“Amen” as the great word of worship

From Narrative Commentary to the Divine Service by John Pless:

It is only through the forgiveness of sins that we enter into the life of heaven. To confess your sins is to speak the truth about your life. This truth you learn from the Word of God and He, through the Holy Spirit, teaches you to say what He says (same/say). God seeks that truth in the heart and on the lips. To confess your sin is to same/say “Amen” to God’s just verdict that you have sinned against Him and so deserve only death and hell.

The truth of your sinfulness is answered by the truth of God’s forgiveness for the sake of the suffering and death of His Son. From the lips of a man “called and ordained” as a servant of the Word, your ears hear God Himself speaking absolution, that is, the forgiveness of sins. To that forgiveness, faith says “Amen,” to this verdict of God, “Amen” is the great word of worship; it indicates that the gift has been received.

via Grace Lutheran Church – Pastor’s Letter – November 2009.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

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  • http://www.blog.captainthin.net/ Captain Thin

    Thanks much for posting this series Dr. Veith. Teaching why we do what do in the liturgy is a necessary part of its continued relevance (and I use the word in the best sense) for the life of the Church. The liturgy itself is a theologically strong and coherent structure for worship, but if people can’t understand it, it fails to do the job it was intended for. Unexplained liturgy can just as easily become an unintelligible language for the average layperson as was the Latin liturgy during for laypeople in Luther’s time.

    While in highschool I had the opportunity (under the guidance of my pastor of course) to help develop an occasional “contemporary” liturgy according to Luther’s choral service (relying on such texts as the then new “Text, Music, Context: A Resource for Reviewing Worship Materials”). One of the things I pushed for was the inclusion of a short sentence or two introduction in the printed text for each section of the liturgy explaining what it was about (or at least a short sentence or two oral introduction from the pastor before each section of the liturgy). I had every hope we could in that way make the “contemporary” choral service (of which we only had one or two a year, and probably not again since I moved away for university) an opportunity to be also a teaching service.

    Unfortunately, concerns were raised along the lines of those you mentioned the other day: “One would expect this to be intrusive.” And so the idea never happened. Looking at the segments you’ve been posting, I can’t help but think the idea might have been worthwhile after all.

  • http://www.blog.captainthin.net/ Captain Thin

    Thanks much for posting this series Dr. Veith. Teaching why we do what do in the liturgy is a necessary part of its continued relevance (and I use the word in the best sense) for the life of the Church. The liturgy itself is a theologically strong and coherent structure for worship, but if people can’t understand it, it fails to do the job it was intended for. Unexplained liturgy can just as easily become an unintelligible language for the average layperson as was the Latin liturgy during for laypeople in Luther’s time.

    While in highschool I had the opportunity (under the guidance of my pastor of course) to help develop an occasional “contemporary” liturgy according to Luther’s choral service (relying on such texts as the then new “Text, Music, Context: A Resource for Reviewing Worship Materials”). One of the things I pushed for was the inclusion of a short sentence or two introduction in the printed text for each section of the liturgy explaining what it was about (or at least a short sentence or two oral introduction from the pastor before each section of the liturgy). I had every hope we could in that way make the “contemporary” choral service (of which we only had one or two a year, and probably not again since I moved away for university) an opportunity to be also a teaching service.

    Unfortunately, concerns were raised along the lines of those you mentioned the other day: “One would expect this to be intrusive.” And so the idea never happened. Looking at the segments you’ve been posting, I can’t help but think the idea might have been worthwhile after all.


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