Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"O Lord, open my lips" -- The Daily Office: Part the First

"In his Word, the Father invites us to pray with all 'freedom and confidence' (Eph. 3:12). The prayer forms of the daily office, litanies and collects are not merely the vehicles of the Christian's prayer; they are also instructors that cement the believer to the Word of the Lord and tutor the faithful in that conversation with God, which is prayer. The Evangelical Lutheran Church is a grateful recipient of these ancient forms, which have their roots in the scriptures." -- John T. Pless, "Lutheran Worship: History and Practice (c) 1993

For some of you readers, the Daily Office is nothing new, and you might think "Well, duh, sir...", so let me explain the context that I am writing from. I'm a Confessional Lutheran, one who is not from a liturgical synod, slowly understanding and longing more for things liturgical. I'm not a cradle-born Lutheran. I'm a former Evangelical. My parents saw to my baptism and my father took me through Luther's Small Catechism as a child. My father is a Lutheran. My mother is an Evangelical, though much less now than she was when I was a child. My life is a paradox :) Some of these postings are more for former Evangelicals and others within the Scandinavian Lutheran heritage who have now found themselves in the realm Confessional Lutheranism, though it may very well be beneficial for others also.

Over the past several years, the further and further I've delved into and studied the Book of Concord, read from Walther, Pieper, Vieth, Hallesby, and Luther, I've found my "preferences" changing. The things I read, the podcasts and "YouTube addictions" I frequent, even down to the types and stylings within what my synod calls the worship service. Because of the chaos of my life, I have grown to appreciate order, consistency and things that will last. This is all so contrary to where I was, say, 5 years ago, and I didn't completely understand this change. Finally, my pastor would point out to me so poignantly  "Leif, practice follows the theology. Practice follows doctrine."

By vocation I'm a music teacher. I've taught Kindergarten through college level. I have a tendency of procuring hymnals. Dear friends have given me copies of "The Lutheran Hymnal", "Lutheran Worship" and I even got a copy of "Lutheran Service Book".  Within the pages I came across the Daily Office. I even noticed the Daily Office in the middle of "The Treasury of Daily Prayer" that my wife and I use together. We had been using the "text" format of service that it offers as well. I began to peruse these pages more and more, finally contacting the local LC-MS pastor, a man whom I respect and is the leader of the Lutheran Confessions Reading Group that I attend. He agreed to take me through Matins early one  Tuesday morning.

All I can say is, wow.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

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