Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lutheran Propers for St. Augustine

By Larry Beane

Lutheran Service Book (LSB) has given us a lot of possible commemorations, perhaps more so than any previous English language hymnal.

For example, in the Missouri Synod's sanctoral calendar on LSB page xiii, we find that "Augustine of Hippo, Pastor and Theologian" is commemorated on August 28 - which falls on a Sunday this year.  Setting aside for the time being the sectarian terminology ("Augustine of Hippo, Pastor and Theologian"), it is a good development for us to honor whom the rest of western Christendom calls "St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo and Doctor of the Church."

However, LSB does not provide any liturgical propers for the celebration of the feast.  Fortunately, we do have some resources at our fingertips.  Obviously, there are many ways to figure out what propers to use (such as Anglican and Roman Catholic resources), but so that my parish can commemorate St. Augustine per our own synodical calendar, here is what I happen to be using:

  • For the collect, I am using the one in the Treasury of Daily Prayer.
  • For the Introit, Gradual, Epistle, and Gospel, I am using the helpful volume edited by my colleague here at Gottesdienst, the Rev. H. R. Curtis: Daily Divine Service Book: A Lutheran Daily Missal (DDSB).
  • For the Old Testament Reading, I am using the late Rev. Paul W. Nesper's reference called Biblical Texts.  It is in reprint thanks to Concodia Theological Seminary Press.

Most of the legwork has been done by Fr. Curtis.  The Introit comes from Sirach 15:5 (Antiphon) and Psalm 92:1-2.  The Gradual is from Psalm 37:30-31.  The Epistle is 2 Timothy 4:1-8, and the Gospel is Matthew 5:13-19.  Since my congregation uses ESV, I did have to look up these texts in that version as opposed to Fr. Curtis's preferred KJV - which unlike ESV, is in the public domain.

As DDSB follows the tradition of the Common Service and The Lutheran Hymnal (TLH) and does not include Old Testament readings, I used Fr. Nesper's reference work to give me some options.  I looked up both the Gospel and Epistle readings in the index (page 438).  I found that the Epistle is used in one lectionary for the 11th Sunday after Trinity.  In turning to Trinity 11 (pages 380-381), I discovered that the Epistle was used in Lectionary 10 (see page 337).  This happened to have been the old Synodical Conference lectionary.  Back to page 380, it is clear that the Old Testament reading used by the Synodical Conference that matched up to the Epistle Lesson given in DDSB is Micah 2:7-13.

So, I now have a complete set of Lutheran propers to use for the feast of St. Augustine.

This is a little bit of work.  However, it's a lot less work than it could have been, especially to the labors of Fr. Curtis.


  1. That's a great idea for getting at an OT lesson. Another great way to add OT lessons to the minor festivals is to become familiar with the propers for the weekdays in Lent which focus on a Christological reading of the OT.

    The LSB OT lessons for the One Year Lectionary are marvelous (I believe Fr. Aaron Koch was the driving force).

    In short, the addition of an OT reading is a relatively new thing in the Divine Service so those texts are more flexible and varied than the Epistle or Gospel lessons. There are many fine sources out there.


  2. Lutheran Service Book actually falls behind Lutheran Book of Worship in terms of the number of feasts and commemorations. LSB lists 116 while LBW lists 122.

    Some of my personal favorites from LBW include:

    - Martin Luther King, Jr., renewer of society, martyr (January 15)
    - John Wesley and Charles Wesley, renewers of the Church (March 2)
    - Erik, King of Sweden, martyr (May 18)
    - Nicolaus Copernicus and Leonhard Euler, teachers (May 24)
    - John Calvin, renewer of the Church (May 27)
    - Seattle, chief of the Duwamish Confederacy (June 7)
    - Florence Nightingale and Clara Maass, renewers of society (August 13)
    - Elizabeth of Thuringia, princess of Hungary (November 17)

  3. I don't know at what point in history Progressive Protestantism entered the self-parody stage, but it is certainly there.

    But hey - Elizabeth of Thuringia is a good gal. Also on Loehe's calendar.


  4. Also missing from LSB, King Erik, the Petri brothers, and Kai Munk. The LSB seemed to have a "Scandinavians and Dogs Verboten" policy when it comes to our Teutonocentric calendar.

  5. I don't like your attitude, Sven! Straighten up and fly right! We don't like them Red Book, hyper-Euro bishop types round 'bout here.


  6. You forgot "chancel prancers." It's "hyper-Euro, bishop-type, chancel prancers."


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