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Music of the Month: Jesus Has Come—Eight Organ Preludes for the Church Year

This collection contains an array of settings that will appeal to organists of all ability levels and sensibilities. The melodies are set in alluring, recognizable ways and are suitable for preludes, voluntaries, and postludes. Matthew Machemer uses a variety of styles: Baroque writing with clean, contrapuntal lines; dramatic settings with lush harmonies; and elegant, understated treatment, useful throughout the Church Year.

What Songs Are Stuck in Your Head?

I was leaning into the fridge and looking for a snack when the blasphemous lyrics popped into my head from out of nowhere.

It was a line from a song by a band my husband and I had recently seen in concert. Their songs are relatively clean, any crude or uncouth language typically warranted by the dark life circumstances they detail, things like broken homes and hurt people. This band sings about these things as a way to cope with a sinful world, not in order to praise them; however, it is not a Christian band.

Composer of the Month: Charles Ore

Charles Ore is a renowned organist, music teacher, and composer. His storied career spans more than sixty years, and his passion for liturgical music and education is unmatched. Ore’s notable work includes 11 Compositions for Organ and several choral pieces. 

Uniting Church Hymns throughout Time and Place

This summer, One and All Rejoice, a new children’s hymnal for K–8 students, will be released. There are two hundred well-loved hymns along with newer songs debuting in this hymnal. Among them are six modern hymns that can be used throughout the Church Year. Learn more about the hymns below, and listen to them on the One and All Rejoice playlist.

Music of the Month: The Wind Blows Where It Wills

This year, May 31 is Pentecost Sunday, the day the Church celebrates the Holy Spirit coming to the disciples after Christ's resurrection and ascension. In preparation for the day and coming season of Pentecost, a new piece by Rev. Stephen P. Starke and Jacob B. Weber has been released. The piece includes a beautiful, lyrical melody and an optional flute part, which adds variety and structure to the tune. 

On the Day of Pentecost, Jesus’ apostles were together in a house when a rush of wind from heaven filled the space. Then tongues of fire appeared above the apostles’ heads, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They went out to Jerusalem, speaking many different languages, and witnessed to people of all nations who were there (Acts 2:1–11).

Starke’s text is especially appropriate for the Day of Pentecost and the season following it as it reads: 

Cling to Hymns in a Pandemic

This pandemic is certainly horrific, but I have found many positives during this time. One of these positives was a slower and more reflective Holy Week, allowing me to ponder and study Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and to write some lessons on it for my school. In this Passion, as the evangelist—St. Matthew—and the rest of the biblical characters narrate the story, Bach uses chorales to mark the communal response of all believers to the biblical events. These chorales, or hymns, can be seen as our congregational response to Christ’s saving work, much like our hymns act within the church service.

Composer of the Month: Paul Gerhardt

Paul Gerhardt (1607–76) is in a tier only with Martin Luther as the most beloved and celebrated Lutheran hymnwriters in the church today. Seventeen of Gerhardt’s 100-plus hymn texts are in Lutheran Service Book.

Prepare for the Easter Season at Home

During the fifty days of the Easter season, the Church rejoices in the resurrected Lord and the new life He brings. This season includes three great feasts that we celebrate: the Feast of the Resurrection, the Feast of the Ascension, and the Feast of Pentecost. This year, the Easter season looks and feels different, as many churches are streaming worship online. As you prepare for upcoming services, use the hymns and suggestions below in preparation for worship throughout the Easter season.

Music of the Month: Christ Being Raised

A perfect selection for the Easter season comes in this SATB anthem based on Romans 6:9. Beginning with joyous alleluias, the music rises in sequence, portraying the text “raised from the dead.” The melodic sequences and voice leading make the music easy to learn while still sounding dramatic and powerful.

Comforting Hymns for Listening at Home

I know I’m not alone when I say that during times of distress, I cling to music. I cling to melodies that I have come to love, especially melodies and lyrics that I can repeat as a source of strength. As Lutherans, hymns of comfort and strength have been passed down for generations. These hymns help each and every believer remember the Savior through music, singing praise to Him as one united body.