.

The word "Mass," to repeat, is used favorably in the Book of Concord and was used in orthodox Lutheran church orders thereafter.

Your opinions are based on willful and stubborn ignorance, and frankly, a great deal of your own self-imposed stupidity.

You have nothing to offer to discussions of a Lutheran nature.

R. Taylor

Janis Williams said...

Thank you, Fr. D+, and thank you Fr. Peters (that ought to get me in trouble instead of ‘pastor’). Focus on what Christ brings and gives to us should make us so thankful.

At the risk of being shot, what does Mr. Vehse call Christmas?

Anonymous said...

Carl,
You first assert those who use the word "Mass" are fake Lutherans and quantenus subscription in your first comments. Shame on you!

And somehow in 1580 true Lutherans (and since then) vow to documents that actually say Mass in it. Are you calling all those people to error who subscribe to the word Mass in the BoC? Do you disavow the Augsburg Confession and its Apology that use the word Mass? Perhaps you should see your pastor.

Larry Luder said...

I concur with Fr D+, Pr Peters does beautifully describes of what the Mass truly is. I believe both term "Mass" and "Divine Service" are correct and common term for the Eucharistic liturgies by the Catholics Church of the Augsburg Confession. However, I've noticed that many LCMS congregation have what they call traditional and temporary Divine Services sometime with and other times without the Eucharist. So is my understanding that a Divine Service is incorrect and is not a common term for the Eucharistic liturgies among "Lutherans"?

Carl Vehse said...

That a nonLutheran considers my comments referring to and including excerpts from the Smalcald Articles, Martin Luther, and Rev. Preus as "unseemly carping," is of little note, as is his snarky and irrelevant comment about the demographics of heaven.

Mr. Taylor, your refusal to repent of your earlier false accusation and your continued breaking of the Eighth Commandment with your lie about the pastor and congregation of Tinity Lutheran Church-Austin demonsrate that you willfully remain in your sin. Repent!!

Janis Williams, Christmas is Christmas. Neither I nor Rev. Preus—Have you actually read his article?—nor Martin Luther nor the Smalcald Articles discuss distinguishing "Christmas" from any Romanist holidays, in English or German or other languages.

Anonymous on November 3, 2019 at 9:10 PM: "Carl, You first assert those who use the word "Mass" are fake Lutherans and quantenus subscription in your first comments."

Anonymous you lie as to what I asserted in my initial comment above, which actually was: "Lufauxrans, who hold only a quatenus subscription to the Smalcald Articles, may pick another name.".

Repent, Anonymous, so that you do not remain in the rot of your lie on Judgment Day.

Carl Vehse said...

In his 2001 Logia artilcle, "Luther and the Mass," Rev. Preus states (p. 16):

Luther was convinced that the use of the terms "mass" and "sacrament" interchangeably has resulted in great confusion, and that the only way to provide a clear understanding of the nature of the Lord's Supper is to stop calling it the mass. "Indeed, I wish and would very much like to see and hear that the two words 'mass' and 'sacrament' would be understood as being as different as darkness and light, yes, as different as devil and God." [AE 38: 226] Again Luther prayed,

May God grant to all devout Christians such hearts that when they hear the word "mass:' they might be frightened and make the sign of the cross as though it were the devil's abomination; on the other hand, when they hear the word "sacrament" or "Lord's Supper;' they might dance for pure joy.... [AE 38: 227]

Lutherans tempted to use "mass" as a synonym for the Lord's Supper should take seriously Luther's observations on the difference between "mass" and "sacramenf' The same confusion may very well result today when a term frequently used in reference to a sacrificial act performed by a priest is used carelessly by Lutherans in reference to the Lord's Supper. It is not without justification that a charge of "Roman Catholic" is brought against those who refer to the Lord's Supper as "the mass:' Luther's own example after 1533 and that of the orthodox theologians such as Chemnitz who followed him ought to be instructive irrthis regarq. They do not use the term "mass" to spealc of the Lord's Supper. It is ill advised for Lutherans to do so today.

Anonymous said...

Luther's comments are Luther's and the situation is plainly different today. With so many Roman Catholics not believing in the Real Presence and few paying much attention to the sacrificial language of the Mass, Lutherans do not have much danger in using a term which has come to denote an historic liturgical form of the Divine Service. In fact we may be the only ones using the terms and meaning what it originally meant!

Anonymous said...

Again only the most dreadful willful ignorance would lead a person to "spin" reality as Vehse is trying to do.

The Apology of the Augsburg Confessions states:

At the outset we must again make the preliminary statement that we 1] do not abolish the Mass, but religiously maintain and defend it. For among us masses are celebrated every Lord's Day and on the other festivals, in which the Sacrament is offered to those who wish to use it, after they have been examined and absolved. And the usual public ceremonies are observed, the series of lessons, of prayers, vestments, and other like things.

Yes, Luther condemned the ROMAN CATHOLIC MASS, the Lutheran Confessions however gladly embrace the "Mass" properly and rightly observed, in face, we "religiously maintain and defend it."

R. Taylor

Carl Vehse said...

Anonymous on November 4, 2019 at 4:09 PM, Luther's comments are Luther's... and also, for Lutherans, in the Smalcald Articles (II.II.10):

"It is as [Cardinal] Campegio said in Augsburg he would suffer himself to be torn to pieces before he would give up the mass. So by God's help, I would suffer myself to be burned to ashes before I would allow a celebrant of the mass and what he does to be considered equal or superior to my Savior, Jesus Christ. Accordingly, we are and remain eternally divided and opposed the one to the other."

And the situation is NOT plainly different today. The Romish term, "mass," has not been used as a name for the Lord's Supper or a Divine Service in which the Lord's Supper is celebrated in various English publications and editions of the Explanation of Luther's Small Catechism over the past century (Augsburg, 1900; CPH, 1902; CPH, 1912; CPH, 1943; CPH, 1965; CPH, 1991; CPH, 2017).

Carl Vehse said...

An unrepentant Mr. Taylor at 8:53 AM again scraps the bottom of the barrel for another invective and demonstrates his unwillingness to argue against the objections to the word "mass" based on the various writing of documents by Martin Luther after 1533 (including the Smalcald Article in the Book of Concord) as explained in Rev. Daniel Preus' Logia article, Luther and the Mass."

Anonymous said...

An unrepentant Mr. Vehse at 10:30 AM again demonstrates his recalcitrant self-imposed ignorance.

Do, or do you not, subscribe to the Book of Concord in which is asserted: "we do not abolish the Mass, but religiously maintain and defend it"?

I suppose an advantage of being a member of an "independent" Lutheran church is you can just make things up as you go along.

R. Taylor

Carl Vehse said...

In 1530 the AC and in 1531 the Ap exposited the doctrine of the Lord's Supper, but neither mandated a doctrine of calling it the "mass."

Martin Luther certainly opposed the Roman Mass, including the Private Mass, but that is a strawman in the tapdancing around the issue presented in Rev. Preus' paper, "Luther and the Mass," that I have repeatedly pointed out.

Rev. Preus' paper, "Luther and the Mass," does not question the doctrine of the Lord's Supper exposited in the AC (1530) and in the Ap (1531), or in any other Lutheran Symbol, but instead the paper argues that Martin Luther and others came to the conclusion opposing the use of the word "mass" as a synonym for the Lord's Supper. This is evident in the 1537 Smalcald Articles and in other writings noted in Rev. Preus' paper. Luther even prayed:

"May God grant to all devout Christians such hearts that when they hear the word 'mass:' they might be frightened and make the sign of the cross as though it were the devil's abomination; on the other hand, when they hear the word 'sacrament' or 'Lord's Supper;' they might dance for pure joy..."

Rev. Preus writes:

"As Luther viewed it, the one responsible for this weaving together of the mass and the sacrament is none other than Satan himself.

Such sacrificing and reception of the sacrament the devil has mingled together so inseparably in the mass, even as dishonest innkeepers mix water and wine with one another and as deceitful minters mix silver and brass. There is need here of an acute tester and of a hot fire (which is the word of God, Psalm 17 [3 ff.]) so that they might again be separated from one another. [AE 38: 227]

"Through his antichrist, the devil has substituted a sacrifice for Christ's sacrament and introduced an idol into God's temple, as Daniel prophesied (Daniel 11 [37 ff.]). Just as the devil has constructed his own chapel next to the church of God, so he has imitated also God's sacrament and established the mass as its substitute. And just as the church of antichrist is a hypocritical and false church, so his mass is an idol and an abomination. For since the false church of antichrist attacks the church of Christ by robbing it of the gospel, the false 'sacrament' of antichrist must also deprive the church of her inheritance, robbing her of Christ's body and blood and the forgiveness of her sins, offering a human work and sacrifice in its place."

A Lutheran should not desire to use a term which has been so thoroughly denigrated by Martin Luther and in Rev. Preus' paper.

And you, Mr McTaylor, remain unrepentant in your continuing lies.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame Martin Chemnitz did not have benefit of the wisdom of Vehse:

Martin Chemnitz on the Mass

“…the pastors and ministers of the church who wish to celebrate Mass should, if communicants are present, approach the altar with all decency, and with deep devotion and invocation of the Son of God, and begin, celebrate and complete the Office of the Mass not merely in their common clothing but also in their churchly vestments, such as alb, chasuble and stole. The altar should also be adorned and clothed with fair linens and other decorative cloths. Likewise, candles shall burn on the altar, because such is the observance in neighboring Reformation churches. And nevertheless the common people may be instructed that such things are unnecessary, as though a special service to God consisted in them or the sanctification of this Sacrament depended upon them. Rather, this practice may be observed as adiaphora without any superstition. And so that in all the churches of this principality the ceremonies in the Office of the Mass may henceforth be conducted in all points with decency, order, and uniformity, as much as ever is possible… (Chemnitz continues to detail the Propers and the Ordinaries, including their chanting).”

(Martin Chemnitz and Jacob Andreae, Church Order for Braunschweig-Wolfenb├╝ttel: How Doctrine, Ceremonies, and Other Church-Related Matters Shall (by God´s Grace) Be Conducted Henceforth, vol. 9, Chemnitz´s Works, trans. Jacob Corzine, Matthew C. Harrison, and Andrew Smith, ed. Jacob Corzine and Matthew Carver [CPH, 2015], 81).

Carl Vehse said...

It was Rev. Daniel Preus who wrote in his "Luther and the Mass":

"Luther's own example after 1533 and that of the orthodox theologians such as Chemnitz who followed him ought to be instructive in this regard. They do not use the term 'mass' to speak of the Lord's Supper."

Check with Rev. Preus about Martin Chemnitz. In the meantime, I'll post on this blog any requested Chemnitz references he sends me.