Friday, April 9, 2010

Confession and Absolution as an option.

I'm wondering why in this service in my new Bavarian Hymnal, the confession and absolution is optional to just the alternative of silent meditation, and also why we see printed:  "The Almighty God have mercy on us and forgive us our sins and lead us to eternal life.  Amen." , but for the absolution we have to look to page 675.

Is the confession and absolution integral to our services?  I've been to several services now, where it has been omitted in the LCC.   If the divine service is about our being served by the word of God, then it should really be read out loud, not just meditated, you'd think.

I can meditate on it all week long and every morning new, but in the corporate service, you'd think it would be said out loud.


Bror Erickson said...

In the earliest of lutheran liturgies Confession and Absolution were not in them. Confession and absolution was something you did privately during the week, and not corporately.
I think it was a Danish innovation to have corporate, and it was early as even Bugenhagen commented on it, and thought it good as long as it did not take the place of private confession and absolution. Well... so it has.
I have known some pastor's to omit it for various reasons. And some pastors who don't think you should come to communion if you don't make it for confession and absolution.
I for my part think it is a great innovation, and would not omit it for any reason I can now think of. Though I do lament that private confession and absolution has fallen out of practice.
In some cases it was actually a service of its own that happened earlier and apart from the Divine Service.

JonSLC said...

Brigitte, Bror covered most of what came to my mind when I read your post. I remember years ago gasping when I saw that a Lutheran hymnal offered confession/absolution only as an option at the beginning of the service. Later I learned that it was an innovation, but, as Bror says, a salutary one. An article you might be interested in is one by James Tiefel of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. It's somewhat dated, as it predates the publication of the Wisconsin Synod's current hymnal, but you might find it worthwhile:

Brigitte said...


We'll have a look. Thank you very much!

What I don't understand is that if everyone bemoans the fact that we don't have private confession and absolution, why we don't have it. I have never even heard it preached about.

In Luther class the professor really talked it up and said to everyone if your pastor does not talk about it, you go to him anyways. But as yet never heard it preached about in church.

I think in Hannover, where my husband's family goes to SELK, there is such a thing early in the morning before service.

Steve Martin said...

We always have corporate confession and then the absolution near the begining of our worship service.

I do believe that when we walk in the door (of the church) that is what we need most.

After all, that is the shape of the life of the Christian. It is a picture of baptism. Death to life.