Tuesday, November 11, 2003
As I tried to describe Lutheran liturgy in the previous post, I had a hard time choosing words. In my string of adjectives, "liturgical, celebratory, musical," I initially had the words "comfortable" and "confident," which I later simplified to "familial." But I'm still not satisfied with this description. One could say the same things about any number of local liturgical expressions or even entire liturgical traditions.
Personally, I can only really compare Lutheran liturgy to Reformed/Presbyterian and Anglican/Episcopalian liturgies. To compare Lutheran to Reformed/Presbyterian, the Lutheran liturgy seems more catholic and, well, more "liturgical" throughout. I'm thinking of things like chanting, acolytes, vestments, communion at an altar rail*, etc. To compare Lutheran to traditional Anglican/Episcopalian, the Lutheran liturgy seems more cheerful - more comfortable and confident in the presence of the Lord and his people - all without necessarily diminishing in reverence.
Does this fit any of your experience, or am I out in left field?
* One place where I think Reformed & Presbyterian liturgies are better is in their doing away with the altar rail. First, there's no reason to believe the Last Supper or the early Christian eucharistic feasts had an altar or kneeling. Second, it's just not meal-like. What kind of real-life meal do you eat in a kneeling posture? And unless you're a child, when does someone feed you?
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