Lutheran Mass Reflections: My Aunt Violet Sheele and I were talking on the phone recently and she asked me, "Why do you call our services (at Immanuel Lutheran Church) 'Masses?'" Aunt Violet fears, that I offend a lot of people at Immanuel Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Lima, Ohio by calling our Worship Services "Masses." Aunt Violet thinks, this especially offends the other old people at Immanuel and other members of Immanuel, who have had bad experiences with the Roman Catholic Church, are also probably really offended. I want to address both her question and her concerns about me possibly offending people in our congregation. This blog post "piggy-backs" on the back of my blog post "Pastor of the Month (May 2020): Reverend George Borghardt" and it will hopefully give rise to a series of blog posts about the Mass and its various parts.
Why do I call Worship Services at Immanuel Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Lima, Ohio and other Lutheran churches like St. Luke's Lutheran Church (ELCA), Zion Lutheran Church (NALC) in St. Marys, Ohio, and St. Paul Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Austin, Texas "Masses?" Both before and after the Reformation started, Martin Luther called the type of Worship Services, which he personally presided over, "The Mass." Martin Luther literally translated the Mass from Latin into German and He took out any parts of the Mass, which were not Biblical like the clergy changing the Bread and the Wine into the literal Body and Blood of Jesus.
The Mass is not a continuation of or a "rehashing" of Jesus' Death on the True Cross in Lutheranism, as it has been said about the Mass in Roman Catholicism. In other words, Lutherans do not re-sacrifice Jesus during our Masses, as Roman Catholics have been accused of doing. Many Protestants love to say, that Roman Catholics re-sacrifice Jesus during their Masses. I do not know, if that is true or not. I personally doubt this, since their Liturgy is almost word-for-word the same as our Liturgy in Lutheran churches. Granted there are different translations of the Mass in Lutheranism and different musical settings of the Mass in both Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism. The new English translation of the Latin Mass, which the Roman Catholic Church introduced during my college days at The Ohio State University, is almost word-for-word the same as my English translation of Martin Luther's German Mass. They worked independently from me and I did not copy their English translation. I highly doubt, that Roman Catholics "re-sacrifice" Jesus. That is probably just a Protestant lie, because many Protestants still hate Catholics even today.
As I mentioned in my blog post called "Pastor of the Month (May 2020): Reverend George Borghardt," he is an "Evangelical Catholic" and I am also an "Evangelical Catholic." What is the difference between an "Evangelic Catholic" and a Roman Catholic? They are both Catholics, but an "Evangelical Catholic" is a Catholic obsessed with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a Roman Catholic is a Catholic, who believes in the Office of the Papacy. Roman Catholics also believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but they may not be obsessed with it like "Evangelical Catholics." Martin Luther wanted Lutherans to be called "Evangelical Catholics," but Roman Catholics gave us the name "Lutherans." Lutheran is a fine name indeed, but it is not, what Martin Luther wanted. Luther wanted us to obsess over Jesus and His Gospel and not over him. Granted I do not think, that Lutherans obsess over Luther, but we do hold him in very high esteem. Originally Lutherans called themselves "Evangelical Catholics," as Luther wanted. However, Roman Catholics gave us the names "Lutheran" and "Protestant," because we followed Martin Luther, as he was kicked out of the Roman Catholic Church, and we protest the Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, which we believe, are not Biblical.
Today all "Evangelical Catholics" are Lutherans, but not all Lutherans are "Evangelical Catholics." What do I mean by this? Lutherans are just diverse as Baptists. Reverend Keith Stoller, who is a Reformed Baptist pastor, told me on time in a phone conversation, that there are as many different types of Baptists, as there are breads of dogs. I do indeed assert both, that Reverend Keith Stoller is correct about Baptists and this same principal applies to Lutherans. What I am about to say applies to all Lutheran church bodies in America and around the world: Some Lutherans are theologically conservative, some Lutherans are theologically liberal, and some Lutherans are theologically moderate.
As the Reverend Doctor Jordan Cooper asserted in his YouTube video about Reverend Milton Valentine called "Who Was Milton Valentine?," that Lutherans on some issues tend to be more Catholic and Lutherans on other issues tend to be more Protestant. Reverend Milton Valentine tended to be more Protestant and I tend to be more Catholic. I will always call the Mass "the Mass." The Mass and the Divine Service from the Lutheran Service Book are the same thing. We use the Lutheran Service Book at Immanuel Lutheran Church (LCMS), because it is the current hymnal used and promoted in The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS).
Some Lutherans are high church and some Lutherans low church, but most Lutherans are mid-church aka middle church. I am very high church, which means, I love the Liturgy and I want Lutheran Masses and Catholic Masses to look identical, but obviously Lutheran Masses need to omit non-Biblical things like Transubstantiation, which is the Roman Catholic teaching, that the clergy can change the Bread and Wine into the literal Body and Blood of Jesus. The Lutheran teaching is, that the Bread and Wine do indeed become the literal Body and Blood of Jesus and yet remain Bread and Wine and that this change of the Elements of Holy Communion is changed merely by the reading of the Scripture Passages about Holy Communion in the Mass. It is the Holy Scriptures alone, which do this great work. Sola Scriptura! Scripture Alone!
Granted this leads into the Consecrationism and Receptionism Debate in Lutheranism. You can be anywhere on the theological spectrum and believe in either interpretation of Holy Communion. Consecrationism is the Lutheran belief, that the Bread and Wine turn into the literal Body and Blood of Jesus, when the Elements are consecrated during the Mass. Receptionism is the Lutheran belief, that the Bread and Wine do not become the literal Body and Blood of Jesus, until They are received by the person taking Holy Communion during the Mass.
Why might people be possibly offended at Immanuel Lutheran Church (LCMS) by me calling our Worship Service "The Mass?" The main problem, as I see it, is the radical Protestantism present in both American Lutheranism and German Lutheranism. The second big problem is, that Lutherans and Catholics and basically Protestants and Catholics have sadly hated each other for centuries. I personally do not like to use the word Protestant to describe myself, even though technically I am one. I prefer to be called a Christian, an "Evangelical Catholic," and/or a Lutheran; all three of those terms accurately describe me. Tensions between Lutherans and Catholics is nothing new. Sadly Lutherans and Catholics were killing each other in the German states and other places in Europe during the Reformation and afterwords.
Praise be to Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit! Times have changed for the better and Lutherans and Catholics are now the two most similar traditions within Christianity for the most part. Lutherans and Catholics today can be friends and even husband and wife and be "evenly yoked" in spite of theological differences. Lutherans and Catholics are both radically different and radically the same at the same time. Younger Lutherans and younger Catholics would be more likely to agree with me on that statement than older Lutherans and older Catholics. I think, we should celebrate our similarities and our kinship as Lutherans and Catholics and yet we should also not pretend, that there are no differences either. Rather let us learn from each other and grow in our Faith in Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit together. I have said for years, that Lutherans are in between Catholics and most other Protestants.
I think, that Lutherans and Catholic can and should celebrate the Mass together at special Masses, but Lutherans need to receive Holy Communion from a Lutheran pastor and Catholics need to receive Holy Communion from a Catholic priest during those special Masses; Lutherans on one side of the church and Catholics on the other side of the church. Why not? Both Roman Catholic priests, who serve the Holy Trinity as exorcists, and LCMS Lutheran pastors already work together to cast demons out of people, who are demon possessed, so celebrating the Mass together only makes logical sense. Granted these special Masses should probably only take place two to four times a year.
Lutherans and Catholics should regard each other as brothers and sisters in Christ and we should be very careful in making judgments towards each other, which may or may not be true. Both Lutheran Baptisms and Catholic Baptisms count towards Salvation, because Lutheranism and Catholicism are united together in the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity and our confession of Jesus being the Messiah, being the Savior of the world, and making Universal Atonement of all of our personal sins and Original Sin from Adam and Eve. Lutheranism and Catholicism are united in standing up against abortion and promoting true marriage as being one man and one women united together in love and affection for the purpose of having children, having them baptized as infants, and having them taught the truths of the Holy Scriptures aka catechizing them. Lutheranism and Catholicism are also united in personal and private Confession and Absolution being made with a clergyman meaning, that "going Confession" is pure Lutheran, pure Catholic, and totally Biblical. These things are universal and Biblical, even if individual Lutherans and Catholics and individual Lutheran church bodies and individual Catholic holy orders and individual Catholic synods violate these teachings (i.e. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Amazon Synod of The Roman Catholic Church).
Let us read Hebrews Chapter 6:
"6 Therefore leaving the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of Faith toward God, 2 Of the Doctrine of Baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of Eternal Judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit. 4 For it is impossible for those, who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the Heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the Good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame. 7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain, that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth Blessing from God: 8 But that, which beareth thorns and briers, is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. 9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany Salvation, though we thus speak. 10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed (shown) toward His Name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
11 And we desire, that everyone of you do shew (show) the same diligence to the Full Assurance of Hope unto the end: 12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through Faith and patience inherit the Promises. 13 For when God made (a) Promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He sware (swore) by Himself, 14 Saying, 'Surely Blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.' 15 And so, after he (Abraham) had patiently endured, he obtained the Promise. 16 For men verily swear by the Greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew (show) unto the heirs of Promise the immutability of His Counsel, confirmed it by an Oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the Hope set before us: 19 Which Hope we have as an Anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the Veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an High Priest forever after the Order of Melchisedec" (KJV 1611).
Corona Virus Update: Sadly the Mass has to share a blog post with the Corona Virus, but this situation has not ended sadly. ALL Ohio stores, which were deemed "unessential" by Governor Mike DeWine (R) of Ohio and Dr. Amy Acton of the Ohio Health Department, were allowed to reopen on Tuesday May 12, 2020. Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton have mandated, that ALL shopkeepers, store managers, store workers, and vendors must wear face masks during business hours. Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton are not going to mandate, that shoppers wear face masks, but they are allowing stores to mandate, that shoppers must wear face masks, when they are shopping. Ohio stores, which allow shoppers to shop without face masks, will have close their doors immediately and have their entire store "fogged" for $500 to get the Corona Virus out of their stores, if a shopper gets the Corona Virus in a particular store. For that reason, Jennifer Garrett of Jen's Furniture and Collectibles (JFC) was mandating, that all JFC shoppers, who chose to shop in-person in her store, wear face masks. ("It's mandatory! There are NO exceptions!" --Reverend Boomhaver in his Online Maundy Thursday Sermon for St. Luke's Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Lima, Ohio) (Granted he was referring to Governor DeWine's "stay at home order," which did have loopholes, and it is being relaxed. However, it fits here.) Jennifer Garrett, however, changed her mind on mandating, that shoppers wear face masks. Face masks are optional now for shoppers at JFC in St. Marys, Ohio. I will be wearing a face mask at all of my book signings for a while for three reasons: 1. Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton say, that I must wear it to sell my books and other products, 2. I want my readers and other customers to feel safe, and 3. I do not want to be violently attacked like the guy in the New York City grocery store, who chose not to wear a face mask during his grocery shopping trip. Please wear a face mask or other face covering, when you are shopping, if the shop keeper mandates it. However, if you are unable to wear a face mask or other face covering or you are morally opposed to wearing such things, then I will NOT mandate, that you have them during my appointment sales, which Governor DeWine is encouraging. I refuse to lose sales over people refusing to wear face masks during appointment sales. If you want to buy something from me, then please call or text me at (567) 712-8026 and we'll set-up a time to meet up. What about going to in-person church or going for a walk? Face masks and other face coverings will prohibit you from singing your best, so please take it off during in-person Masses and other in-person church services. Face masks are hard to breathe in, when you are outside in the heat. Plus the sunlight beats the Corona Virus every time.
MAILING CHECKS TO ME FOR BOOKS: I am now accepting checks through the mail for $15 for copies of each books: The Rising of The Moon Book 1: Changing Tides Part 1, The Rising of The Moon Book 1: Changing Tides Part 2, and The Rising of The Moon Book 2: Faith, Hope, and Love. $15 checks will cover the cost of each book and shipping, if you're paying by check. Please include a note with your on which books you want to buy off of me with your check. Checks may be written out to me, James O'Flannery, and mailed to James O'Flannery 1524 Crayton Avenue Lima, Ohio 45805.
May 2020 Book Signing(s):
1. I'll be having a book at The Menagerie at 1178 Indiana Avenue in the St. Marys Business Complex in St. Marys, Ohio on Saturday May 23, 2020 from 11 AM to 5 PM.
June 2020 Book Signings:
July 2020 Book Signings: TBA
August 2020 Book Signings: TBA
October 2020 Book Signing(s):
1. I'll be having a book signing at the Vaughnsville Craft and Vendor Show at the Vaughnsville Community Center in Vaughnsville on Saturday October 31, 2020 from 11 AM to 5 PM.
Vaughnsville Craft and Vendor Show: I will be hosting the 2020 Vaughnsville Craft and Vendor Show on Saturday October 31, 2020 from 11 AM to 5 PM at the Vaughnsville Community Center on State Route 12 in Vaughnsville, Ohio. I'm looking for vendors to come and sell their merchandise. I'm pretty much open to anything legal and clean, but homemade baked goods and craft items are preferred. Please see my "2020 Vaughnsville Craft and Vendor Show: Vendor Entry Form" blog post for more information:
My Green Irish Angel Statues: My Green Irish Angel Statues are really cute! They are only $1 each and they make great gifts. I have three kinds: 1. Cross-Bearing Angels, 2. Praying Angels, and 3. Angels Holding Butterflies. I like the Cross-Bearing Angels the best, because they are carrying Crosses. Each one bearing a Cross reminds us, that Jesus died on the True Cross to save every single person from death, Hell, Satan, Satan's Demons, Original Sin from Adam and Eve, and their personal sins. They're available exclusively at Jen's Furniture and Collectibles (JFC) on the corner High Street and Chestnut Street in between Circle K Gas Station and Zion Lutheran Church (NALC) in St. Marys, Ohio.
Stores Carrying My Books: My books, which I’ve written and published, are also available at the following stores: Brunner News Agency on Flanders Avenue in Lima, Ohio, Jen’s Furniture and Collectibles (JFC) on High Street in St. Marys, Ohio, The Menagerie at 1178 Indiana Avenue in the St. Marys Business Complex in St. Marys, Ohio, Readmore Hallmark Stores out at Eastgate Plaza and on Elm Street in Lima, Ohio, Wagner’s IGA Grocery Store in Minster, Ohio, and in the Shop section of my website ohioirishlutheranpress.com .
Thank you and Happy Easter!
James W. O’Flannery, President and Founder of Ohio Irish Lutheran Press (OIL Press)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8M5GaTXsTaw (The Reverend Doctor Jordan Cooper's video on Reverend Milton Valentine)