Celebrant raises only one hand to make the sign of the cross. Piepkorn claims that the raising of both hands is a Reformed custom. My variation is to raise both hands in a cruciform manner, as Moses did.

The sign of the cross is made by tracing one vertical and one horizontal line. Piepkorn instructs that two fingers are extended and the last two tucked under the thumb. My variation is to extend the index, curve the next, cross the ring with the thumb, and curve the little, thus imitationg ICXC. I believe this to be an Eastern practice, but I do not know the authority.

My variation: I hold the right hand still for a moment, at the point to which it has come at the conclusion of the tracing of the sign, to make the celebrant a momentary icon of sorts.

Piepkorn has the Celebrant turning back to the altar by his left (acknowledging the ghost of the deacon). My variation is to turn back by my right, completing the circle. I do not know the origination of this variation.

For the benediction it is laudable that all excepting the celebrant kneel. Following the benediction the celebrant kisses the altar and genuflects.

The Lutheran rite does not include the Last Gospel, from St. John 1.1-14, and concluding with Thanks be to God.

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Fr. BF Eckardt, Editor-in-chief, Gottesdienst