Friday, April 13, 2012

Appreciation for Setting One

For most of the year at Emmaus, we follow the order and form of Setting Three in LSB, which stands squarely in the 19th-century Lutheran "Common Service" tradition. It is a solid ordo with a strong form and sturdy musical setting of the traditional rite. Elegant in its straightforward clarity and simplicity, it has aged well and continues to serve as a worthy vehicle for the administration of the Divine Service. Easily enriched and adorned with the ceremonies and hymnody appropriate to the Sundays, festivals and seasons of the Church Year, there is nothing intrinsically stale, staid, or stodgy about it.

But for all of that, notwithstanding my love and appreciation for the "Common Service," I am also pleased to follow the order and form of Setting One in LSB from Maundy Thursday through Trinity Tide (that is, up until the Feast of St. Peter & St. Paul in late June). This has been my pastoral practice at Emmaus since the LSB was published, and before that I was doing essentially the same thing with the corresponding setting of the Divine Service in LW.

So we've just begun to use Setting One again this year. With daily Divine Service throughout the Octave of the Resurrection, we've sung all or most of that setting half a dozen times already. It offers a refreshing contour in the rhythm of the Church Year, while retaining the integrity of the Mass.

Honestly, the similarities between Setting One and Setting Three are far greater than their differences. Setting One does provide for alternatives to the historic Ordinary in some cases, but those options serve the purpose. Both in my pastoral practice and in my personal piety, I have found the use of those options during Eastertide to be a benefit; not only because those texts also have something worthy to confess, but also because the contrast encourages alertness, increases awareness, and heightens attentiveness to whichever text is being sung at any particular time.

Admittedly, the five orders of the Divine Service in LSB are not different musical "settings" of the same rite, but are actually four different rites following somewhat different orders. Even so, the fundamental ordo of the Mass is preserved in each case, well within the ancient parameters described in some detail by St. Justin Martyr already in the Second Century. I'm not in favor of attempting to use all five orders, especially not in frequent rotation. People need adequate time to settle into an order, form and setting of the Liturgy, so as to be able to rest in peace within it.

With Setting One, I appreciate the fuller and more ancient form of the Kyrie. The eucharistic rite is also a welcome contribution, an important step away from the loggerheads of the LBW and LW controversies of the 1970s. It is still a shame that two different orders and forms of the eucharistic rite had to be included, side-by-side. There were other, more felicitous ways of addressing the concerns, but, oh well. Such is the life of the Church on earth. The post-Sanctus prayer is richer and fuller than either of the corresponding prayers in LW, although it is still somewhat limited in its scope and too quickly focused on the Lord's Supper itself. The epiclesis, such as it is, tucked into the post-Sanctus, is perhaps more subtle and obscure than it might be. But these are minor criticisms. The anamnesis hits the sweet spot, following perfectly upon the Consecration and leading smoothly into the Our Father. It was never awkward or difficult, but it has only become the more comfortable and familiar over the past six years, both to me as a presider and to my congregation.

The strongest contribution of Setting One, in contrast to the "Common Service" form of Setting Three, is in the offertory rites. This is where LSB, along with LBW and LW before it, really gets it right. The Creed has been preferred in its rightful position following the sermon, as belonging to the Liturgy of the Faithful. The confession of the faith is the first and foremost offering of those who believe and are baptized into Christ. From this confession proceeds the Prayer of the Church, as the baptized pray and intercede according to the Word and promise of their great High Priest, Christ Jesus. It is then in this confession and prayer of the faith that the baptized contribute from their own means to the gathering of alms. The way these gifts are presented at the Altar, accompanied by the singing of Psalm 116, "What Shall I Render to the Lord," is truly an ideal approach and entry upon the eucharistic rite.

There is a genius to the movement of the offertory rites in Setting One (and Two) of LSB, which make for a natural transition from the Service of the Word to the Service of the Sacrament. This was neither an innovation, nor a departure from historic practice, but a worthy restoration of a "soft spot" in the Service, which had gotten jumbled a bit in the accidents of history.

27 comments:

  1. Thank you for an excellent "review" and appreciation of Divine Service Setting 1 from LSB. In my first parish, I used this Service almost exclusively (from LW) and grew to love and appreciate it for many of the reasons you state. Now that my second parish has LSB, we, like you, use Settings 1 and 3 (most of the time). It saddens me when brothers in the Office denigrate this lovely Setting with its rich Scriptural language.

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  2. Thnnk you for your wise and generous view of the two main rites in LSB. I, too, have found that they wear well. I have reintroduced setting 3 to my current parish and it is a truly a blessing but those locked into the common service miss some of the things that truly were improvements in Setting 1/2.

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  3. Like Prs. Anderson and Peters, I also appreciate your commentary. My parish currently uses Setting 1 from Lent to Christ the King Sunday. (I have also re-introduced Setting 3 for the Time of Christmas, though keeping the Gospel-Hymn-Creed-Offertory sequence from Setting 1.)

    While the liturgical music of Setting 1 is weaker than that of Setting 2---its most similar counterpart in our hymnal---it does still provide a Divine Service that can carry the gifts of Christ in a form that is recognizably Lutheran, even if it is not my personally-preferred ordo to use.

    That said, it is still lamentable that we don't have a liturgical text that is identical throughout each of the Divine Service settings contained in our Synod's hymnal. But that looks to be completely unlikely within any of our lifetimes.

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  4. Why did we end up with different texts instead of just different tunes?

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    1. Ironically, it is due to the conservative nature of the LSB project. The book introduced very little in the way of new liturgical material, but brought together into one place the various "settings" that we already had in prior books. There were competing goals at work, as in the case of the response to the Salutation, which really stretched the work of the Commission and its committees. On the one hand, there was a desire to have a consistent rite, but, on the other hand, there was a commitment to preserving intact what people already knew and were familiar with. Thus, in bringing materials from both TLH and LW together into LSB, there were significant differences preserved across the "settings" of the Divine Service.

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  5. Fr. Stuckwisch, As someone who came from a tradition that utilized the LBW orders, one of the things that I have noticed as missing from the LSB traditions, and that I have personally missed as I participate in the liturgy, is the offertory prayer(s). Do you know why these prayers were not included in the LW/LSB orders? I ask since you have specifically highlighted the offertory rites in your post.

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    1. There are mixed attitudes and opinions re: offertory prayers, so I doubt that option would have made it to the final proposal, in any case. But as it is, the starting point was what the LCMS already had in place within its official service books: hence, Lutheran Worship, and not LBW.

      The one real modification to the LW setting of the Divine Service was in the development of the eucharistic rite. That was a matter for consideration that was left "on the table" back in the late 1970s, and it had not been picked up or dealt with yet. Aside from that, LSB was very deliberately a conservative project, which by and large preserved what we already had.

      Anyway, with specific reference to the offertory rites, although I do understand your appreciation for an offertory prayer, I would have to say that I very much appreciate the strength of moving directly from Psalm 116 into the eucharistic rite. I find that the Psalm itself offers about the strongest offertory prayer one could hope to find. Interjecting an additional prayer at that point would have seemed like just that: an interjection.

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  6. Though I am not in the presbyteral brotherhood, I fear I am about to sadden Pastor Anderson. For while setting 1 has many commendable things, I would suggest that it is worthy of much respectful denigration.

    There are matters which are improvements, but a church with a healthy and courageous approach to liturgical reform would have made those changes to the order that was already in use, rather than adding another order to the mix. One such improvement is the Creed being confessed after the sermon. (It would be ideal to connect the Gospel and sermon properly by not even having a hymn between the two.) Yet one cannot help noticing that Setting One still gives the option of leaving the Creed before the sermon. So we have in this improvement yet another "Or" in the liturgy.

    While we're on the "Or" rubric (or as Fr. Stuckwisch generously puts it, LSB's proclivity to "provide for alternatives to the historic Ordinary") consider the Greater Gloria. Here again there are options. The first is a version of the Gloria whose text and music are both copyrighted (never a good sign). The text is a translation of the Gloria that is completely different from the old Anglican version with which English speaking Lutherans have long known, in favor of a version given to us by ICET, the ecumenical English translation group of the 60s and 70s, which eventually morphed into other bureaucracies, and whose work has been adopted by Rome, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc. Obviously the Lutherans, to their embarrassment, are part of that "cetera." Nor is its music from any churchly tradition, but a late 20th century vintage composition of Richard Hillert. With this song we now officially prefer fellowship with the modern age and with churches with whom we have no fellowship, in favor of the Church that has gone before us, with whom we are in fellowship. We prefer that which we see and perceive over the reality which we confess but cannot see with our eyes.

    The other option is to eschew the Gloria altogether, in favor of a modern hymn, whose music is of questionable value in any setting, above all the Church.

    Beyond the "Or" options, another aspect of Setting One which further confuses our church's liturgical practice and piety is its response to the salutation, a response at odds with what is used in Setting Three of the same book. Using what is included within the binding of one and the same "doctrinally pure agenda and hymnal" now makes the church walk apart (as in the very opposite of "synod"). Indeed, notwithstanding Fr. Stuckwisch's argument that all of these options and departures promote alertness, awareness, & attentiveness, what they just as easily promote is dependency on reading, instead of the ability to engage all the senses in worship (with eyes able to gaze on liturgical art or the altar, or even to close them at certain moments in prayerful worship). In other words, in a sense they can actually promote inattentiveness. The other thing these departures promote is confusion whenever the people are gathered at a non-liturgical event, or when people from different parishes are together and the pastor attempts to greet them. How do they respond? We all know what happens. You hear a confused conglomeration of responses. Or, say, when at such a gathering it is desirable to join in the singing of a liturgical song. Is this feasible anymore?

    My only other comment for now is that while the Setting 1 kyrie enjoys a connection with historical patterns, when faced with the choice between what would be a a reviving of an ancient usage, on the one hand, and a more organic reform of existing tradition, on the other hand, I would choose the latter over the former. So that, for example, I would love to see a future service book which lets a church have a ninefold kyrie, or even one that reintroduces it in Greek, which would be developments more in keeping with our Western tradition.

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    1. I still owe responses to a couple of other comments, and I won't be able to respond to all of your comments, Dcn Gaba, but for now a few quick remarks.

      I guess it should be obvious that I, respectfully, disagree with your overall assessment. Not with all of your points, of course, but with your overall critique. Some of what you offer is a matter of opinion, over which there can be gentlemanly disagreement, no doubt. But the apparent implication that "older is good" and "recent vintage is bad" doesn't fly with me; notwithstanding the fact that I have a great appreciation and much sympathy for historic practice and tradition.

      On one point, in particular, I must clarify that I certainly have NOT argued "that all of these options and departures promote alertness, awareness, & attentiveness." That isn't what I said, and it certainly isn't what I meant. I don't care for "all of these options," as I indicated at least on one point, and I don't exercise many of them. I do believe that the occasional deliberate use of some of the options, can and does encourage alertness, awareness, and attentiveness. Not just in theory, but in my own experience, and in my pastoral observation and conversation.

      I have made no claim that Setting One is flawless, but I stand by my appreciation for the positive contributions it has made.

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    2. Incidentally, I do agree with your critique of the response to the salutation. That was one of the most unfortunate decisions of the LSB project, in my opinion. It was made out of a sincere pastoral concern for those who were already attuned to LW -- but I believe that it was a mistake, nonetheless. Frankly, I am grateful that the proper response ("And with thy spirit") was preserved in Setting Three.

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  7. FYI, I had to edit much out of the original form of the above comment, to get it under the maximum 4,096 characters, and in all of that process, ended up leaving in some bad grammar. My apologies.

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  8. I ought not have used the word "all" in my sentence about your claim regarding the benefits of options, Fr. Stuckwisch. Let us indeed get our respective positions right. On your part, you quite misrepresent me by your formulas "older is good" and "recent vintage is bad." If they were representative of my view, I would not, for example, have made that whole point about how while the litanical kyrie of DS 1 is arguably ancient, I find it more important to keep a more organic connection with the manner of kyrie we have in the DS 3 usage. No, my position is not at all a mere "older is good-recent vintage is bad" approach. Modern musical settings of the Mass are not in any way out of the question. Nor would I be in favor of something old if it meant a divergence from the approach handed down in a church's ongoing tradition. The manifold examples of liturgical disunity fostered and perpetuated by setting 1 is its greatest and least redeemable problem, even greater than the fact that some of its music is better suited for a Hollywood production than a traditional Lutheran usage.

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    1. Fair enough. Point taken. My apologies for misrepresenting your position. Thanks for the clarification.

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  9. I in no way want us to set Fr. Stuckwisch up as the spokesman for the LSB; also, I know this is a discussion of only one of its mass settings. Yet I can't help observing that if one of the driving goals of LSB was to have "introduced very little in the way of new liturgical material, but brought together into one place the various 'settings' that we already had in prior books," then how did Setting Four slip through?

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    1. Setting Four was introduced, for good or ill, with Hymnal Supplement 98. I'm not arguing for or against it, but it wasn't new with LSB.

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  10. Thanks for the reminder; I had forgotten that. I wonder aloud, in case anyone wishes to address this, what the rationale was for its inclusion in HS98, and also whether it managed to accrue much of a following between 98 and 06.

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    1. The hope was that it would at least invite those congregations that had jettisoned the use of any hymnal or historic ordo altogether to begin using something with an established and recognizably traditional structure. As for a following, the answer is that, yes, it received a rather popular response, which was a significant factor, I believe, in its being included in LSB. From my perspective, I'm not sure how successful it was in bringing anyone back into a more liturgical structure, but I do think it became popular among those who wanted to continue using "the Liturgy," but who were looking for (or being pressured to adopt) a more "contemporary" approach. In other words, I suspect that the HS98 Setting, and now Setting Four in LSB, inadvertently contributed to leading some congregations away from a better and stronger practice. But that was not the intention.

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  11. I am not so sure... I know of at least two congregations in which the use of setting IV helped move them from a nonliturgical "praise" service to a more recognizable Divine Service tradition. I would expect that they are not alone. For a congregation to move from the DS Settings 1-3 to 4 would be a declining trajectory, but for the many searching for a way to gradually reintroduce the DS into the life of a parish which has not known it, Setting 4 can be quite useful.

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    1. Thanks for these comments, Pr. Peters. I'm pleased to hear that DS Four has served such a purpose, as it was intended. And I pray that has also been the case elsewhere. But, as I mentioned above, I have seen more examples of movement in the other direction. I suppose that is yet another example of how disparate practices have become.

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  12. Pardon my mixed use of IV and 4 -- I can never remember off the top of my head which is used in LSB...

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  13. As my congregation splits the year between DS1 and DS3 (and never knows which salutation to use), I appreciate all the comments.

    Another weakness of DS1 is the lack of chant notation for the pastor. Again, sung responses are provided but in many places no notation is provided for the pastor (the Salutation being an example). This is unfortunate and confusing.

    While the move of the Creed is challenging, the offertory's connection to the service of the Sacrament is welcome, without the break for the Prayer of the Church.

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Christopher.

      I'm curious, though, concerning what you say about the lack of chant notation. It seems to me that is provided in DS1. Were you actually referring to TLH? Or, what did you have in mind.

      Happy Easter to you and your congregation.

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    2. I was referring to the lack of notation for the Collect's "Let us pray." I guess that's the only one. Everything other example is also omitted in DS1, albeit with a rubric of "may be chanted." For example, the Collect of the Day is not pointed and yet a sung "amen" is provided. "The Holy Gospel according…" has a sung response. "This is the Gospel of the Lord" has a sung response. The Post-Communion Collect has a sung "amen."

      Granted, the layout of LSB in regards to notation is superior to TLH. It is an oddity to have these sung responses floating around without the pastor/assistant part notated, too. I suppose the sung "amen" are second column options.

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  14. I see no need for the "churchly tradition" to have ended in 1941. The Common Service is not ancient. In the long history of Christendom it is really quite new. I see Richard Hillert and others as contributing to that churchly tradition. Also, I do not think that all Lutherans suffer "obvious embarrassment" over shared ecumenical English translations or other such endeavors. I don't. Quite honestly, I would have been quite happy if we had, for example, simply adopted the RCL for the lectionary.

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  15. You are a brother in Christ, Pastor Anderson, and so it is surely not without value that we now know both what saddens you and what makes you happy. I do wonder, however, if perhaps it would help advance this conversation better if we could focus a bit more intently upon aspects of the subject that lend themselves to reasoned analysis. Such reasoned discussion would also be aided if we avoid arguing against positions that no one has taken. So for example, I can think of no one, certainly not in the present conversation, who thinks that the tradition of the Church ended in the year 1941.

    Indeed you're quite right in stating that the Common Service is not ancient. Conversely, the ICET/Arthur/Hillert Mass (Setting One) contains things ancient. And yet here I am, a brother in the faith and worship of Christ our Immanuel, an avowed traditionalist, with love for the Church, denigrating LSB's Divine Service Setting One. ("Denigrate," by the way, was your word, but I don't mind embracing it. It signifies a darkening, or at least an attempt to darken, or blacken, a thing; in a sense it is the opposite of glorifying something.)

    You have seen me advocate the use of a ninefold Kyrie, and potentially the option of a Kyrie in Greek (things hardly conceivable in the average Missourian parish of the 1940s). To understand the traditionalist Luthean perspective will, it seems, require some adjustments in the way you read strange peope like me.

    I might just add at this point, for the sake of clarity, that my use of the word "embarrassment" in my ealier comment, was not meant in a subjective, personal sense, but rather in an objective sense. That is, a thing can be an "embarrassment" to Lutheranism, whether Lutherans feel it as such or not.

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