Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Celebrating Feast Days

The Gottesdiensters are talking about whether or not to transfer Feast Days.  In a perfect world, such a discussion would not have to take place, for the Church would be flooded with Christians on all Feast Days.  I mean, why would any Christian purposely stay away from an additional opportunity to receive the Holy Word and Sacrament in the Divine Service?  But, we know we don't live in a perfect world, and the reality is that most people don't come to Feast Day Services during the week.  For that reason, the celebration of Feast Days among Lutherans has all but fallen by the wayside.  Pity, that.  Especially when we Lutherans confess:  "At the outset, we must again make this preliminary statement:  We do not abolish the Mass, but religiously keep and defend it.  Masses are celebrated among us every Lord's Day and on the other festivals" (Ap. XXIV:1).

Perhaps I'm stubborn (perhaps?:), but I really do not think that whether people will come or not should determine whether or not our Lutheran parishes celebrate Mass on the Feast Days.  It is something we confess to do, which means it's something we probably should do.  Besides, as the little girl in Field of Dreams told Kevin Costner, people will come.  They will.  Not all the people, for sure.  Not even most of the people.  But, people will come.

We have been celebrating every Feast Day on the calendar in our hymnal here at our parish for three years.  I have yet to find myself alone and unable to celebrate Mass.  People have always come.  Not a lot of people, mind you.  Usually between ten and fifteen, sometimes more, sometimes less.  And, while I would love to see more people take advantage of these additional opportunities to be in the Lord's House to receive His Gifts, I have come to cherish the time I spend with the brothers and sisters who come to these Services, and would never dream of eliminating them.

As for transferring Feast Days, the only ones we transfer to the nearest Sunday are St. Michael, Reformation, and All Saints.  We also celebrate Feast Days on Sundays when they occur during the Trinity Season.  And, beginning this year, we will be transferring many Feast Days to Wednesday evenings, celebrating others on their days when that's not possible.

I really didn't ask for anyone's permission to start celebrating Feast Days.  I simply taught people what our Confessions had to say about them, showed them the calendar in our hymnal, and started holding them.  To my knowledge, no one got mad about it.  I did have a couple people question whether or not this was a Lutheran thing to do (people who don't regularly attend Bible Study and hadn't received my teaching about this), since they had never heard of such a thing before, except among the Roman Catholics, of course, but they weren't mad or anything, and they simply couldn't argue against the practice after I showed them our Confessions and pointed them to our hymnal.  The introduction of Feast Days here was rather uneventful and easily done.

So, for those confessional Lutheran brothers of mine who would like to reintroduce the practice of celebrating Mass on Feast Days, but are hesitant to do so (and a couple of you know who you are), just do it already, would ya?!  Of course, if you do and it backfires and blows up in your face for some insane reason, you don't know me. :)          

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