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How Easter Got Its Calendar Date

This post is adapted from The Year of the Lord by Theodore J. Kleinhans.

Just as the first Easter set the pattern for Sunday, so it also set the pattern for the Church Year. An event of such significance as the resurrection soon formed a natural focus for the entire year. No wonder one of the Church Fathers called it the festival of all festivals—the festum festorum.

Why Music Is Important in Church According to Luther

This post is an excerpt from Luther on Music: Paradigms of Praise by Carl F. Schalk.

No one considering the development of worship and church music in the Lutheran church of the sixteenth century can avoid facing squarely the pivotal role played by Martin Luther. He was important, however, not only because he was the focal point of a new theological movement. He stood, as well, at the center of a new musical movement that was to affect profoundly the church that would come to bear his name.

Music of the Month: Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands

Hart Morris’s arrangement of “Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands” is a Level III piece scored for 3–5 octave handbells. With roots in the Ancient Church and strong theological undercurrents, the piece is well placed on Easter Day or any Sunday during the Easter season.

Why Certain Hymn Texts Endure

I live right outside Washington, DC, a transient area where a two-year resident is practically a seasoned veteran. This area recalls the constant movement of our culture and the idea that things simply do not last or even last long. In this day of discarding the barely used for the brand new, how do we ensure that our artistic endeavors in the Church last? Specifically, how can our hymn texts survive a rapidly changing culture?

Music of the Month: Easter Fantasy on Ancient Hymns

Sondra K. Tucker’s arrangement of “Easter Fantasy on Ancient Hymns for Brass Quintet and Organ” combines two hymn tunes with Dupré’s celebrated organ solo “Cortège et Litanie.” The triumphant tone and historical relevance make the piece perfect for Easter Day or any time during the Easter season. Listen to “Easter Fantasy” here, and at the end of the post, preview the score on CPH.org.

Creating a Worshipful and Penitential Mood during Lent

While the purpose of Lent isn’t to make worshipers feel sad, it’s important that they understand why the church takes time each year to remember the season. Worshipers ideally recognize that Lent is a time for focusing on their need for a Savior so they can appreciate Jesus’ sacrifice on Good Friday and His resurrection on Easter. Working aspects of Lent into members’ worship, home life, and personal reflection can help them turn to the cross each day during Lent.

Keeping Church Reverent

Our culture often promotes relaxed and casual attitudes toward church, urging that a church should be a place where you feel welcomed and comfortable and where you can enjoy your favorite songs while sipping your favorite latte. As appealing as this sounds, why should we strive to keep church and worship reverent? What does music have to do with it?

Last-Minute Music Selections for Lent and Easter

Lent starts in two weeks! If you’re scrambling to put music together, don’t worry—we have options for you. Browse the list below to find music that will work with your church’s musicians. Options are available for different types of choirs and for organ, handbell, and instrumentalists with and without choir.

The Praise of God in New Testament Songs and Hymns

This post is adapted from Praising God in Song by Carl Schalk.

The New Testament reflects in various ways both the content and vigor of the worship life of the early Christians. Among the excerpts from creeds, prayers, doxologies, and benedictions to be found in the New Testament are a variety of references to “hymns,” “psalms,” and “odes,” or “songs.” The very variety of terms suggests that no one “hymn form” was used exclusively.

Product of the Month: The Tree of Life

The new choral piece “The Tree of Life” depicts the fall of Adam and redemption through Christ, framing both in imagery drawn from the Garden of Eden. The musical arrangement matches the changing tone of the text through the four stanzas—from innocence through shame to redemption and triumph, finally ending with quiet assurance.