Sunday, February 27, 2011

Loehe on Worship and the Liturgy - Part II

"The Christian desires to draw near to God in humble, acceptable worship.  He comes, in company with his fellow Christians, from the conflicts of the past week, bearing on his heart the burdens of many defeats and the joys of few victories.  He knows, that in spite of his best efforts his conduct has not been wholly pleasing to God.  Before him lies now a new week with its thousand hopes and fears; and before he dares enter upon this new week, he must hold communion with God his heavenly Father.  But how shall he approach his God who dwells in unapproachable light?  First of all he must be pardoned of his sins, and be made sensible of such pardon.  For this purpose there is no form better adapted than that given in this Liturgy for Confession and Absolution.  The Confiteor is therefore the first part of a normal Order for public worship.

In the Confiteor the soul has been delivered from the burdens of the past defeats, and is now prepared to take a further step in its approach to God.  The worshiper is now prepared to enter upon the meaning and character of the particular day, which are announced to him in the Introit.  To the peace, experienced in hearing the Absolution, are thus added the joys of the particular festival.....

Beings cleansed from sin, and having entered upon the peculiar joys of the particular festival, the worshiper finds that earth has still other burdens and sorrows which prove a present and future hindrance to holiness.  Life, death and eternity, upon each of which sin has cast its dark shadow, are things well able to make the soul tremble whenever it contemplates them.  To be cleansed from the sins of the past week is no assurance of immunity from failure for the next.  Therefore, the Kyrie, comprehending, in spite of its brevity, a prayer for temporal and eternal deliverance, comes next in the Order."

(Same reference as previous post, pages XII - XIII)

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