No more confession and forgiveness

The ELCA shack where we go most often dispensed with the confession and forgiveness last May. I had thought it a temporary means of dealing with an unusually busy worship service, but it has not come back.

We still celebrate communion every Sunday.

I am confused.

Comments

  • Oh dear.
  • Bartolomeo wrote: »
    We still celebrate communion every Sunday.

    No you don't. Without repentance and forgiveness you're doing something but it certainly isn't communion.

    Don't tell me … oh go on: is it a problem with "sin" in the ELCA?

  • magnilomagnilo Shipmate
    Bartolomeo wrote: »
    The ELCA shack where we go most often dispensed with the confession and forgiveness last May. I had thought it a temporary means of dealing with an unusually busy worship service, but it has not come back.

    We still celebrate communion every Sunday.

    I am confused.

    Have you asked the leadership about it? It would interesting to know their reasoning.

  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    Confession and forgiveness are not inextricably linked with communion in ELCA liturgical thinking, would be my guess. (I'm not ELCA.) And that's okay: we don't need to all have the same eucharistic theology.

    Obviously I can't say for sure what's going on at your shack, Bartolomeo, but it might be a few things. It might be that the pastor/worship committee has decided to only use Confession and Forgiveness in penitential seasons (Advent, Lent). While I personally would consider that a more limited use than I would be comfortable with, it would not be inconsistent with ELCA liturgical thought.

    ExclamationMark, it might not be the case that "they don't like sin/negativity" etc. It might be that they link confession and forgiveness with baptism rather than eucharist, which is fully in line with ELCA liturgical thinking. If the worship services begin with Affirmation of Baptism rather than Confession and Forgiveness, that would be just peachy.

    ELCA pastors have a lot of freedom to change the liturgy. No permission from a bishop is required - with the possible exception of using a non-ELCA eucharistic prayer. This permits both liturgical innovation and horror (and I am one of those who do not see those as synonymous, YMMV).

    Personally, I don't think it's good for the spiritual health of the congregation to go too long without Confession and Forgiveness. AFAIK it is standard practice with "Evangelical Lutheran Worship" to omit Confession and Forgiveness for the season of Easter. Long-term omission, though, and I'd start to look askance at that.
  • What @Leaf says is consistent with my understanding—that the Order for Confession and Forgiveness (sorry if I got the name wrong; my copy of Evangelical Lutheran Worship isn't handy) is neither required to be used nor intended for use every Sunday, that it's considered particularly appropriate during Advent and Lent and inappropriate during Easter. As I recall, one Lutheran pastor who blogs on Lutheran liturgy wrote about why that Order should not be used every week, but I'm having trouble finding that particular post. I'll keep looking.

    The idea of confession and declaration of forgiveness not happening at every Sunday service is fairly foreign to my Presbyterian sensibilities, but my impression is that it's not foreign to Lutheran sensibilities or liturgical understanding.

    But @Bartolomeo, it certainly seems like a reasonable thing to ask the pastor about.

    Tagging @Gramps49 in case he has any thoughts on this.
  • Depends on the Lutheran.
  • Depends on the Lutheran.
    True. I should have been more specific and said "ELCA" than just Lutheran.

  • I sent the pastor a note but have not received a reply. It is a somewhat larger congregation. I may have to find an opportunity to ask him about it in person.

    And maybe I should be spending more time at the Episcopal shack.
  • What is this order of confession and forgiveness please?
  • One argument is that the Confession and Absolution is a bit superfluous in the Mass. We ask forgiveness when we pray the Lord's Prayer and we receive the Lord's absolution through the receiving of communion.

    One reason for reserving the Penitential Rite on certain occasions such as Lent is that those occasions is where penance is specifically highlighted in the church year.
  • Bartolomeo wrote: »
    The ELCA shack where we go most often dispensed with the confession and forgiveness last May. I had thought it a temporary means of dealing with an unusually busy worship service, but it has not come back.

    Sounds like the church in the parish where I live: they have what is described as "Communion for All Ages" which not only dispenses with confession and absolution but also has no creed... :grimace:
  • mousethief wrote: »
    What is this order of confession and forgiveness please?
    In the Lutheran Book of Worship (the service book and hymnal of the ELCA and the ELCIC, still used in some congregations) and in Evangelical Lutheran Worship (the current service book and hymnal of those two bodies), there is the option for a very brief order of confession and forgiveness prior to or at the start of the Communion liturgy proper.

    Working from memory (again, I don't have either book handy right now), it begins with "In the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen." A short prayer calling on God to come to the aid of God's people is said by the pastor, again with the people responding "Amen." A general prayer of confession is then said by all, and then the pastor announces forgiveness. That's it. Things then move into the Communion liturgy, in which there is no additional prayer of confession.

    ELW provides a second option for this pre-liturgy component, a Thanksgiving for Baptism. I'm afraid the details of that escape me right now, but my memory is that it is intended especially for use throughout Easter and on festive days, while the order for Confession and Forgiveness is considered particularly appropriate in Advent and Lent.

    I hope that I'm remembering this all right, and that someone will correct me if I'm not.
  • Thank you, Nick. That helps explain it.

    Recently there have been baptisms at nearly every service I've attended. I believe that this is partly due to deliberate outreach to "unchurched" parents seeking baptism for a newborn. The "Thanksgiving for Baptism" component has appeared at the beginning of those few services where a baptism hasn't taken place.
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    I hope that I'm remembering this all right, and that someone will correct me if I'm not.

    That's all pretty much correct, with the possible exception that the rubrics in the pew edition of the ELW at least don't specify what seasons which order is particularly appropriate in. The denomination publishes an online worship-planning resource that a lot of ELCA congregations rely on, which consistently suggests changing the preparatory rite in those ways, so it's become a de facto thing in a lot of congregations, even if not de jure.

    FWIW, Lutheran theology (whether ELCA, LCMS or otherwise) explicitly connects receiving Holy Communion with forgiveness of sins. Luther is clear in both the Small and Large Catechisms that when Jesus said, "this is the new covenant in my blood poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins," he made it clear that the Sacrament was meant to bring about forgiveness in the one who receives it, which would seem to make another confession and absolution at least a little redundant.

    That said, while it's not technically necessary, either theologically or as a point of liturgical law, for the Order for Confession and Forgiveness in an ELCA worship service, this ELCA pastor at least feels that it's important for pastoral reasons for the gathered people of God to frequently say, out loud, "we have sinned," and to hear their pastor say, out loud, "God forgives you all your sins." On the gripping hand, there have been times and places where I've omitted the confession and forgiveness rite for a particular day or an entire season.

    My wild guess, since @Bartolomeo says that the confession and forgiveness began to be omitted in May, would be that it happened either on Pentecost or immediately after, and that it's a seasonal thing that the pastor and/or the worship planners have decided to do for Ordinary Time. I wouldn't be surprised if it came back for Advent.
  • Many thanks, @KayAreCee.
  • Thank you!
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