Tuesday, January 22, 2013

'Change confession form?' and Best Cradle-To-Grave Care Of Souls

A pastor asked for advice about changing corporate confession in worship service.

I wrote:

Dear (Pastor):

For what it's worth, I find that what I memorized years ago in the LCMS is very valuable, NOT for its content so much as for the fact that I HAVE memorized it.

If it were given that most prayers of confession are comprehensive enough, I propose that the fact that it IS memorized, and can be recalled when needed, and can be expanded upon, thought upon with that memorization--THAT'S the important part.

I suggest that if, as I'm thinking you do, you have such a comprehensive prayer, that changing it should only be done for very serious reasons.

I remember that Jeff Meyers once remarked that he had the whole 1941 (?) LCMS service memorized, and still memorized years later.  I think this is very valuable, again, given comprehensiveness. [The ordinaries, the things that don't change from week to week, that's what I'm discussing].

And Leonard Payton's great tape (at the time) on which he said that liturgy is the best care of souls, cradle to grave, and gave the example of the woman in the nursing home who could not recognize her daughter, but who could liturgically worship/participate, that should be taken into consideration.

I've been reading Sacks' 'Musicophilia,' especially tonight the chapter about the man, Cliye Wearing, who could not remember past 7 seconds ago--worse than the case in 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat!--but who could remember his musical talents.  IF, I say IF, liturgy is a memorizable piece of music, especially with sung  parts by the pastor responded to by singing--ordinaries--then this is another point in favor of NOT changing, if you have a good one.

And it's a care of souls thing to have sung pastor parts and sung responses, care of enfeebled souls.

And think that if society is a man writ large, how sung history is important. (Yes, I'm working on it! Was it caused by the future, as ERH might be implied by ERH's comment that the past and the future cause the present?)

A thought from pitcher's mound (I didn't play outfield): Think long and hard about changes in the wording, and longer and harder about singing to those you love, your congregation, so that they can sing back....and remember when needed...for the care of souls, cradle to grave.

Love in King Jesus,

New 'Opus 47' Charlie
Amazon link to Musicophila by Sacks: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Musicophila+by+Sacks

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