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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!