Luther’s Other Major Liturgical Reforms

Bryan D Spinks

The history of the development of the Daily Office is reviewed and four sources for Luther’s assessment and reform outlined. High on his agenda was the restoration of the Word to the Office as currently practised. In Concerning the Order of Public Worship, eight Offices were to be retained, but in Deutsche Messe only Matins and Vespers are mentioned as Public Worship. Detailed outlines are given in these sources, with readings, canticles and psalms, and instruction in the Vespers for Saturday afternoon. These reforms were not systematic and details are lacking, but reference is made to 1 Cor.14:26-31 as a ‘backbone’, exegeted by Luther as requiring ‘prophesying, teaching, and admonition’. The Litany, first found in the Apostolic Constitutions after which it became detached from the Eucharist, had become common in processions, which Luther did not encourage. However, it was given a place in regular worship, minus invocations of the saints and other material and with the addition of petitions for help against the enemies of the time.

Volume 07, Number 01 May 1977, p35