29 July 2016

An U.S. American Lutheran confession of sins


The following is from a Lutheran liturgical order for both a service of Divine Worship as well as for the celebration of the Holy Communion published in Chicago in the USA.  In this confession of sins there is a statement that "we are by nature sinful and unclean" which is certainly not a statement many Christian bodies would accept or declare, but it is a common feature of Lutheran writings in English in North America.

I refrain from saying this is no longer used because usually there is someone somewhere who recognises a treasure when he sees it and makes use of it.

This rite for the congregational confession of sins is found in the Wartburg Hymnal which had a profound influence upon US Episcopalian prayer manuals and hymnals most especially The Hymnal 1940.

The Confession of Sins

Beloved in the Lord! Let us draw near with a true heart, and confess our sins unto God our Father, beseeching Him, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to grant us forgiveness.

Minister.  Our help is in the Name of the Lord.
Congregation.  Who made heaven and earth.
Minister.  I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord.
Congregation.  And Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.

Then shall the Minister say:

Almighty God, our Maker and Redeemer, we poor sinners confess unto Thee, that we are by nature sinful and unclean, and that we have sinned against Thee, by thought, word, and deed.  Wherefore we flee for refuge to Thine infinite mercy, seeking and imploring Thy grace, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Congregation shall say with the Minister:

O most merciful God, who hast given Thine Only-begotten Son to die for us, have mercy upon us and for His sake grant us remission of all our sins: and by Thy Holy Spirit increase in us true knowledge of Thee, and of Thy will, and true obedience to Thy Word, to the end that by Thy grace we may come to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Then shall the Minister say:

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, hath had mercy upon us, and hath given His Only Son to die for us, and for His sake forgiveth us all our sins.  To them that believe on His Name,  He giveth power to become the sons of God, and bestoweth upon them His Holy Spirit.  He that believeth, and is baptised, shall be saved.  Grant this, O Lord, unto us all.

Wartburg Hymnal
For Church, School and Home, 9th ed.
Edited by O. Hardwig
Wartburg Publishing House
Chicago, 1918