Two things you should know: 1. I do not observe the Michaelmas “skip”. 2. I am using neither the skip to the Last Sunday in the Church Year, nor am I using the Last Three Sundays in the Church Year. I’m preaching until I run out of Sundays. I hope you may be able to […]
Archive for the 'Music' Category
For some pastors (like me), planning hymns for a new Church Year is fun. For other pastors, planning hymns for a new Church Year is torture. In order to help those who are in the latter category, I have put my hymn plan for the new Church Year here. I hope this is of some […]
“[Luther] gathered the principal and most necessary points of doctrine and comfort in beautiful German Psalms and hymns, so that the simple too might make continual use of them–as has manifestly (praise God) come to pass, and no one can truthfully deny.” These words, written about a century after Luther, summarize what it means to be the singing church. As we are currently learning in Adult Bible Study and exploring in our day school this year, Luther’s legacy was not just talking about God, but also singing the Gospel. Singing engraves the text our hearts, gives musical expression to the text, and preaches the good news that Christ is present in our singing. This morning, I’d like to briefly explore two aspects of our sung confession of faith. First, the song of justification. Second, the song of Jesus’ real presence in the Lord’s Supper. We need to sing both of these songs, for they deliver the good news of Christ to our ears and to our very mouths.
What is the most unique claim to fame of the hymn, “All Mankind Fell in Adam’s Fall”? You can see that it is placed first in the “Faith and Justification” section of TLH, but that is not its most prominent trait. Rather, the enduring legacy of today’s Hymn of the Day is its unique honor of being one of only two hymns to be quoted in The Lutheran Confessions. In a document called The Formula of Concord, we read that, in an argument over original sin, “[One] party contended that because ‘through Adam’s fall the whole human nature and essence is corrupted’” (FC I.1; Kolb-Wengert, 531.1). This translation varies from the hymn, but you get the idea. This hymn is used in The Lutheran Confessions to proclaim the reality that we are born in sin and bound to die. This is a necessary prelude to the forgiveness of sins, what today’s Gospel Lesson calls “righteousness.” Full-strength Law and full-strength Gospel for us today as we receive the curse of Adam and the blessings of Christ.
Hymn 212, “A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing,” is the first of the dozen ascension hymns in TLH. We simply don’t know if it was placed first for prominence or convenience, but it is certainly a fitting portal to the ascension hymns in this hymnal. It is by far the oldest of our ascension hymns, pre-dating the others in this hymnal by nearly 1,000 years. The text was written by the Venerable Bede (AD 673-735), a profound scholar, who wrote on nearly every academic subject. He only wrote a handful of hymns, of which this is probably his best known. The timeless tune is familiar to all Christians, known for its singability, its majesty, and of course its ability to accommodate the repetition of the word “Alleluia.” (Please see your bulletin insert for further reflections on the text, tune, and context of this hymn.) “A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing” will guide us today as we receive the gifts of Jesus’ ascension.