Monday, September 30, 2013

Divine Service Explanation #3 - Liturgical Vestments

Liturgical Vestments
The chief purpose of the special vestments worn by the pastor is to exalt, not the man, but the office of the holy ministry given to the Church by Christ.  In fact, the vestments are intended to hide the man wearing them so that the focus is on his office, through which the Holy Spirit works to build up the people of Christ.  Vestments, in and of themselves, are adiaphora—things neither commanded nor forbidden by God.  As Lutherans, we use them gladly, both as a means to honor the God-given ministry of the Word, and as a confession of our place in the Church catholic.  As we confess in the Book of Concord:
 “It is helpful, so far as can be done, to honor the ministry of the Word with every kind of praise against fanatical people. These fanatics imagine that the Holy Spirit is given not through the Word, but through certain preparations of their own” (Ap. XIII:13).
“At the outset we must again make the preliminary statement that we do not abolish the Mass, but religiously maintain and defend it. For among us masses are celebrated every Lord’s Day and on the other festivals, in which the Sacrament is offered to those who wish to use it, after they have been examined and absolved. And the usual public ceremonies are observed, the series of lessons, of prayers, vestments, and other like things” (AC:XXIV:1).
Here is a brief list of the most common vestments still used by Lutherans:
Basic pastoral vestments:
Cassock   A long, close-fitting black robe that used to be the everyday wear of the clergy. It has been largely replaced by the clergy shirt and collar, but may still be worn by clergy as they perform any ministerial duties.
Surplice   A white tunic worn over the cassock in the Divine Service or Daily Offices.  It is worn by a pastor who is not the celebrant at the Sacrament.  It may also be worn by choir members or altar servers.
Alb    A long, close-fitting white robe worn by ministers at the Divine Service.  It symbolizes the baptismal garment and the righteousness of Christ.
Stole    A long, narrow strip of cloth draped around the neck, symbolizing ordination.  It is worn only by clergy. Its color changes with the liturgical season.
Cincture    A rope that is tied around the waist, serving as a belt to hold the alb and stole in place underneath the chasuble.
Chasuble    A poncho-like garment worn over the alb and stole, worn only by clergy, used exclusively by the celebrant at the Eucharist. Its color changes with the liturgical season.
Additional vestments for a bishop:
Cope    A long, circular cape.
Mitre    A pointed, ceremonial hat used by bishops to signify their office.
Crozier  A long staff with a crook at the top, resembling a shepherd’s staff.  

Divine Service Explanation #1 - The Purpose of the Divine Service
Divine Service Explanation #2 - The Church Year and Lectionary


Joel Lillo said...

Or, how about this:

Robe -- The thing the pastor wears on Sunday morning.

--Joel Lillo
(I like to keep it simple.)

Anonymous said...

Joel, because for many a robe is the thing you wear in the bathroom.

+ Pr. Jim Schulz

(Trying to keep Christ in Christianity)

ReWood Products, LLC said...

After Tim Niedfeldt's recent comment on another IL post regarding "The Bridge" at St. Paul in Muskegon, I've been following the "project", and interestingly, the timing of this post on liturgical vestments was perfect. Mark Schaaf of The Muskegon Patch wrote an article on "The Bridge" on September 30th, and in that article the pastor of St. Paul, John Backus, had this to say, for all the world to read:

"I'm really looking forward to the opportunity, as a Christian, to share good things about discovering God that can help other people," Backus said. "I'm looking forward to being able to speak honestly and authentically, in a pair of jeans. I'm really going to enjoy the atmosphere."

There are many ways to take this statement, but the implications seemed to be that "honesty and authenticity" go hand in hand with a pair of jeans. It could also suggest that the traditional attire of a confessional Lutheran pastor during a worship service somehow implies dishonesty and lack of authenticity. Considering the vast array of evangelical worship leaders who have succumbed to the "jeans during worship" mentality, I think it would be difficult to claim the "jeans during worship" as authentic, in the commonly accepted meaning of the word of "not copied'. In fact, it seems rather artificial to me to think that a worship leader leading an event wearing jeans somehow creates the atmosphere that gives the Holy Spirit the extra "umph" he needs to work faith in the hearts of unbelievers. Such a statement seems to raise doubt regarding the power of God's Word and work of the Holy Spirit.


Anonymous said...

Vernon, Backus also said in that article, "We talked a lot about ... what could we do to put (people) at ease, to let them know we're a friendly place where they're not going to get beat up on or judged and sent home with their tail between their legs."

The implication is that liturgical, traditional, churches are unfriendly, judgmental places. I believe Backus is a 2003 graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. Is this the attitude and approach WELS is teaching its new pastors to embrace?

+ Pr. Jim Schulz

Tim Niedfeldt said...

He is also the brother-in-law of the Pastor from Victory. St. Pauls started Victory. The four pastors from St. Pauls and the one from Victory plan out the sermon series for the year and share the outlines and the graphics with an even larger pastor group of collaborators.

I think you will find that these ideas and new methods are proliferating amongst an already tight pastorate through a robust age of communication .

So do expect more. All these churches are also taking in senior assistants and the 2nd year sermon givers often. Getting the young'ins primed from the start.


Anonymous said...

Tim, is Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary's Prof. Forrest Bivens still a member at Victory of the Lamb? He's the one who wrote in the keynote address to the first WELS National Conference on Music, Worship, and the Arts in 1996:

"As a final word on the issue of attracting and serving visitors and the unchurched, let us repeat the truth: the primary reason our traditional approach to worship fails to attract people is that it expresses and presents a totally different value system than the one they currently have. Our society is blatantly individualistic, human-centered and ultimately self-centered. People seek things (including churches and religions) that make them feel good about themselves, allow them to achieve personally chosen goals and accomplishments, and further them in their quest for “meaning,” “fulfillment,” and “purpose.” Such thinking is fundamentally at odds with the biblical message of personal human guilt and universal helplessness and hopelessness outside of Christ. Only when person’s natural value system is changed, when their self-centered approach to life is replaced with a God
centered set of values, will truly Christian worship services appeal to them. And what do we possess that can bring about such a change in people? The gospel, the truth of justification. So what the unconverted likes least, he needs most. What doesn’t attract him at all is what he desperately needs to be attracted to. Our task, as always, is to seek some point of contact where we can present the gospel to people who aren’t explicitly interested in it."

It's that last statement "Our task, as always, is to seek some point of contact where we can present the gospel to people who aren’t explicitly interested in it" that seems to have given birth in the Victory of the Lamb and Bridge-type churches (there are others). This philosophy that liturgical worship is a turn-off to the unbeliever seeker has led these pastors to conclude that they must offer a style of worship that is watered down for the unbelieving masses until they can handle the (unfriendly? judgmental? fake? dishonest? - the opposite of Bridge worship?) liturgical worship.

The answer is not to find the "point of contact." The answer is to preach the bloody cross, which is about sacrifice, suffering, blood, and death. It's "foolishness" to the unbeliever, but it is the very thing that God uses to convert the unbeliever. To water down that message with culturally "real and relevant," "casual" and "enjoyable" worship forms is to keep the Spirit from doing his work of conversion through the bloody, messy message of the cross.

+ Pr. Jim Schulz

Anonymous said...

It seems like sometimes it is a lack of faith on the part of our shepherds (and ourselves) that drives the need for innovation in worship services. If only "we" do this or that differently "they" will come and we can "share" the Good News with them. Sometimes the hardest thing for all of us to do is be the little child waiting and trusting upon the fullness of our Father's blessings.

Lee Liermann

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