Bayern, USA, Deutschland

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Preaching the Gospel

I've been translating an essay written by Dr. Volker Stolle. The essay was published in the Lutheran Theological College of Oberursel's Festschrift. The Festschrift was printed in 1998 in celebration of a fifty-year jubilee. The German text of Stolle's essay can be found at the SELK website.

Dr. Stolle originally presented this essay in 1997 at a theologcial seminar; he reworked the presentation for printing in the Festschrift.

The following are a few paragraphs:

,,Preaching the gospel” - Proclaiming Jesus and Preaching in the Church
Volker Stolle

In the task, ,,to preach the gospel,” the proclamation of Jesus (Mark 1,14) stretches as an arc from the apostles (1 Thessalonians 2,9; Galatians 2,2) to the Church office today (Mark of 13,10). Wherefore the New Testament says that the proclamation of the gospel has continued until this day. In this solid expression ,,preach the gospel” lies, as well as a key to grasp the New Testament in its self-understanding, also a formation-point in order to recognize its current presence in Church practice. The sermon on the gospel is therefore the event that constitutes the permanent and actual message of the Bible throughout the ages. Whoever realizes this has then understood an essential part, namely, the connection of the Church’s life today with the New Testament.
I. The many gospels and the one gospel

A ,,gospel” means the transmission of news by a messenger. ,,Wages” means that appropriate payment is properly disbursed to the messenger. The apostolic gospel is valid based on an instruction of Jesus, that ,,those who proclaim the gospel should get their wages from the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9,14), thus Paul chose to preach the gospel for free (1 Corinthians 9,[18]; 2 Corinthians 11,7). Such current messengers are commonplace in private and public life. Characteristically, it is only spoken about them in the plural in the New Testament era.

Since it concerns transmission of news in each case on completely determined persons, it lies in the fact that the messages already brought for its addressees have a significant meaning. When the message reaches its hearers, it more or less strongly changes their lives. The event communicated in the message becomes effective by this information for the message hearers of the message, by its interrelations in their life, it intervenes, arranges, and determines again their further development more or less enduringly. As Timothy, for instance, brought good tidings (euangelizestai) from the congregation in Thessalonica, he had the same concerns as Paul did; he revives, comforting the connecting congregation in faith and love (1 Thessalonians 3,6-8). A gospel, therefore, proves to be a powerful event for its hearers. It doesn’t remain without consequences; it can even dominate time in an almost epochal way.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Form A and Form B

The SELK Agenda mentions two communion forms: A and B.

Form A is based on Luther's German Mass of 1526. The Agenda doesn't list the order of the service, but it indicates that the consecration of the elements comes before the Lord's Prayer (which is referenced back to Bugenhagen).

Form B is based on the Brandenburg-Nuremberg Church Order of 1533, which follows Luther's Formula of the Mass of 1523. This form has an eucharistic prayer. The consecration of the elements with the words of institution are removed from the body of the eucharistic prayer. This is the format used in LSB. (LBW and ELW allow the option of the Lutheran or the Roman Catholic placement of the consecration pertaining to the eucharistic prayer.)

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Common Service and Lutheran Liturgy

For those familiar with The Lutheran Hymnal, the Common Service of 1888 has been the principal divine service in American Lutheran churches. (The service is strangely missing from the ELCA's "Evangelical Lutheran Worship" hymnal published in 2006). Setting Three in Lutheran Service Book follows the order of worship of the Common Service.

I recently downloaded an article on the worship service used by the SELK churches in Germany. I have only begun to look at the outline and commentary, but it seems to be what we would regognize (with a few differences) as the Common Service. Unless the article notes otherwise, I believe that this SELK divine service traces its liturgical history back to the Reformation.

The basic liturgy of the Common Service is:

Gloria in Excelsis
General Prayer
Sanctus and Hosanna
Exhortation to Communicants
Lord's Prayer and Words of Institution or Words of Institution and Lord's Prayer
Agnus Dei
Collect of Thanksgiving

Three additons were noted: an invocation hymn prior to the Introit, a sermon hymn after the Creed, and a hymn after the General Prayer.

The Public Confession and Absolution was included before the service. Common European Lutheran liturgies used private confession and absolution, but the American Lutheran liturgies used public confession and absolution.

Some European Lutheran liturgies placed the Lord's Prayer before the Words of Institution, while others place the prayer after. I wonder how the SELK divine service has it?

The Nunc Dimittis was an optional post-communion canticle in the Common Service.

The Common Service drew upon the 16th century Lutheran liturgies, and helped bring liturgical unity among American Lutheran churches using English. The Missouri Synod's English hymnals used the Common Service exclusively until 1982. Every synodical hymnal since then has included the Common Service as an order of divine service, Each American Lutheran church body tweaked the service for their hymnals, but all of them retained the basic outline of the divine service.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

What's your name?

Tolkien's epic, "The Lord of the Rings" is perhaps the best English work of literature in the 20th century. Although we are merely six years into the 21st century, I have not found a work of English literature that matches Tolkien's masterpiece.

Much of Tolkien's culture revolves around England, French, German, and Scandinavian sources. Dwarves and elves feature prominently in his books. Such people are found in the folklore of the Germanic tribes of Europe.

I used to read Tolkien's books every summer when I was in junior high and high school. On our long drives to reach our family vacation destination, I would immerse myself in "The Lord of the Rings". A few years ago I read the novels straight through, having received for Christmas all three books bound together in one massive hardcover edition (which is how it should be!). The three movies were awesome.

I recently found a site that generates Middle Earth names for you. Here are some of mine:

Teleplómëion (Elvish)
Valin Redears (Dwarvish)
Kildirândam (Adunaic, the Men of the West, i.e. Numenor)

Go to http://www.barrowdowns.com/ and scroll down to find the name generator link to find you Middle Earth names.

The parishoners have difficulty pronouncing my name now; imagine if they had to address me as Pastor Teleplómëion!

Sunday, September 02, 2007


Football season kicks off this Thursday. I am looking forward to another great season of the best sport in America. I wonder how I will do in year two with fantasy football? I think I have a more rounded team this year. But who knows ... I started out well last year and then my players limped to the end.

Bundesliga (German Futbol) is well under way, and I am pleased to see Bayern Munich returning as a powerhouse team. They're 3-0 right now. They ought to be with the millions of euros they spent upgrading the team with even better players. About half of the German national team plays for Bayern Munich. I think Werder Bremen is also fielding a very good team on the pitch.

Haven't caught any Chelsea games yet. I wonder if Ballack is back from his injuries?