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Product of the Month: Lent Mosaics

Jacob Weber’s Lent Mosaics provides six new preludes on familiar hymns for the time of Lent. These settings ponder the Passion of our Lord through intricate and serious writing and will help set the tone for worship during this penitential season.

Emmanuel Has Come—Even to Tired Church Musicians

As Christmas approaches, everything around us tells us to be merry and happy—and we should be as we rejoice at the remembrance of the birth of Christ. For us church musicians, though, this time of year finds many of us busy, anxious, and stressed, a far cry from the Christmas cheer everyone around us espouses. Fortunately for us, our tasks during this season lead us to the truth, the ultimate cause of rejoicing.

The Histories of Some of Your Favorite Christmas Hymns

Did you know that one of the most famous Christmas hymns came about because a church’s organ broke just in time for Christmas Eve? Read on to learn about some of the season’s most well-known hymns, and while you read, get into the holiday mood by listening to our Advent and Christmas playlist.

Product of the Month: Piano Prelude Series, Vol. 1

 This month, we’re introducing a new series of hymn preludes written for pianists. Not only are these pieces great for use during worship services, but they can also be played at home or used with students. Here’s what to look for in the first volume.

The Divine Service in Lutheran Service Book

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.

Evening Hymns for the Close of the Church Year

Abide with me, fast falls the eventide.
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
(“Abide with Me,” LSB 878, Stanza 1)

So was my family’s anthem nearly every evening when I was little. We made it our own with little added embellishments, as kids (and sometimes dads) are wont to do, and then scurried off to bed (always obediently and willingly, I might add—just don’t tell my mom I said that). Little did we know the preparation that was taking place, the ultimate preparation in life: we were preparing to die.

Five Simple Ways for Church Organists to Improve Their Playing

Between learning music for each week, leading rehearsals, teaching, and keeping up with regular life responsibilities, it can be hard for working church musicians to focus on their musical growth. But growing as a musician is one of the most important and fun parts of your work. So how do you make it happen?

Here are some simple ways to keep your musical growth a priority as you keep up your regular responsibilities at church.

Product of the Month: Carol of the Lamb

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.

Reformation Hymns for Hope and Comfort on All Saints’ Day

 

Sola Scriptura, sola gratia, sola fide, solus Christus. Scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone.

This Reformation teaching is especially poignant on All Saints’ Day, a day when many of us remember those who have gone before us in the faith. The solas teach us about the pure Gospel, and the Gospel gives us hope in the resurrection. As you rejoice in the Reformation, may you find comfort in the Gospel and share that comfort with others who may be mourning on All Saints’ Day.

Prayer Hymns: One Immense Voice Raising Supplication to God

Have you ever attempted an extempore prayer? I know I have been in many situations in which someone calls upon me to offer a prayer, and I confess I don’t have many memorized beyond the basics (the Lord’s Prayer, Luther’s Morning and Evening Prayers, etc.). The ability to compose a prayer on the spot is important to learn, but oftentimes, previously composed prayers are more thorough and eloquent.