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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Christian faith presents certain truths about Jesus Christ—His birth, death, and resurrection, to name a few—and teaches that these events were real. Many people consider our faith as simply believing in Jesus; however, Scripture tells us that even the demons believe in Jesus (James 2:19). Our faith rests on something deeper: Jesus became man, died, and rose for us. Perhaps no hymn speaks to this simple yet glorious truth better than “O Love, How Deep.”
There’s no question that Lutheran churches often love tradition, and yet many churchgoers benefit from the options technology brings. Along that vein, CPH Music is excited to release two new editions of Lutheran Service Book. One is a pocket-size hymnal, which is reminiscent of generations past. The other is a text-only ebook, for those who are more future-minded.