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“The Blessings of Weekly Communion” – Wieting

May 7th, 2006
Marketing Advertising Blog — VuManhThang.Com

A great new book. Ryan Fouts receives the "First Blog Notice" award for identifying the availability of this book.  I’ve been reading it this week at home in the evenings and I have to say that it is really fantastic. It offers an extremely helpful explanation of why the historical Lutheran practice of offering the Lord’s Supper at each weekly Divine Service turned into the situation by 1920 whereby it was offered only four times a year! I love this thought from the book. When the church offers the Sacrament at every Divine Service it is not forcing anyone to receive it, but it is also not forcing anyone to *not* receive it. Rough paraphrase, not as well said as the book says it, but…you get the point.
Little Loci – "The Blessings of Weekly Communion" – Wieting.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. May 7th, 2006 at 15:29 | #1

    I’ve been looking forward to the advent of this book for awhile.
    One of my dearest friends is Pr. Wieting’s vicar.

  2. May 7th, 2006 at 21:50 | #2

    Is it beneficial to have the Lord’s Supper available every Sunday?

    This question may sound like a no-brainer, yet many concientious Lutherans disagree. Of course, the answer is yes, as long as it is celebrated in a God-pleasing way. Apparently, I am not the only one who sees things this way, and now you can read more a

  3. Ryan Fehrmann
    May 10th, 2006 at 12:11 | #3

    Ditto to the above. Ordered my copy today. But hey, where is Gerhard’s Theological Commonplaces, I got a catalogue today that said it was out in March and its May and I can’t find it in the CPH website.
    McCain: The first volume should be out in June. Catalogs are prepared well in advance and the best estimate at the time they are printed is the one that is printed. Patience is a virtue, that will, be richly rewarded in this case!

  4. Rev. Allen Bergstrazer
    May 13th, 2006 at 14:31 | #4

    I have found over the years, both as layman and pastor that tradition has often been the curb to my own zealous folly. As a young man I didn’t realize how I mocked the church of my father, and his father before with the smirking comment that the seven last words of the church are “we’ve never done it that way before.” I remember going to a retreat and sitting with a big name in church growth who told me “the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expect better results.”
    That thought was intended to be an indictment of a church whose traditions were seen as sclerotic, rather than a blessed burden. But that night we watched the winter Olympics, and I wondered ‘how did these people become world class athletes?” They got that way by repetition, by repeating the basics until they got them right, and then they pushed themselves beyond the records of the past—yet still within the boundaries of the past i.e., the rules of the game. Doing the same thing over and over is the path to excellence, not mediocrity. Which is to say neither the church fathers, nor my father for that matter were insane.
    Though it is certainly true we can make an idol of antiquity, it is also true that we in our sinful desire can make an idol of novelty. And that is the sin I repented of, and that is the sin I saw around me. The idolization of novelty, to the point I listened to pastors who sought to virtually destroy 100+ year old churches to ‘make room’ for the latest trend. Fortunately in most cases, the tradition held, because the blessed laymen saw what the blinded pastor did not, that he was selling their heritage for progress, and the price was too high. They saw as well that what had once been called doctrine, the symbols of the church re-labeled tradition, and summarily dismissed as a vestige of an earlier time-and so their inheritance and the inheritance of their grandchildren was to be sold for a bowl of soup.
    I recall Rev. Dr. William Willamon’s discovery of this, as he began serving as dean of Chapel at Duke. He couldn’t understand how he was going to preach the word of God to jaded attention span deficit teenagers in this museum of a building. A few years later he was thankful for that old chapel with its soaring collegiate gothic ceiling and stained glass windows, because it made an indelible statement to the middle class suburban kids who came there thinking the world revolved around them, “kid, I don’t’ care what you got on your SAT, God is bigger than you.”
    That is also the comfort tradition brings to us in Architecture, art and worship. As I sat in those old dorm rooms at the St. Louis Seminary I saw the scars on the woodwork, stains on the stones, the evidence that of hundreds of men had been here before, and made it through—and so would I. I saw this as I preached in a little church in Pilot Knob Missouri, though the building indeed is a museum, the church is not, the bride of Christ was not an old maid who had given up hope, pining for more, but a bride who had all she ever needed in her Lord.
    Yes, tradition serves as a curb to our folly until we grow mature enough, until we have learned why we do what we do, and understand that not everything new is good, not everything old is a burden. We don’t have to use the lection, we agree to do so, but it protects the congregation from the pastor’s folly of proclaiming his own opinion, expounding the latest trends, or expunging the gospel entirely from the Divine Service. We don’t have to use the liturgy, yet without it we lose the fruits of repeating what is sure and true week after week, year after year. Tradition can seem a burden to our 21st century sensibilities, because the world tells us that the greatest sin is to be dull, that the greater virtue is fit in with the culture and let it define the church.
    But it is a blessed burden when we go to the death bed of one of our members, who cannot see, who can scarcely speak, yet when the pastor comes to give the Sacrament; and speaks the words of confession ‘I a poor miserable sinner confess unto Thee all my sins and iniquities…” the dying Christian whispers what he has always said, knowing the response from his Lord will be the same just as it has always been throughout his life, fair weather or foul, the promise remains true; “I forgive you all your sins.”
    As I read your letter I thought of some quotes, since change and novelty are often introduced in the name of Luther and the Reformation;
    …no novelty has been introduced which did not exist in the church from ancient times… (Augsburg Confession XXIV:40 [German])
    We gladly keep the old traditions set up in the church because they are useful and promote tranquility, and we interpret them in an evangelical way, excluding the opinion that they justify. Our enemies falsely accuse us of abolishing good ordinances and church discipline. We can truthfully claim that in our churches the public liturgy is more decent than in theirs, and if you look at it correctly we are more faithful to the canons than our opponents are. (Apology XV:38-39)
    On holy days, and at other times when communicants are present, Mass is held and those who desire it are communicated. Thus the Mass is preserved among us in its proper use, the use which was formerly observed in the church and which can be proved by St. Paul’s statement in I Cor. 11:20 ff. and by many statements of the Fathers. (Augsburg Confession XXIV:34-35 [German])
    Since, therefore, the Mass among us is supported by the example of the church as seen from the Scriptures and the Fathers, we are confident that it cannot be disapproved, especially since the customary public ceremonies are for the most part retained. (Augsburg Confession XXIV:40 [Latin])
    …we do not abolish the Mass but religiously keep and defend it. In our churches Mass is celebrated every Sunday and on other festivals, when the sacrament is offered to those who wish for it after they have been examined and absolved. (Apology XXIV:1)
    Also the words of Dr. Walther come to mind; though to our post modern ears they seem harsh and intolerant, they are never the less prescient;
    We refuse to be guided by those who are offended by our church customs. We adhere to them all the more firmly when someone wants to cause us to have a guilty conscience on account of them. … It is truly distressing that many of our fellow Christians find the differences between Lutheranism and papism in outward things. It is a pity and dreadful cowardice when one sacrifices the good and ancient customs to please the deluded American sects, lest they accuse us of being papistic.
    Indeed! Am I to be afraid of a Methodist, who perverts the saving Word, or be ashamed in the matter of my good cause, and not rather rejoice that the sects can tell by our ceremonies that I do not belong to them?
    We are not insisting that there be unity of perception or feelings or of taste among all believing Christians, neither dare anyone demand that all be minded as he. Nevertheless it remains true that the Lutheran liturgy distinguishes Lutheran worship from the worship of other churches to such an extent that the latter look like lecture halls in which the hearers are merely addressed or instructed, while our churches are in truth houses of prayer in which the Christians serve God publicly before the world.
    C. F. W. Walther, Essays for the Church, Vol. 1 [Concordia Publishing House, 1992], p. 194.)
    The traditions of the church are a blessed burden to me not because I have grown old and love the sameness of it, nor because I was born with a gift for appreciating medieval music, but because they are mine. Just as they were my grandfather’s and his father’s, they became a part of their lives, and they have become a part of mine, the church did not adapt to me, but I to it–there’s a traditon for you!
    Blessings to you and keep up the good work,
    Rev. Allen Bergstrazer,
    St. Paul Lutheran Church, Chambers NE.

  5. May 21st, 2006 at 21:06 | #5

    The Blessings of Weekly Communion

    Pastor-Elect Fouts has on his blog an excellent suggestion to purchase a new book coming out from CPH.  I saw this book while visiting my friends who are about to be scattered at the CPH Bookstore and almost picked it up.  However, all I need is anot…

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