Liturgy in the Local Congregation III

Invocation (p. 15)
The word “invocation” comes from the Latin invocatio, “a calling upon.” The Pastor speaks the words, “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” facing the altar because it is an address to God. (This is called the “sacrificial” position because the direction is from us to God.) In this short prayer, the Pastor leads the congregation in confessing that we believe in a God who is, in that great mystery, three persons and one God at the same time. We also confess formally that we believe God is present, “we place ourselves in that Presence, and invoke the Divine blessing upon the service which is to follow” (Reed, 241). We speak back to God His promise to be wherever “two or three” are gathered in His Name, and call Him to witness that we are indeed gathered in His Name alone. In that Name, we “offer all our prayer, praise, and thanksgiving” (John 16:23) (Reed, 241).

These words inevitably remind the Christian that this same Name was placed upon him or her in Holy Baptism. Because of this, you may wish to make the sign of Jesus’ Cross over yourself. This motion is a reminder that God graciously welcomed you into His family when you were baptized into the death of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection (Romans 6:3-4).



2 thoughts on “Liturgy in the Local Congregation III

  1. The Sanctus is called the “Sanctus” because those are the first words of that part of the liturgy in Latin (Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus). The Agnus Dei is called the “Agnus Dei” because those are the first words in Latin. The Creed is called the “Creed” because the first word in Latin is Credo. And on and on it goes with two sad, sad exceptions.

    The first exception? Invocation. The words aren’t “Invocavit” or some such thing. They are the actual words of Baptism. No calling, just a a “naming.” An “invocation” or a “call to worship” is a Calvinist worship practice. The Calvinists invited God to join them and invite the people to praise Him. Lutherans proclaim God’s promise. We’re not there to entertain Him. He is there to bless us. Read the footnote in Reed. The “invocation” isn’t sacrificial. It is sacramental. Face the people.

    The other exception? The salutation. It is not a greeting, a salutation. It is a blessing. Dominus vobiscum.

    Oh, and sacrificial and sacramental are a bit thin anyway.


  2. I understand the salutation.
    Do you have alternate terms to sacrificial and sacramental? That’s what we learned.
    Also, what do you make of Reed’s holding up “Luther, the Reformers, and the ancient Church…[using the words of the Invocation] as primarily devotional in character and not as a proclamation addressed to the congregation.” I don’t believe we were ever given a rationale (or I forgot it) for facing the altar at the Invocation, but I assumed it was because we were all (pastor/seminarian and people) requesting God’s presence and remembering our baptism together. I see your point, though.
    As far as the footnote: you side with the Puritans against the Anglicans? Or, you disagree with the Anglicans about whether this is a blessing, so the pastor should face the people?
    Thanks for the input.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s