Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Worth a 1000 words

When it comes to teaching my Bible class crowd about Lutheran worship, why we do what we do, instilling in them a love for reverence, etc., I have found two tools to be of great worth. The first is LSB's marginal Scripture references for each line in the services. Of course you can do the same Bible Study with TLH or LW, but for some reason the people react better to the study when they see that the hymnal has, as it were, provided its own footnotes.

But even better than this, in terms of teaching the people, has been the use of historic artwork. Here is an amazing website that will let you zoom in on the Ghent Altarpiece with incredible detail and produce handouts or slides. My Midwestern, died in the wool Lutherans absolutely ate this up when combined with a look at Revelation 4-7.

I'm planning to study Holbein's The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb on Sunday. Read this from the Tate Museum for some more depth on the piece (that's for your background: don't read this out loud to Grandma Schickelgrueber!).

But my favorite art history series for Bible Class is Historische Bilder zum Evangelisch-Lutherischen Gottesdienst by Helmut Schatz. We all owe Fr. Kurt Hering and the saints of God at Trinity in Layton, UT for putting this up online. It's simply amazing. If your German is not very good, don't forget that you can just pop a paragraph of text into Google Translate and probably muddle through just fine. But again, it's not so much the text as the pictures.

You can read Ap. XXIV.1 to your people all day long and perhaps not get a very good response to the changes you would like to make to the Divine Service to increase reverence. But show them what Lutheran worship actually looked like in the 15th and 16th centuries and it seems to sink in. "Wow, this is what Lutherans did!"


A depiction of the first Lutheran Divine Service in Brandenburg, 1539


  1. I thought we held the chalice with our right hands... :)

  2. Bishop von Jagow has an interesting biography...maybe this is also part of it :)


  3. @Pr. H.R.
    I would love to publish your Liturgy Bible study on our website as part of our 500th anniversary celebration. We are all about the liturgy and how it applies to Lutheran Living. Would you mind getting in touch? David Bogardus

  4. Wow! Great post. And God be praised fro Fr. Kurt Hering and the saints of God at Trinity in Layton, UT. What a fantastic resource. Thanks.

  5. Great picture. I note incidentally that the celebrant is wearing a cope, not a chasuble. Odd. Also, why is everyone standing, but the thurifer is kneeling? Also odd. And what's that guy second from the right looking at? Heaven? Pietist! he should be adoring the Host! Also, the missal stand is in the middle, not on the side. And that paten is rather small. But, as I said, minor details in an otherwise great painting; e.g., I love the altar crucifix. Yet sometimes they say that the devil is in the details . . .

  6. I refuse to believe everyone was drinking from the common Cup. Where are the "Jesus jiggers"?

  7. It still bugs me when people take pictures in Church. Imagine how annoying it was to have a guy painting this portrait!

  8. deusrevalatte-- LOL :) milk spewing out the nose onto the monitor LOL!
    thanks pal, I needed it that
    (wait, are we allowed to laugh during Passiontide???)

  9. "I refuse to believe everyone was drinking from the common Cup. Where are the "Jesus jiggers"? -- Mr. Green

    In accordance with standard Lutheran practice, the jigger-jugglers were served first, and thence cheerfully departed early to catch the Packer kick-off.

    But to be perfectly honest, I'd have given that kneeling chap with the sword PLENTY of room, too.

    Your (unworthy) servant,
    Herr Doktor SSP


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