At the great blog Four and Twenty Blackbirds http://four-and-twenty-something.blogspot.com/ there has been discussion of late regarding some sort of rule or order within the LCMS that would help to promote unity of practice. This would not be an issue of fellowship within the LCMS - not a church within a church - but a voluntary association of pastors and congregations within the LCMS that agree to carry out the Ministry in a certain way. This would include the use of the liturgy, the practice of closed communion, and several other things. The percieved need for such a group has arisen from the wide variety of practice that one finds in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. While all claim to be LCMS not all practice across the LCMS is consistent.
This has got me thinking. What about in Lutheran Church-Canada? Could we benefit from something like this? Or would it be divisive? Or might it serve as an encouragement to be faithful and an example to others what a blessing unified practice can be to the Church? What would such a rule and Order in Lutheran Church-Canada look like?
I suggest a variation on what I read at Four and Twenty Blackbirds. This is merely a brainstorming type of proposal. It is a far more modest and less structured venture than what you find at the Blackbirds' site. Remember I am just "spitballing" here.
A Preamble (Off the Top of My Head)
All members of this society who agree to these rules are members of LCC or members of member congregations. The society would essentially be self regulating. Membership is purely voluntary. The society does not intend to impose its practices upon any others. Membership is not a sign of being "more faithful," "more confessional," etc. Membership in the society merely indicates a desire to carry out the Ministry in LCC in a uniform manner and receive support and guidance from others who desire the same. The society will not address issues of practice that are already addressed by membership in Synod (e.g. closed communion - while this is clearly the Synod's practice though widely disregarded - it will be assumed that as a matter of integrity a pastor and congregation of LCC will practice closed communion or be striving to do so).
1. All members agree to use only the Services out of TLH, LW, or LSB.
2. All members agree to use only the hymns that are found in TLH, LW, or LSB.
3. If your parish is presently using a hymnal other than TLH, LW, or LSB (e.g. LBW or heaven forbid Evangelical Lutheran Worhsip) you will actively seek to replace that hymnal with one of the above.
4. Every member will commit himself to praying each day at least one of the Daily Offices (e.g Matins, Vespers, or Compline). Perhaps it would be helpful here to encourage the use of the upcoming Treasury of Daily Prayer from CPH. That way all members of the society would be following the same daily readings, readings from the Confessions, etc.
5. All members will seek to make use of private Confession and Absolution and make themselves available to their parishoners for private confession and absolution.
6. The celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Communion each Sunday is encouraged.
Well, that is a start anyway. Any comments or suggestions?