By Rev. Henry V. Gerike, cantor, Church of the Reformation—Lutheran, Affton, Mo.
One of the contributions of the Lutheran Service Book to the worship life of many congregations is the “Service of Prayer and Preaching” (LSB 260-267). It is a service that provides a liturgical structure for services in which the Lord’s Supper is not celebrated. While most will be probably use this service on a Sunday morning, it can easily be used at other times of the day.
After the opening hymn, the “Service of Prayer and Preaching” allows for seasonal variants for Advent or Lent in the opening versicles. There are also other variations available in the service. The “Old Testament Canticle” is a setting of Isaiah 12:2b-6 by composer Phillip Magness that can be sung by the entire congregation or with congregation only singing the refrain and a soloist or choir singing the verses. There is another setting of the same text given at LSB 927. Again the congregation may sing only the refrain or alternate on the verses with a choir or soloist or sing all the verses and refrain. Other Old Testament canticles are given at LSB 925, 926, 928, 929, as well some given in Lutheran Service Builder (electronic version of LSB).
After the “Old Testament Canticle” comes the reading of Holy Scripture, usually two or three of the readings assigned for the day. A psalm may be chanted or spoken after the Old Testament reading, while a hymn or choral music may be sung after the epistle reading. The use of a psalm and a hymn provide an opportunity to reflect on the reading of God’s Word, giving each its due consideration. The responsory concludes this section of the service.
Portions of the Small Catechism are provided for congregational reciting and review. The “more” of the rubric may include that portion of the catechism presently being studied by the confirmation class (catechesis); see LSB 321-330. The sermon then follows or an appropriate section from Luther’s Large Catechism may be read. All of this may be reflected when a hymn (or the appointed hymn of day) is sung as a response to the Word of God read and proclaimed. After the hymn is sung, the offering may be received.
The prayer section of the “Service of Prayer and Preaching” is given at LSB 265. By looking at each petition it can be seen how each can be expanded to include special concerns and needs of the church-at-large as well as the local congregation. The prayer section concludes with three Collects: the Collect of the Day, the Collect for the Word, and either the Morning or Evening Prayer from the Small Catechism.
The New Testament canticle is text reflecting the Easter season and life of the church given in a setting by composer Carl Schalk. During the season of Lent, one of the other biblical canticles (LSB 925—941) will be more appropriate. A choir setting of a biblical text may also be appropriate. The service then concludes with the blessing. Using a concluding hymn is an option many congregations use.
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