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«Chapter Eight: The Mass as the Gospel The Identification of the Lord’s Supper with the Gospel When a Lutheran is asked what the Gospel is, it is ...»

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This confession is made also in the first order of Divine Service where the pastor prays: “as he bids us do in his own Testament.” The present tense “bids” certainly is a confession that Christ remains the speaker in the Words of Institution. The restoration of the Pax is also to be noted as a further confession of Christ’s activity, at least in the first order of Divine Service. There the answer to the peace is not “and also with you” (a mutual exchange and greeting), but faith’s word “Amen!”6 Here the peace is received as that public absolution Luther spoke of in the Latin Mass, an absolution spoken by Christ through the instrument of his minister.

The mass as communion is certainly a theme not lost on Lutheran Worship. The concluding sentence to the proper preface serves as a reminder to the assembly that in its praise and thanksgiving it is joining the angelic and heavenly church: “Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven.”7 But this is not the first reminder of the communal reality of the church’s worship. In a curious displacement, the LW, p. 197, 198, emphasis added.

It should be noted in this regard that Lutheran Worship represents an advance on The Lutheran Hymnal, whose only reference in the Order of Holy Communion to the “testament” was in the Words of Institution themselves.

Compare LW p. 51 with p. 171. Regrettable as the confusion is that results from two responses to the same words, yet it is significant that the Missouri Synod was unwilling to lose the idea of peace as action and word of Christ.

LW, p. 148.

framers of Lutheran Worship moved the prayer which in the Berlin 1955 Agenda followed the Words of Institution to the conclusion of the prayer of the church.8 Even though moved away from the immediate context of the Lord’s Supper, this prayer confesses the larger communion of which the assembly is a part: “Gather us together, we pray, from the ends of the earth to celebrate with all the faithful the marriage feast of the lamb in his kingdom, which has no end.”9 Thus even prior to the eucharistic service proper, there is a confession of the communion which will be realized in the Supper itself.

In regard to the anamnesis, Lutheran Worship again fares well. By the addition of the small prayers of thanksgiving in Divine Services I and II, a form of anamnesis was restored10 : “...we praise and thank you for having mercy on those whom you created, sending your only-begotten Son into our flesh to bear our sin and be our Savior....

Gathered in the name and the remembrance of Jesus....”11 Again, “Blessed are you...for you have had mercy on us children of men and given your only-begotten Son so that whoever believes in him may not perish but have eternal life....prepare us joyfully to remember our Redeemer....”12 The anamnesis in the third order of Divine Service is provided in the declaratory form to the communicants: “that you take note of and give thanks for the boundless love that he showed us when he saved us from the wrath of God, sin, death, and hell by his blood.”13 Further, in the displaced prayer mentioned above, the See Reed, p. 758. This Agenda was published by the VELKD. Due to the prayer’s relocation in LW, the words which specifically join the “communion” of the church to the “communion” of the Lord’s body and blood were lost. The original reads: “Und wie wir alle durch die Gemeinschaft seines Leibes und Blutes ein Leib sind in Christo, so bring zusammen deine Gemeinde von den Enden der Erde, auf dasz wir mit allen Gläubigen das Hochzeit des Lammes feiern mögen in seinem Reich.” LW, p. 144.

Restored, because by the loss of the exhortations the anamnesis of the Lutheran Liturgy was diminished greatly, for example in The Lutheran Hymnal.

From the first order of Divine Service, LW, p. 149.

From the second order of Divine Service, LW, p. 190.

LW, p. 198.

anamnesis is quite explicit: “O Lord, heavenly Father, we here remember the sufferings and death of your dear Son, Jesus Christ, for our salvation. Praising his victorious resurrection from the dead, we draw strength from his ascension before you, where he ever stands for us as our own high priest.”14 Were this prayer to be restored to its original location, it would follow most fittingly on the words of Christ: “This do as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.” Yet, even as the conclusion to the prayer of the church it provides a fitting memorial of the redemption that Christ has accomplished. Thus in each of the orders of Divine Service, the mass as the memorial feast of Christ is confessed, either in prayer to the Father or in exhortation to the people.

Whereas the hymns for the distribution in the first two orders of Divine Service are not prescribed, in the third order we find the old hymns from the 16th century in place.

Here again the anamnesis of Christ continues:

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Finally, in the second option for the post-communion collect we find a prayer that is itself a brief anamnesis of the blessings of God in Christ: “O God the Father, the fountain and source of all goodness, who in lovinkindness sent your only-begotten Son into the flesh....” Thus the mass as the perpetual memorial of Christ is witnessed to in Lutheran Worship.

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In Lutheran Worship, the mass as real presence of Christ in his body and blood is powerfully confessed. First, in the prayers prior to the Words of Institution, we find the petitions, “Grant us faithfully to eat his body and drink his blood...”17 and “receive him as he comes to us in his body and blood.”18 Again, the exhortation from the third order of Divine Service, provides a parallel confession: “that you then externally receive the bread and wine, that is, his body and blood....”19 The retention of the German Sanctus, “Isaiah”, following the Words of Institution in the third Divine Service, serves to heighten the confession of the presence of the “holy, holy, holy” One in his body and blood.20 All three orders likewise retain the Agnus Dei, with its strong confession of Christ as the Lamb of God present to bestow his gifts of mercy and peace. The distribution formula in Lutheran Worship also carries forth the confession of the real presence in unambiguous language: either, “Take eat; this is the true body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ given into death for your sins. Take drink, this is the true blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, shed for the forgiveness of your sins.” Or “Take, eat; this is the very body of Christ, given for you. Take, drink; this is the very blood of Christ, shed for you.”21 And again, at the dismissal of the communicants, the objective reality of what they have received is confessed. Peculiarly Lutheran is that this is not expressed as a wish, but as fact, in the indicative: “The body and blood of our Lord strengthen and preserve you steadfast in the LW, p. 149 LW, p. 171. This represents a marked strengthening of the original prayer from the Missale för Svenska Kyrkan, which read: “receive Him as He comes to us in His Supper.” See, Reed, p. 758 LW, p. 198.

LW, p. 198. By referring to the presence of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity as confessed in the Trisagion, there is no intended neglect of the presence of the Father and the Spirit. Where the Son is, there is also Father and Spirit as well. Likewise where Father and Spirit are, there is the Son. The Trisagion thus gloriously confesses the “real presence” of the Holy Trinity.

LW, p. 172.

true faith to life everlasting. Go in peace.”22 Finally, Lutheran Worship, by its use of the Nunc Dimmittis, confesses that in the sacrament just received the communicants have had the experience of old Simeon, who saw with his own eyes the Salvation of Israel and the Light for the Gentiles when he held the baby Christ in his arms; he was ready to die then in peace. The particular placement of this canticle, which has only slight Reformation antecedents,23 and comes into Missouri Synod practice chiefly from the adoption of the Common Service, is nothing less than a confession that a genuine encounter between Christ and his people has taken place at the altar. It is thus a confession of the real presence.

In regard to the mass as eucharist, thanksgiving, Lutheran Worship is faithful indeed. In the first two orders of Divine Service, the preface and proper prefaces retain their historic positions as the “foreword” to the mass itself: the great thanksgiving occasioned by the gift of the Lord’s body and blood. But rather than the limited scope that the proper prefaces had in the 16th century church orders, Lutheran Worship provides additional thanksgivings for Advent, Lent, Passion, Apostles and Evangelists, and All Saints.24 The preface for the general Sunday in Lutheran Worship grounds the thanksgiving of the service in the paschal mystery, highlighting that every Sunday is a return to the joy of Easter, “who on this day overcame death and the grave and by his glorious resurrection opened to us the way of everlasting life.”25 Nevertheless, it is sad that the beautiful general

preface which the Saxon heritage handed on has not been preserved in current usage:

LW, p. 173.

It does indeed show up in the Petri Order of 1531. Following the distribution, there is the following rubric: “Then is sung or read for the Communion a Swedish hymn or the Nunc dimittis in Swedish.” Yelverton, p. 41. Among the chief German orders it shows up in Nuremberg [1525] and Strasbourg [1525]. See Reed, p. 379. Given such slight antecedent, its remarkable strong position in American Lutheranism is most likely to be found in it being included in Loehe’s Agenda. The early Missouri Synod books never list it, since it was not part of the Herzog Heinrich tradition.

See LW, pp. 145-148.

LW, p. 146.

It is very meet and right, becoming and salutary, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, holy Father, Almighty, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, through whom Thy majesty is praised by the angels, worshipped by the dominions, feared by the powers, celebrated with unanimous rejoicings by the heavens, the powers of all heavens, and the blessed Seraphim.

With them let us also join our voices, worshipping Thee and saying: Holy, etc.26 The inclusion of the brief prayers of thanksgiving prior to the Words of Institution in Lutheran Worship serve as a bridge to connect the particular thanksgiving that is being celebrated on that given day to the cause of all thanksgiving in the church: the salvation obtained by the incarnation and passion of Christ, which salvation is distributed in the body and blood of Christ in the Supper.27 “Lord of heaven and earth, we praise and thank you for having had mercy.... With repentant joy we receive the salvation accomplished for us by the all-availing sacrifice of his body and his blood on the cross.”28 “We give you thanks for the redemption you have prepared for us through Jesus Christ.”29 The second Divine Service furthers the eucharistic confession by the first option it provides as a post-communion canticle: “Thank the Lord and sing his praise....He recalls his promises and leads his people forth in joy with shouts of thanksgiving. Alleluia, alleluia.”30 Each of the Divine Services has the final word that the church speaks to the Father in the Supper be a word of thanksgiving: “We give thanks to you, Almighty God....”31 or “O God the Father, the fountain and source of all goodness...we thank you that for his sake you have given us pardon and peace in this sacrament....”32 Thus Lutheran Worship continues and furthers the eucharistic confession of the Lutheran

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It is when we come to the mass as sacrament of faith that Lutheran Worship is deficient in carrying forward a liturgical confession of the Lutheran doctrine. There is not one word spoken in either the first or second order of the Divine Service which declares to the communicants the necessity of faith and the consequences of an unworthy communing.

The third order contains the call to the people: “I exhort you in Christ that you give attention to the Testament of Christ in true faith, and above all take to heart the words with which Christ presents his body and blood to us for forgiveness.”33 Nevertheless, it does not mention the consequences of a misuse of this sacrament (that is, a faithless or impenitent reception). The recently published Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary does a

somewhat better job by its inclusion of the following exhortation:

Dear friends in Christ! In order that you may receive this holy Sacrament worthily, it is good that you consider what you must now believe and do. From the words of Christ: “This is My body, which is given for you; this is My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins,” you should believe that Jesus Christ is Himself present with His body and blood, as the words declare. From Christ’s words “for the remission of sins,” you should believe that Jesus Christ bestows upon you His body and blood to confirm unto you the forgiveness of all your sins. And finally, you should do as Christ commands you when He says, “Take, eat, drink of it, all of you,” and “This do in remembrance of me.” If you believe these words of Christ, and do as He therein has commanded, then you have rightly examined yourselves and may worthily eat Christ’s body and drink His blood for the forgiveness of all your sins. You should also unite in giving thanks to Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for so great a gift, and should love one another with a pure heart, and thus with the whole Christian Church have comfort and joy in Christ, our Lord. To this end may God the Father grant you His grace; through the same, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.34 It is still to be noted that this exhortation (which ELH places invariably between the Sanctus and the Lord’s Prayer) does not warn against an impenitent reception (as, for example, Luther’s 1525 Exhortation, all the Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel exhortations, and the Swedish exhortation do). Can there be any doubt that a restoration of such an exhortation

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