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Music of the Month: Light Divine: Three Pentecost Hymn Settings for Organ

This year, the Church celebrates the Day of Pentecost on May 23, marking the end of the season of Easter. The word “Pentecost” literally means “fifty,” as it falls fifty days after Easter Day.

On the Day of Pentecost, Jesus’ apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and given the ability to speak in many languages, which they used to spread the Gospel to all people and cultures. The Day of Pentecost marks the beginning of the “Time of the Church” in the Church Year—that half of the Church Year where the paraments in the sanctuary remain green and God’s people hear, in more detail, about the works and ministry of Jesus.

Teaching Psalms to Students

Every Maundy Thursday evening during the stripping of the altar, the choir at my church sings a version of Psalm 22, the Psalm that begins “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It’s a poignant piece for that part of the service and a look at the way in which the Psalms continually point us to Christ. This repetition of the same psalm at the same service every year also ensures that the psalm becomes familiar to the congregation and offers members words of Scripture to pray in times of need.

Music of the Month: Notes of Gladness

This collection by Benjamin Kolodziej features Easter organ settings of moderate difficulty. Each employs various musical textures to convey the spirit of the hymn texts to the congregation. From meditative and lush treatments of LANCASHIRE and VRUECHTEN to a sprightly trio arrangement of BESANÇON to a setting of DUKE STREET suitable for showcasing a solo trumpet, organists will find these settings invigorating and fun to play.

How Music Affects Its Listeners

During our recent spring break vacation at the beach, my husband and I encountered several people walking along the sidewalks, beach, and paths carrying speakers playing loud music, most often loud and obscene rap music. The lyrics of these songs told us how Satan was trying to influence the thoughts and minds of those who were listening to them. Satan was working through these explicit lyrics to draw people away from Christ. 

Understanding Worship: Service of the Word

Have you ever wondered why there are so many aspects of Lutheran worship? What about the style of music, the order of service, or even the weekly lectionary readings? Lutheran worship follows an ancient tradition that dates back hundreds of years. This includes the practice of incorporating the Service of the Word into regular services. Keep reading to learn more about this special part of Lutheran worship.

Music of the Month: Go to Dark Gethsemane

Mitchell Eithun provides a plaintive arrangement of the tune GETHSEMANE. Based on the first three stanzas of the hymn, Eithun’s portrayal of the hymn’s narrative includes phrases of the text throughout the score. This level II piece cleverly ends with an unfinished feel, adding to the anticipation of Easter dawn. 

The Beautiful Routine of the Liturgy

A day or two before Ash Wednesday, I remarked to my husband, “I can’t wait for Lent.” In a dreary year of isolation, anxiety, moral quandaries, political polarization, disease, and death, compounded all the more by the last few months of gloomy, wintry skies and cold weather, I am ready for spring. Lent means that spring is coming and that Easter is drawing ever nearer. It is a yearly routine that remains unchanging even in the face of a pandemic and societal disruption.

Themes in the Season of Lent

To mark the first day of Lent, we’re sharing an excerpt from Heaven on Earth in which Arthur Just describes the theological accents in the season of Lent.

Music of the Month: Good Friday Suite

Good Friday Suite features four hymns: “O Perfect Life of Love”; “Sing, My Tongue, the Glorious Battle”; “The Royal Banners Forward Go”; and “O Darkest Woe.” The suite may be played from start to finish or each as an individual prelude. The suite is especially useful for a Tre Ore service.

In Memoriam: Dr. Carl Flentge Schalk

The life of Dr. Carl F. Schalk (1929–2021) is certainly one of the clearest and longest proclamations of the Gospel ever heard in the world of Lutheran church music.

He was a beloved husband, father, musician, writer, composer, and fervent advocate of the Lutheran Church. While Carl is dearly missed, he continues to sing the Church’s song, now proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ in His nearer presence.

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