Sunday, August 21, 2011

back to "setting three"

As of today, Luther Memorial is back to using the Setting Three Mass.  Thank God. 

There are, however, some strange inconsistencies in this order (LSB 184-202).  Take the Gloria Patri, for example.  You get the classic wording (Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.) after the Introit if your church happens to opt for that form, which is given on page 186.  Many churches, however, make the understandable and commendable choice to sing the Gloria Patri to the same tune that was used in the proper Introit of the day, and in that case, what most churches will do is use the modern wording (Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.) since that is what is given in the LSB propers.  Yet the traditional wording of the Gloria Patri is used in the Nunc Dimitis after Communion.

Another example is the use of the second person singular pronoun.  Does this order go with the modern bland you, your, etc, or the classic thou, thee, thy, thine?  Once again they basically said, "Why not both?"  The LSB propers will give you Introits out of the ESV Bible, where one gets, for example,
The Lord said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you"
instead of something more classic, like Coverdale's
Whereof the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
And yet the classic pronouns are peppered all over other parts of the Mass, like the Gloria in Excelsis.  Saying "Glory be to Thee, O Lord" before the Gospel, and "Praise be to Thee, O Christ" after the Gospel, is a beautiful and appropriate way to adorn this solemn moment of the liturgy.  Yet in between these two acclamations, it is a bit of a let down to hear the Gospel in the ESV, instead of, say, the KJV.

There are various levels of consistency for which one might strive.  One of the tragedies of LSB is that it fails to be consistent in what is presented in the same book.  This is especially odd and tragic in light of the popular trend in congregations to use a rotation of most or all of the services in LSB.  That means that a congregation (and the Lutheran in the pew of such a congregation) will gain a growing confusion over even simple things like how to answer the priest when he says "The Lord be with you."  What if he says this on an occasion when there is no book or piece of paper in the hands of the people, such as at a pot-luck, or the start of a Bible Class, or at a wedding dinner?  We all know what is heard in today's LC-MS, an almost hilarious cacophony of confusion.

With the inclusion of a classic form of liturgy, however, as in the case of Setting Three, it is especially important to strive for consistency at least within that service, so that a parish that decides to use that liturgy exclusively for the Eucharist will have a consistent form of worship on which it can rely.  In that regard, too, the LSB fails.

I am glad to use this order, nonetheless.  Overall, it is a refreshing return to tradition.

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