Thursday, March 5, 2015
“Departing Before the Mysteries … “ Ap XII.12
This is a great turn of phrase, used to high effect in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession (AC). There are at least three ways to do it (i.e., depart), since the orthodox Lutheran party openly and fully acknowledges 2-4 Sacraments. One occurs with the dismissal’s blessing at the Altar, during the Holy Supper, which extends the very Peace of God to the penitent. Another “departing,” of a more sordid character, takes place with ANY abuse of the Mysteries, or Sacraments, of God.
Some context here, before continuing further. The ApXII.12 citation is directed at the Roman Confutation of ACXII, the article dealing with repentance. Melancthon argues that the Confutation’s rebuttal treats absolution “very coldly,” and bitterly complains that in the Roman church’s demands of external “satisfactions” for sin, “there is no mention of faith that grasps absolution and consoles the conscience.” This, declares the fuming professor, is “truly” a “departing from the mysteries.” According to Kolb and Wengert’s footnote, this expression is intended as an ironic jab (one phrased in Greek, naturally, by the brilliant Melancthon); one which references the ancient Church’s dismissal of catechumens from the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist. Note, in passing, that the ancient Church always had a Eucharist in its Serviced-and-worshiping fellowship gatherings. Not all were allowed to fully participate in such fellowship. Things at the Altar were, well, they were closed … harsh as that sounds to modern ears, which paradoxically are thoroughly waxed to the examples of the true saints of the Church, anyways. So we pray to the Great Physician, that His otolarnygoscopic Spirit can fully pry these stubborn organs open, to embrace His will. Amen.
Yet another “departing” is the perverse AVOIDANCE of the Mysteries, those wonders with which the Lutheran has been abundantly blessed. Some self-described Lutherans have advocated the dropping of the Holy Supper from celebratory Services conducted on Christmas Eve and Easter, as a means of enhancing “outreach” on those presumably “high-volume," pew-filled days. Apparently, the blessed Sacrament is seen by these rascals as making hard work for the man guarding the paten's gate; or as a shaming device for the 21st century, caring-and-sensitive non-churched person. The truth is, the Church of the Scriptures was graced by the Body and Blood of her Lord EVERY Lord’s day, come what may, and GREW famously. I am guessing that a reverent and believing behavior towards the Mystery of God’s Presence would send a strong evangelical message to the non-churched that something wonderful is being witnessed at the Altar, quite beyond the mega-church’s understanding. But this is evidently beyond the comprehension of the so-called Lutheran, too; they are pitiable creatures demonstrably more into internal emotions and Church Growth scams, than Lord Christ’s insistent “DO this” anamnesis. But shame, of the seeker, is a great concern and worry to them. Perhaps the best available prescription to treat such malady, is to advise the so-called Lutherans to stop projecting their shame regarding the Sacrament, onto others.
Posted by Michael L. Anderson, M.D., Ph.D at 9:49 AM