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Not Saying Alleluia During Lent is Stupid (Sure to Cause Apoplexy Among High Church Purists)

February 18th, 2010
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Not saying Alleluia during Lent is stupid!

There I said it, and I’m glad I did. While pastors might think that we in the pews view the fact that we don’t say Alleluia with any degree of attention or interest, they are wrong. It is stupid, silly, ridiculous and entirely fabricated out of whole cloth. But I am not the only one who thought it silly, so did Martin Luther. It’s a shame those obsessed with liturgical-trivia were able to foist the “no alleluia” rule on the Lutheran church.

Dr. Luther, in an Invocavit sermon in his House Postil wrote:

“The general duties and works of love need no new command; they are already laid down and ordered in the Ten Commandments.  We are all enjoined of God to hear His Word, to love Him, to pray to Him, to be obedient to our parents, to love our neighbor, to shun all lasciviousness and to hold matrimony in high esteem.  All this is God’s will and institution; therefore no especial call of the Holy Spirit to enter matrimony, to become father or mother, is needed.  Such matters have all been arranged and commanded of God.  But we nowhere find a command or word of God, which would demand of us to run into cloisters for the purpose of serving God, or to avoid eating meat, eggs or butter during the Lenten season, or to sing no Hallelujah in that time; and therefore all such observances are no true service of God.”

He expresses the same thought in Formula Missae (AE 53:24):

“For the alleluia is the perpetual voice of the Church, just as the memorial of His passion and victory is perpetual.”

My good friend Pastor Weedon feels strongly there is deep meaning in all the liturgical trimming during Lent. He takes his cue from O.P. Kretzmann who, in my view, indulges in rhetorical and romanticized puffery, not substance. I can’t agree, but he makes his point well.

OK, now that I have a few people thoroughly exercised, please note that I am not saying we should ignore this rubric and that we should not follow it, I’m simply saying why I think it is stupid. But since it is adiaphora, I am happy to give up a bit of my freedom and personal opinion for the sake of unity. We’d all be better off if we did that.

For instance, some might think throwing themselves on the chancel floor is a great way to observe Good Friday, but we don’t do it, that is, if we care about unity. Some think putting the Lord’s Supper away in a Tabernacle on the altar and claiming it is perpetually the Lord’s body and blood and adoring it is a good thing, but we don’t do that. We know better. Some think that ignoring the rubrics and the liturgy and swapping out for it something that looks like the local non-denominational church is ok, but it is not. As much as possible, we must all give up our freedom and our right to exercise that freedom, for the sake of unity. The wisdom of the adage “Say the black, do the red” is still very much holds, and I wish it were everywhere observed.

So, you are free to disagree with a rubric, but in love, you follow it. If we follow rubrics for the sake of rubrics, then that is a problem. When doing the liturgy “just so” becomes an end in itself, we have a problem. Rubrics are a means, to an end, not the end itself. There’s something more important here than rubrics. And this is precisely why we follow them!

Now you know the point of this blog post.


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  1. February 18th, 2010 at 18:57 | #1

    I remember someone who said, “Do the red, read the black.”

    Is the Lutheran Church a new church?

    The joy of Alleluia comes by way of Easter, a few weeks put away to remind us of this is not going to break anything.

    We do not subscribe to every private opinion of Blessed Martin, as you know.

  2. Tom Fast
    February 18th, 2010 at 19:11 | #2

    Paul,

    I love ya man. I must not be understanding your comments clearly.

    Aren’t you the one always contending that we ought to “say the black, do the red?”

    The LSB, which I happen to think is a wonderful hymnal, has rubrics on p 154, 157, 164, 170, 173, 181, etc. which direct the christian congregation to omit alleluias during lent.

    You must have some script running in your head that you were responding to when you wrote this. A script that I don’t have. Happens to me all the time when I’m speaking or writing to others, so I know that song and dance.

    But seriously….

    What gives?

  3. Weedon
    February 18th, 2010 at 19:21 | #3

    The beauty of liturgical humility is to submit to practices that you may not think are the best or ideal, but that your Church has provided in her ordo. I, for one, have always thought that Luther’s insight on the Alleluia’s being the perpetual song of the Church (a better quote than the one you provided is in AE 53:24) touches the deeper core of the meaning of Sunday as always celebrating the resurrection of our Lord. Yet, no matter what I or Luther or you happen to think, our rubrics in fact call for a different practice. To submit to one another in these matters that do not involve sin, but only the death of me having it my way, so that we can all “say the black and do the red” together is blessed thing.

  4. Josh Venske
    February 18th, 2010 at 20:05 | #4

    It really is pretty dumb. By not saying or singing Alleluia during Lent, it seems to imply that this is a time to feel sorry for Jesus, or something like that. We should be singing Alleluia now, especially, because this is a time in which we observe Jesus coming into his glory, the glory of his cross, where he atoned for the sin of the world. Alleluia to our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!

  5. Gregory DeVore
    February 18th, 2010 at 20:30 | #5

    This is a very good point. I mean what better time to sing Alleluia then meditating on the passion of our Lord.The quote from Luther you ran seems to discourage lenten fasting. It fits with Lutheran practice there, however, as your earlier post stated we need fasting and it is not optional. Your posts on fasting has inspired me to preach on fasting this sunday.

  6. Weedon
    February 18th, 2010 at 20:53 | #6

    By the bye, the Eastern Orthodox INTENSIFY their alleluias during Lent. It is an interesting contrast with the West. No one has written better on the practice than O. P. Kretzmann. I offer his words for consideration:From the sainted O.P. Kretzmann:

    The last Hallelujah dies away in chapel and cathedral, and while the echo still lingers among the rafters, the violet paraments of sorrow are placed upon the altar… It will be Easter morning before the Hallelujah is heard again…

    There is wisdom in this… It is another and profound difference between the Church and the world… The world never willingly abandons joy… Her votaries hang on to happiness with all the strength they have – until, inevitably, it is taken away from them… They have forgotten that the line of life must sometimes go down into the darkness of sorrow… It is never easy, but it is better to go down willingly than to be driven down like a slave… To give up joy by the strength of Him who gave up heaven is a part of the way by which joy and heaven will return… Easter can come only to the heart that has known Lent…

    The shadow which clings to all earthly good when it is seen in the light of faith is inevitable… Because of this the Christian view of life *appears* so much darker than the pagan – checkered with a darkness more intense the brighter the light of faith shines upon it… But the farewell to Hallelujah, though necessary, is only temporary… It springs from the strong compulsions of the dust from which we came and the stronger compulsions of the everlasting mercy which has lifted us from that dust… When all is said and done, Christianity is a religion of deeper gladness just because it is a religion of deeper fear and greater sorrow… The Cross remains the world climax of divine and human sorrow, ineffably distant and ineffably close, the sorrow of sin and the pain of man’s long and lonely separation from God…

    So it is good that our Hallelujahs are silent for a little time… In their stead appear the crown of thorns, the drops the blood, the way of mourning, the five wounds, and the sound of our hands driving nails… And on Eastern Morn our returning Hallelujahs will say that our Lord arose and ascended into heaven, that He is now the King of Glory, who has given us a share in both His suffering and His victory, in His passion and His power, in His former pain and in His present peace… (*The Pilgrim*)

    • February 18th, 2010 at 20:59 | #7

      Saying, “Praise the Lord” – which is all Alleluia means, knows of no stopping or cessation. I’m standing by my “not saying alleluia during Lent is stupid” position. This discussion reminds me of the painfully silly conversations about the alleged great difference in meaning between “And also with you” and “The Lord be with you.”

  7. Michael Borgstede
    February 18th, 2010 at 20:55 | #8

    I have always believed that each Sunday is a little Easter, even in Lent. We are free to choose what will communicate to our congregations the purity of the Gospel so of we celebrate our little Easters with alleluia to our risen Savior I think that is in good order.
    Thanks for a good blog
    Pastor Mike

  8. David Bergquist
    February 18th, 2010 at 20:59 | #9

    What about singing Alleluia during the days in the middle of Lent that are not counted among the 40, but are each a little Easter? What about “Sunday of the Passion” on one of these little Easters?

  9. Tom Fast
    February 18th, 2010 at 21:30 | #10

    Stupid is a pretty harsh word to use, it seems to me. Perhaps you see value in not omitting the alleluias. Fine. But do you really want to call it stupid?

    • February 18th, 2010 at 21:39 | #11

      Yup. Not saying “Praise the Lord” makes no sense to me, at all. Never has, never will.

  10. Tom Fast
    February 19th, 2010 at 04:27 | #12

    I see you have changed your initial post and offered some comments which confirm your commitment to read the black and do the red. So I’ve calmed down. There was a hole being ripped in my rubrical universe. Now all is right with the world again. In point of fact, repentance is unto joy. And it is a wonder of God. It is, as one theologian put it, like being skinned alive and then reclothed in the righteousness of Christ. So as much as I hate to say it, you may well have a point, Paul McCain. Boy do I hate it when that happens. But I am not upset at all in following the rubrics which call us to omit the alleluias. There is a point to that, as well. And I think you are just being an imp and trying to make us think. Or maybe you just enjoy watching Tom Fast go apoplectic. Don’t be too proud of yourself for that. It’s pretty easy to do. :-) Cheers.

  11. February 19th, 2010 at 06:41 | #14

    Just seconding Pastor Weedon’s notes about the Eastern Church (particularlly the Syriac Rites, which I celebrates for several years) intensifying “the A word” during Lent. Both practices, IMO, have much to commend them, but I will be obedient to the Rubrics of whatever rite I am celebrating. So, since I am now in a Western Rite congregation, it’s no “A” word until Pascha…

    Rob+

  12. Norman Teigen
    February 19th, 2010 at 08:17 | #15

    A point well made. You are right.

  13. Randy Keyes
    February 19th, 2010 at 08:27 | #16

    What a fun discussion to watch! Almost as much fun as when the NIV came out, I was still a Baptist, and I got to sit back and watch the fireworks from the KJ only crowd! ;) Great discussion starter Pastor McCain! Such feisty debate honors the Scots-Irish heritage of your name! Slainte Mhath!

  14. Rev. Jim Roemke
    February 19th, 2010 at 08:46 | #17

    While I understand your point, Paul, I notice many of my brother pastors have not noticed it therefore I am quite certain the people in my congregation who read your blog faithfully may not understand it either, which will make my job as their pastor potentially much more difficult this Sunday morning. I can already hear it, “But Pastor, Paul McCain, who published LSB said its stupid to remove alleluias during Lent!” Again, while I understand the point you are trying to make and largely agree with it, the way you make your point has some potential to make life harder for your brother pastors.

    • February 19th, 2010 at 09:53 | #18

      Jim, simple solution: refer them to my blog site. Use the opportunity to do precisely what I did on my blog: understand why we follow rubrics.

  15. February 19th, 2010 at 11:06 | #19

    Of course not all rubrics are of the same cloth. Some rubrics, like seasonal variations, are there as catechetical lesson plans, while other rubrics are there to guide the administration of the sacraments, while others provide order and expression of reverence in an orderly way. But I stand by my point, the Lutheran Church does not hold to every opinion of Blessed Martin. No pastor or church father can have a monopoly in these matters.

  16. Tom Fast
    February 19th, 2010 at 11:11 | #20

    There is a certain profound grief in repentance. Appropriately so, as there is the death of someone very close to you. And there needs to be a place to express this. But ultimately repentance is the turn to new life and the joy of the Father’s arms wrapped around you and the ring of sonship on your finger. Perhaps the struggle of ramping up or omitting the alleluias during a penitential season ought to be understood in light of this.

    Repentance is much like the Pauline: “Grieve, but do not grieve as those who have no Hope.”

    Working through that liturgically can be a sticky wicket, I suppose.

    Interesting to think about.

  17. Terry Maher (Past Elder)
    February 19th, 2010 at 12:11 | #21

    Unglaublich. However, there are sufficient matters of the day to prevent me from unloading about all this now, especially since it will all come back up again at the other end of Lent re Communion on Good Friday.

    • February 19th, 2010 at 12:26 | #22

      But if I’m not mistaken our rubrics leave this as an option for congregations, to commune or not to commune.

      Preview: I see no reason why on Good Friday we should not receive the very instruments of our salvation in the Blessed Sacrament. Yes, I’ve read the liturgical explanations about why we don’t commune on Good Friday. Not buying that either!

  18. Craig
    February 19th, 2010 at 12:23 | #23

    Pastor McCain,
    Your blog is Great for learning about the Christian Year, Bach and a few other things. I refer all new Lutherans to your blog to get a better understanding of Lutheran worship. But on the 3rd use of the law (you are a flaming Baptist) and you are just wrong! Ripping the practice of the LSB during Lent is “Stupid”, and for all the new Lutherans this just causes confusion. I am much more comfortable to submit to my church on areas that are merely preference not Divine mandates. I understand that this is your blog and you can express what you want. However, you have a large mixed audience and you have a responsibility as a pastor to feed the sheep. You have done an excellent job with the vast majority of your posts! Your work at CPH is tremendous and I use Concordia, TDP, TLSB daily, thank you so much! But dude back off your personal problems with how “some” Lutherans don’t do the 3rd use properly. I know that Cwrila with be mad at me for quoting him but he told me that “the 3rd use is the Holy Spirits job to work in and through the preached Word, not the preachers job to point out which use of the law it is….” So keep up the good work, lay off Dr. Rosenbladt and his shirts, get over your Reformed view of the 3rd use (Dr. Hein may be of some help to you here), and let Lutheran Churches practice “stupid” forms in their hymnal in peace.

    • February 19th, 2010 at 16:50 | #24

      Craig, I’d say you have a bit more to learn. I’m sorry you have been misled on the matter of sanctification and third use of the Law by those who themselves are, at best, confused. Cwirla, not being one of them.

  19. Jahnke
    February 19th, 2010 at 14:02 | #25

    You are right this is a painfully silly conversation, but remember you brought it up and opened the door for the bucking ox to get out.

    ptmccain :Saying, “Praise the Lord” – which is all Alleluia means, knows of no stopping or cessation. I’m standing by my “not saying alleluia during Lent is stupid” position. This discussion reminds me of the painfully silly conversations about the alleged great difference in meaning between “And also with you” and “The Lord be with you.”

    • February 19th, 2010 at 15:04 | #26

      No, the conversation is not painfully silly, at all. It is vital and we need to keep raising the issues. The “silly” thing I was referencing are the painful attempts to make “And with your spirit” mean something different than “and also with you.” The arguments trying to imply this is somehow the “Holy Spirit of ordination” and such are all ex post facto romanticized liturgical explanations that collapse under the weight of their own facile approaches.

  20. Terry Maher (Past Elder)
    February 19th, 2010 at 15:56 | #27

    Oh no. I ain’t jumping in about Communion on Good Friday until closer to the time. Besides, it’ll draw a better crowd then. And I ain’t saying bupkis about et cum spiritu tuo ending up as and also with you and the whole word for word versus thought for thought why is one not OK for Scriptural texts but OK for liturgical ones, not a word about that either. And I ain’t saying Alleluia liturgically during Lent either by which I ain’t stopping or ceasing praising the Lord. What I may do though, it being a Friday during Lent, is swing by McDuck’s for a Double Quarter #4 supersized.

    • February 19th, 2010 at 16:15 | #28

      OK, we shall have to revisit the “no communion on Good Friday” thing as we get closer, perhaps best to put it past Easter so as not to appear to be arguing during Pascha, or causing heartburn.

  21. Lindsey
    February 19th, 2010 at 16:18 | #29

    Craig, Pastor McCain’s clarity on how to use the 3rd use of the Law is why I started reading his blog in the first place. I was a fellow Lutheran who was disgusted by what I saw several other Lutherans doing not just in the blogosphere but at the college I went too: justifying their sinful lifestyles and behaviors because they were “Lutheran” and didn’t “have to live a Christian life”, etc. etc. Paul and I don’t agree with everything, but I’m so glad I found his blog and his posts about that same subject. I found myself saying “Yes! Yes! He gets it! I can comfortably still say I’m a Lutheran without being embarrassed that my church “really teaches cheap grace.” I don’t mean to chastise, but I just wanted to let you know that there ARE other Lutherans out there who really appreciate Paul’s blog posts about the lack of sanctification, cheap grace, etc. that several Lutherans preach, teach, and live and seeing them was a breath of fresh air. Maybe you haven’t encountered that, but I have and so have several other Lutherans.

  22. Joanne
    February 19th, 2010 at 20:32 | #30

    I remember reading one of Luther’s smack-downs about the lenten practice of draping the crucifix with purple gauze, changing to black on Good Friday. He hated it. Then about 2 weeks later on the spring choir tour staring down from the choir loft at the purple draped altar-crucifix in the chapel at Concordia Seminary, Springfield thinking that it looked pretty and wondering why Luther didn’t like it. As with the Alleluias, he just had strong opinions about some things.

    Sometime later, I remember reading that the Sundays during Lent aren’t part of Lent. As mentioned above, each Sunday is an Easter. The names of the Sundays, Invocavit, Reminiscere, Oculi, Laetare, and Judica (probably taken from a lesson or the introit) are not lenten names, especially not laetare. We use Wednesday nights for lenten services because Sundays are not meant to carry the freight of lent.

    When Christians went to church on many days of the week, Sunday was Sunday. Now we used it for the whole liturgical year.

    Still, I’m glad we’re all united on the rubrics to “chant the black and do the red.” ;-)

    kai to pnefmati sou

  23. Terry Maher (Past Elder)
    February 19th, 2010 at 22:19 | #31

    A double Dresden Amen to what Lindsey said!

  24. February 20th, 2010 at 19:34 | #32

    I was introduced to this practice at the Seminary I attended (WLS in Mequon), hardly a bastion of “high church purists” – the exact opposite in fact. On the last week of the Epiphany season (when we in the WELS celebrate the Transfiguration) we sang the song, “Alleluia, Song of Triumph” as one of the students carried a banner with the word “Alleluia” on it out of the small chapel. Usually it would be sung without the organ and in our tiny chapel the males voices resounded greatly. It stuck with me and I introduced this practice in my congregation right away. An acolyte walks the Alleluia banner out during the final hymn on Transfiguration Sunday (Alleluia, Song of Triumph).

    I have found it to be a great teaching tool. On Transfiguration Sunday (the Sunday before Ash Wed. in our pericope) we see both the highs of the Transfiguration and the humility of the cross that is to come. The next time we meet the color will be black and the mood somber (Ash Wed.). Considering Peter’s desire to bottle up the glory of heaven and keep it on earth and Jesus’ “resolute” turn to Jerusalem (Lk. 9:51 NIV), it is a perfect time to teach about the contrast between the theology of glory versus the theology of the cross. It also is a visual and powerful turn from the Epiphany season and the season of Lent (I realize that our pericopes differ here).

    Yes, every Sunday is a mini Easter (Maundy Thursday and Good Friday too!) but that doesn’t mean there are different emphases in different seasons. With all the pressure to be different and fresh every week, I welcome any seasonal changes the history of the church points out to me. Not only does it provide a built-in variety, but it teaches something about Lutheran theology, it gets people in tune with the church year and reiterates the idea that our God is not a floating abstraction oblivious to us but rather loving enough to come into our time and space (incarnation, vocation, Word and Sacrament).

    Most importantly for me, it is a huge contrast to the “prosperity gospel” my people are exposed to through TV Evangelists and Christian book stores. “It is good for us to be here Lord,” we say on Transfiguration Sunday, “but we know what is coming, the cross, for Jesus and for us. And that’s OK, this touch of heaven will return in glory on Easter and finally when we are taken to heaven we get it in its fullness. Until then we bear a cross, but the burden is light.”

    It is good to have these contrasts throughout the year as long as they are taught thoroughly. They have been a huge objective lesson for me and my congregation. We see Jesus revealed in the Epiphany season (with the Transfiguration the capping moment) and then we see him purposely begin traveling to Jerusalem (the place where prophets die). In this we see ourselves moving from Epiphany to Lent but also we see our lives that can be dark at times, but with little reminders of heaven that keep us going until we get to our paradise. And it is magnificent on Easter, when we end our fast of eyes and ears, the flowers are bright, the color is white and the songs are light! Not everybody appreciates that contrast but there are many tender hearts who are in tune with these subtleties. It teaches them about the theology of glory vs. the theology of the cross and gives them great comfort. Some respond more to visual and physical things like this than others and these are no snobby purists! We can be both “tough-minded” and “tender-hearted” to use an apologetic classification. And it is important to do so. For instance, it doesn’t make sense to put out flowers on Ash Wed. or Good Fri. with when the color is black. Then the flowers just become an empty tradition (they look nice) instead of a symbol of the resurrection. The Alleluia is different, I concede, but it is also attached intimately to the resurrection… “Alleluia! He is risen, He is risen indeed, Alleluia!” We can teach with both words and symbols.

    The song I mentioned above balances the strong desire to always have the song Alleluia on our lips and Easter on our minds with the reality that Jesus had to die first and we bear the cross until we get to our eternal resurrection. I look forward every year to this Sunday. I love it when my acolytes line up to do perform this task. I love it when there is a cool tradition that practically applies to my people’s life (and mine). I love it when there is a variety in the liturgy that I didn’t make up but has some broader history to it. Transfiguration Sunday is a hidden gem of the pericope and is becoming one of my favorite Sundays of the year. Speaking as a man who gains no praise for caring about the liturgy and church history but rather is often ridiculed for it… There are many criticisms that can rightly come my way about the way I delicately but purposely teach my people about Lutheran theology and practice, the omission of the Alleluia is not one of them, or at least 100th on the list.

    Here are the words of Jason Mason’s song (11th Century) sung to PICARDY. He really does balance both opinions nicely.

    Alleluia, song of triumph, sound of joy that cannot die;
    Alleluia is the anthem ever dear to choir on high;
    Saints adorned in robes of glory join the great angelic cry.

    Alleluia we are singing, voicing hymn in pure accord,
    With Christ’s holy Church united, justified, redeemed, restored,
    And with all his faithful people raise our songs to praise the Lord.

    Alleluia cannot always be our song while here below;
    Alleluia our transgressions make us for a while forego.
    For the solemn time is coming when our tears for sin must flow.

    May our hymns be filled with longing – hear us, Trinity,
    As we look to your blest Easter, here, and then eternally,
    When we shall once more be singing Alleluia joyfully!

    • February 21st, 2010 at 06:50 | #33

      This is a very thoughtful explanation and defense of removing the Alleuluias during Lent. I am well aware of all this and you do a nice job explaining it. But, simply put, not saying “Alleluia” – which mean, simply: “Praise the Lord,” and then trying to explain this means we are being humble and repentant has never made even a bit of sense to me. I regard it, as did Luther, as as unfortunate omission. I do think it is stupid and silly to not say “Alleluia” during Lent. I can’t think of a better time to say that in the Church Year.

  25. February 21st, 2010 at 09:57 | #34

    Alleluia! There I said it for it will not be said today in the Divine Service. Radical man!

    • February 21st, 2010 at 15:50 | #35

      I love my friends who believe, some more passionately than others, that dropping the word “Alleluia” is a mark of humble penitence. I don’t see it. But since it is purely a matter of adiaphora, we can give it up with a clear conscience. I still think the rationale is ridiculous, silly, stupid and otherwise, but until everyone agrees with me, it is not my place to impose my [obviously correct] point of view on others and demand they agree with me.

  26. Joanne
    February 21st, 2010 at 18:30 | #36

    “Dropping words” is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks.

    Well, it’s all foolish. We accepted the opproprium of the Greeks when we started out on this journey. Are we arguing that this particular tradition is just more foolish than certain others? “Rediculous, silly, and stupid” are terms to describe something like a movie. I’ve seen people use these words to respond to Avatard. They are expressing distaste and very little else. De gustibus non est disputandem.

    We do all agree with you, that when the Bridegroom is with us, we should never stop saying Hallelujah. However, for now and until the Emperor calls another ecumenical council, we’ll be good little katholikoi, chanting the black and doing the red.

    • February 21st, 2010 at 18:31 | #37

      Except for the fact that “catholic” embraces more than the Western tradition. On this point, the East definitely has it right. Better to say Alleluia more, not less, during Great Lent.

  27. February 21st, 2010 at 18:40 | #38

    And I would hardly compare not saying “Alleluia” to the “offense of the Gospel.” I’ve yet to hear any cogent explanation for why not saying “Praise the Lord” is an expression of repentance. On its face, it simply is senseless. I view it as an accretion of Romanism, that, as Luther right pointed out, was given toward a whole host of silliness liturgically. But, since there is no sin in not saying it, I can go along with it, even while describing it as fundamentally stupid, silly and reeediculous! That’s my freedom in the Gospel, and others are free to disagree.

  28. February 22nd, 2010 at 00:21 | #39

    ptmccain :The “silly” thing I was referencing are the painful attempts to make “And with your spirit” mean something different than “and also with you.” The arguments trying to imply this is somehow the “Holy Spirit of ordination” and such are all ex post facto romanticized liturgical explanations that collapse under the weight of their own facile approaches.

    Pr. McCain, are you saying I should tell my pastor that everything he was telling us in adult Bible class this morning about “the little ordination” is wrong?

    • February 22nd, 2010 at 08:47 | #40

      I find no support for the view that “and with your spirit” is a “little ordination” in Scripture or our Lutheran Confessions. I believe it is a post facto explanation of what is, frankly, simply a brotherly form of greeting amongst Christians. It is a Roman Catholic view that “and with your spirit” refers to the Holy Spirit given to the priest at ordination which permits him to make present Christ in the Mass. See: http://alanphipps.blogspot.com/2009/08/what-does-and-with-your-spirit-mean.html

  29. February 22nd, 2010 at 00:22 | #41

    ptmccain :But, since there is no sin in not saying it, I can go along with it, even while describing it as fundamentally stupid, silly and reeediculous! That’s my freedom in the Gospel, and others are free to disagree.

    What if this adiaphora offends people?

    • February 22nd, 2010 at 08:47 | #42

      Then they should get over being offended, see today’s post on Christian maturity.

  30. February 22nd, 2010 at 12:06 | #43

    @Weedon
    The Orthodox always sing “Alleluia” after the Gospel, but during lenten weekday (non-festal) services “Alleluia” replaces “God is the Lord” at Matins.

  31. February 22nd, 2010 at 14:57 | #44

    @ptmccain

    PTM, in comment # 38 you say “I’ve yet to hear any cogent explanation for why not saying “Praise the Lord” is an expression of repentance.”

    In the Scriptures of the New Testament the word for repentance is metanoia. Varied forms of the verb are used as well, but this is the word used for repentance both as a noun and as a verb. The word means “change of mind/thinking.”The Scriptural usage of metanoia concerning us sinners is always a change from our thinking to the thinking that the Lord works and declares for us and also in us. It is a change from our thoughts and ways. Such things as fasting were outward exercises that assisted in remembering this needed change in the thinking of the members of the household of faith, continually needing to be called apart from our thinking to thinking akin to the way of true faith. Omitting “Alleluia” reflects a “change of mind” involved in setting aside some of our ascriptions of praise for a brief season so as to be re-minded regarding the fact that true praise does not originate with us but with the activity of God in and for His Church?

    • February 23rd, 2010 at 07:58 | #45

      If it requires this level of mental gymnastics to explain how not ascribing praise to the Lord is a way of being repentant, I think my point is made.

  32. February 22nd, 2010 at 15:31 | #46

    “One man esteems one day better than another, while another man esteems all days alike. Let everyone be persuaded in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord.” Romans 14: 5-6

    There are fellow Christians who would say our whole observance of Lent is “stupid.” Of course, I disagree.

    I have never been a “high church purist,” but have found the omitting of alleluias during Lent to be meaningful.

    (I’m taking it that you don’t think highly or high church purists?)

  33. Joanne
    February 22nd, 2010 at 18:50 | #47

    I think that’s an ‘only on Sunday’ thing in the East. They do drop the alleluias during the week. @ptmccain

  34. Rev. David Sidwell
    February 23rd, 2010 at 07:46 | #48

    Wow, this has all the hallmarks of dispensationalists arguing about the position of the tribulation– I suspect we are the only group in Christendom worrying about this. The “turn”in the service for Lent One was quite distinctive with dropping of the Alleluias and the Gloria. It worked in setting a distinct direction toward Easter. I have seen LCMS churches easily turn every Sunday into Lent even with their (icy) Alleluias. I would propose that the “spirit” of worship in the church transcends the bits we worry about.

  35. Michael Mohr
    February 23rd, 2010 at 08:40 | #49

    Well, I tried to post this a couple of days ago, but a computer hiccup apparently ate it.

    Does anyone know the history of the origin of this practice? As I understand it, during the time of the Jewish Passover, the Hallel Psalms were more intensely used. Did this abstinence from using this transliteration during the Lenten season develop in order to emphasize that the True Pasach is the Easter Season? Was this abstinence from using this transliteration implemented to separate Christianity from a practice that was considered “too Jewish?” I could easily see one of these two reasons being the reason for initiating this practice, with the humility rationale being a later development.

    BTW, we still praise God, and sometimes even use the phrase “Praise the Lord.” It is merely this particular transliteration of the Hebrew word from which we fast during the Lenten season. RT #7 and #11.

  36. Tim
    February 23rd, 2010 at 11:04 | #50

    Rev. McCain, you may be interested to know that in the I.C. chapel today we sang LSB 818 “In Thee is Gladness” that contains four “Alleluias.” Rev. Dan Mattson was our devotional leader.

  37. Matt
    February 23rd, 2010 at 22:23 | #51

    What do you think about Luther’s simultaneous rejection of Lenten fasting?

    I’ve always thought Lenten fasting was silly.

    • February 24th, 2010 at 04:55 | #52

      Luther, of course, did not reject fasting, even during Lent. He rejected the Church trying to impose fasting as a means of meriting God’s grace. See the AC. But you know that. Nice try though.

      : )

  38. Matt
    February 27th, 2010 at 21:16 | #53

    @ptmccain

    Maybe he meant the same thing here about the “Alleluia”. He rejected the Church imposing it as a means of meriting God’s grace. That seems to be the context.

    Lenten fasting is that “imposed by the Church.” It was much more strict in the late Middle Ages than today among Roman Catholics.

    • February 28th, 2010 at 05:29 | #54

      From the sources we have, we know Luther did not support the practice of not singing Alleluia during Lent.

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