Have you ever wanted to know more about the history of the hymns in Lutheran Service Book? Do you ever wonder what the lives of those who wrote our hymns were like? Good news—we have a book for that. Everyone at Concordia Publishing House is incredibly excited to announce the launch of Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Hymns. This comprehensive hymn companion is rich with compelling facts—many newly discovered through extensive research of original sources in libraries all over the world. We’ve picked our top five for you to check out today.
Lutherans believe that worship is an act of receiving God’s gifts. That’s why the worship service we use is called the Divine Service. It’s a time during which God comes to us through His Word and Sacraments. Lutheran Service Book includes five different versions, or settings, of the Divine Service. There is only one Divine Service, but there are different settings. Some of the music and language differ between the settings, but the core of them all is the same—God delivering to us His forgiveness and salvation.
The Old Testament is full of promises of a Savior, so what better way to celebrate Christmas than by looking at how those promises are fulfilled in the New Testament? “Carol of the Lamb,” a new choral piece for Christmas, is a perfect way to bring this idea to your congregation, as it features breathtaking music and references to Psalm 23.
It’s almost Reformation Day, and that means we get to enjoy hearing some of Lutheranism’s most famous hymns. (“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” I’m looking at you!) If you’re looking for some additional Reformation-related hymns to use around this time, consider using the ones mentioned below. We selected most of these by using the hymn search tool in Lutheran Service Builder with the keyword “Reformation.”
We also have created social media graphics with quotes from the selected hymns, and they are all shown below. At the end of the post, you can download the graphics for free and use them on your church’s social media accounts.
As a musician, pastor, and liturgy committee member for Lutheran Service Book, Rev. Dr. Thomas Winger has a unique and informed perspective on how music functions in the liturgy. We recently interviewed him to learn about his new book, Lutheranism 101: Worship, and to hear his perspective on incorporating the hymnal into worship and daily prayer.
In the wonder and joy of the Christmas season, music can be especially helpful in setting the tone for worship. In her new collection Repeat the Sounding Joy: Five Christmas Tunes for Trumpet and Organ, CPH composer Sondra Tucker uses different organ colors and the clear call of trumpets to remind listeners of the joy of Christ’s birth. Learn from Sondra herself about the collection, how your church can make use of it, and some special moments to listen for in the pieces.
With its satisfying harmonies yet simple tune, “O Holy Night” is a familiar hymn that has become a staple in Christmas worship. This year, CPH Music released a new setting of this popular hymn in partnership with composer John Behnke. Learn more about this unique and captivating arrangement, and explore some of Behnke’s other works as a handbell, choral, and organ composer.
This post is taken from The Hymns of Martin Luther, with historical summaries authored by Henry V. Gerike and edited by Peter C. Reske.
Music can be a powerful teaching tool, and Luther knew that well. By teaching his parishioners hymns about the Ten Commandments or the persons of the Trinity, he could reinforce Christianity’s essential teachings in a memorable and moving way. Learn about his six catechetical hymns below, and at the end of the post, you can download a set of devotions based on the hymns.
Here are some ideas for how church musicians, pastors, and teachers can help families use the hymnal at home. You also download a free family devotions guide with hymns and readings for each week during the school year.
Researching hymns can feel like going on a wild goose chase that leads to a dead end or, if you’re lucky, a tiny tidbit of information. But there are some things you can do to make that research less frustrating and more fruitful.
When I was editing Lutheran Service Book, I learned the best strategy was to go back to the primary sources for hymns. That’s what I encourage you to do as well. Here are some tips for finding useful sources without spending a fortune—or any money at all.