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Does the Memorization of Hymns Matter?

We often use music as a tool to memorize things, whether they’re presidents, books of the Bible, states, parts of grammar, the Small Catechism, or any number of other items. The rhythm of songs and the catchiness of melodies make music a convenient vehicle to relay and hold onto facts, stories, lists, and so on. Music in this way serves a great purpose.

But have you ever stopped to wonder why we memorize things? Sure, instantly recalling a fact or name is good and useful and usually speeds up the work that needs to be done. But is there a greater purpose to memorization? Does music’s ability to make memorization quick and easy contain a higher good than simply recollection of fact?

Summer Reading about Music and Worship: CPH Reads

It’s summer! Even musicians can benefit from taking a break, sitting down with a book, and escaping into a story or learning something new. Concordia Publishing House’s summer reading program, CPH Reads, is in full swing. This is a program for adults and children that allows you to select a reading plan, track your progress by earning points, and celebrate your success by being entered to win a grand prize. Here are some books about music and worship that are included in the program. At the end of the post, you can sign up for CPH Reads!

The Importance of Teaching Hymns to Children

Christianity is not a simple thing. As church musicians, we understand this and strive to use our music to help teach doctrine in all of its complexities and subtleties to congregants both young and old. In fact, what better way to prepare and teach our young people than by teaching them robust, doctrine-filled hymns?

Reflection on “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing”

As I reflect on the glorious triumph of the Easter season, I remember the final hymn my congregation sang on Easter Sunday: “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing” (LSB 633). One of my all-time favorite hymns, it has a text that rightly captures both the joy of the day and the ultimate joy of the glorious Easter feast of heaven.

Easter is a time of rejoicing, and one of the best ways to rejoice is to throw a feast. In fact, for the past several Easter Sundays, I have had the opportunity to celebrate with food and fellowship. This feasting is a continuation of the joy of the Sunday-morning proclamation that “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!” It is also a foretaste of the celebration of heaven, that great feast of victory.

Reflection on “A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth”

As the recently arrived Lent spurs Christians to reflect on their mortality and sinfulness, to give up vices, and to contemplate the suffering of Christ, we begin looking forward with great eagerness to Easter. While Lent may be a beautiful and necessary part of the Church Year, the solemnity of this time can sometimes turn discouraging. This year, I have turned to Paul Gerhardt’s text of “A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth” (LSB 438) to seek comfort, assurance, and confidence in the hope of the resurrection.

Lenten Reading Plan 2018

The Church’s hymns are filled with rich and beautiful texts that provide congregations the opportunity to put words of Scripture to song. This Lenten season, we invite you to join us in our 2018 Lenten reading plan. Each day, we’ll focus on a new hymn stanza and the associated Scripture reading that inspired it.

Reflection on “Alleluia, Song of Gladness”

As I reflect on the end of the Epiphany season and the beginning of Lent, I like to turn to the hymn that transitions us from one to the other on Transfiguration Sunday: “Alleluia, Song of Gladness” (LSB 417). The early Latin text adequately conveys tension between life here on earth and the eternal joy we look forward to in heaven.

Twelve Hymns for the Twelve Days of Christmas

Merry Christmas! What a joy to know that the Church’s Christmas song continues through the next eleven days. Enjoy these twelve hymns as you rejoice in the Savior’s birth!

Six Thanksgiving Hymn Favorites

Ah, Thanksgiving. My favorite time of year. And of course it is a time not only to feast with family and friends, but also to give thanks to God for His bountiful goodness toward us. What better way to do this than by having a church service containing many beautiful hymns of thanks?

Words to Look for in Luther’s Hymns

Just as it was in Luther’s day, music is still a powerful tool the Church can use to convey the importance of Christ’s saving name. Luther’s words have greatly shaped our theology and hymnody over the centuries, and they will likely continue to do so for the next half millennium. In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we’re taking a closer look at some of the most commonly used words in Luther’s hymns according to the English translations in The Hymns of Martin Luther.