Daily Archives: September 14, 2007

Must-Read Article on the New Lutheran Service Books

Lee points us to a must-read article by Philip Pfatteicher, one of the Grand Masters of American Lutheran liturgy.

He writes a devastating critique of the new ELCA work, Evangelical Lutheran Worship, and damns the new LCMS Lutheran Service Book with faint praise. In particular, he focuses upon what these books have done to the Daily Office.

If you run in any sort of protestant liturgy circles (and if you’re reading this you do…), don’t miss this article!

Both the Lutheran Zephyr and Lutherpunk left notes at Lee’s place indicating they might say more; I’d be interested to see what they have to say about it.

From the Rubric Police to the TechnoScribes

The Rubric Policeman who lives within me and who I normally suppress is busting forth this morning…

I ran through MP online this morning. When I can do this, I normally open up both MissionStClare and the C of E’s 1662 MP and use the 1662 ordo with the readings and collects from MissionStClare. Thus, I’m in line with the lectionary and weekly collects so when M and I pray EP together I don’t get liturgical whiplash. (MSC doesn’t maintain a consistent Rite I—hence the English book…)

Neither of these sources had the Collect for the Feast of the Holy Cross. MissionStClare didn’t have the readings for it either. What’s up with that?! I’ll note that Josh’s Daily Office site had both the readings and the collects… (I would have used the Festal Canticles but again—that’s just me.)

I know that to 99.9% of Christians this kind of detail focus comes across merely as nit-picking and a show of liturgical arrogance and that’s really not my point—and why I try to keep my inner rubric cop on a short leash. (I’m trying to repent of years of liturgical arrogance… ;-)) Rather, the point is about formative patterns. What is the rota that we adopt or have adopted by which we will form ourselves? Liturgical formation is a process that happens over a period of years if not decades. And I’ll freely admit, these things jump out at me because I struggle with them—I’m always tempted to toss my current plan out the window in favor of the next great breviary.

The real issue and explanation in terms of the online offices, of course, is that these aren’t really liturgy issues or rubrics issues—as I see them, they’re database issues. That is, the best way to set these things up is not to put them in place manually, rather it’s to program your pie (kalendrical calculations) to seamlessly plop in all the right pieces at all the right times. In fact, as I see it, missals and breviaries are materials that exist only imperfectly in manuscripts or books. These things have pleaded and cried out for integration with relational databases for centuries and our computer technology has finally caught up to our liturgical vision.

What I’d love to see is a Daily Office site where you could select from a range—what version you wanted to use, which lectionary, which kalendar, with Office Hymns and antiphons or without, with each possible Office either readable on screen or printable as a PDF. The technology’s in place—it’s just a matter of the time…

The big liturgical news of the day, though, isn’t about the Office… Rather, M has been invited at the last minute to celebrate mass at our alma mater’s contemplative Eucharist today so I’ll be spending my lunch hour with her there—hopefully in the service if Lil’ H will permit…