Wednesday, September 8, 2010

More on the preached Word--Heaven on Earth

From Heaven on Earth:

For Luther, the liturgy was the means by which God's Word came to God's people, thus the people needed to hear this life-giving Word read and preached.  Throughout the Divine Service, the Word of God dominates the liturgy from Kyrie to Gloria in Excelsis to the Scripture readings to Sanctus to Agnus Dei.  As you read Luther's description of the rite, you see his evangelical impulse bringing forth the gospel throughout the flow of the service.  For example, the Alleluia that precedes the Gospel is "the perpetual voice of the church"  responding to the gifts given in the very words of Jesus.  In the same way, the Pax Domini after the Words of Institution is considered by Luther to be a form of absolution.  Luther's perception of the Word of God was not wooden, that is, for him it was not simply the text of the Scriptures.  Rather, it is Jesus, the Word made flesh, who comes to us through preaching.  "For Luther, the word of God is not primarily a text;  it is first and foremost an oral even--the act of preaching."  This is why Luther's greatest contribution to liturgical reform was the revival of preaching.  p. 250

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