Thursday, April 22, 2010

Liturgy Review: Symbol and Song

Nielsen, Pam. Illustrated by Arthur Kirchhoff. Calligraphy by Edward Q. Luhmann. Behold the Lamb: An Introduction to the Signs and Symbols of the Church. St. Louis: Concordia, 2010. 48 Pages. Cloth. $8.99. (Currently on sale for $6.67.) (L)

Evening & Morning: The Music of Lutheran Daily Prayer. St. Louis: Concordia, 2009. Audio CD. $9.99. (L)

Among the most helpful liturgical resources we have seen are these two new releases from Concordia Publishing House.

Concluding a trilogy begun by Scot Kinnaman in Worshiping with Angels and Archangels and author Heath Curtis' introduction to the Christian Church Year, Ordering our Days in His Peace, Pam Nielsen's book, Behold the Lamb, deserves a place of honor on your shelf next to Lutheran Service Book.

This is intentionally "An Introduction to the Signs and Symbols of the Church." It is not an extensive sign and symbol dictionary. Your pastor may well have one of those or direct inquisitive young scholars and their parents to additional resources. This is a great starting place!

Symbols point to something or Someone else. The author, an LCMS Deaconness, does a wonderful job of keeping the focus on Jesus. Symbols have stories behind them. We can make the most of each opportunity we have to explain a Bible symbol, creedal symbol, or historical symbol to a new believer or a young Christian.

Behold the Lamb makes regular references to Lutheran Service Book, supporting what a child may pray, sing, and experience at worship in their own congregation, an important connection between congregational, educational, and home life.

As with the other two volumes in the series, art is reverent, creative, relevant to the topic being taught, as well as being bright, colorful, and engaging.

A brief two page glossary concludes the volume.

Behold the Lamb is a welcome addition to the resources Christian parents, Sunday School Teachers, and Pastors have to liturgically catechize the newest and youngest Christians in our homes, classes, and congregations. It introduces the reader/listener to symbols of God and Christ, cross and Church Year, Apostles and Martin Luther, preparing the way for curious minds to be hungry for more.

Discounts may be available for bulk orders or for orders of the three book set.

Just yesterday, our Lutheran grammar school took a field trip. We had to leave before our usual starting time, so we would have missed chapel. Thanks to bulletins of Matins and our hymn of the month from Lutheran Service Builder and this recording, we had chapel in the church van and parent vehicles "on the road."

This is a high-quality recording, just what one should expect from Concordia Publishing House, building on the experience and showcasing the expertise of all involved, including:
Choir: The Seminary Kantorei of Concordia Theological Seminary
Director: Richard C. Resch

Organist: Paul J. Grime
Officiant (spoken): Charles Brown
Officiant (sung): Dallas Dubke Jr.
Years ago, I reviewed some other CD travel devotions by another publisher, wishing and praying that something like this would be possible as an audio CD supplement to LSB. Now, here it is! 

Thanks to Rev. Scot Kinnaman at CPH, the CD is organized in the following way.
(One could create a separate playlist for each daily prayer office.)
* Matins (Tracks 01–08)

* Vespers (Tracks 09–14)

* Morning Prayer (Tracks 15–21)

* Evening Prayer (Tracks 22–29)

* Compline (Tracks 30–38)

* Litany (Track 39)

List of tracks:
01 Matins Sentences
02 Matins Venite
03 Matins Responsory
04 Matins Te Deum
05 Matins Benedictus
06 Matins Kyrie/Our Father
07 Matins Collect
08 Matins Benedicamus; Benediction
09 Vespers Sentences
10 Vespers Responsory
11 Vespers Magnificat
12 Vespers Kyrie/Our Father
13 Vespers Collect
14 Vespers Benedicamus; Benediction

15 Morning Prayer Sentences
16 Morning Prayer Venite
17 Morning Prayer In Many Ways
18 Morning Prayer Benedictus
19 Morning Prayer Collect
20 Morning Prayer Our Father
21 Morning Prayer Benedicamus; Benediction

22 Evening Prayer Service of Light
23 Evening Prayer Psalm 141
24 Evening Prayer In Many Ways
25 Evening Prayer Magnificat
26 Evening Prayer Litany
27 Evening Prayer Collect
28 Evening Prayer Our Father
29 Evening Prayer Benedicamus; Benediction

30 Compline Opening Sentences
31 Compline Confession
32 Compline Lessons
33 Compline Responsory
34 Compline Prayer
35 Compline Prayers
36 Compline Our Father
37 Compline Nunc Dimittis
38 Compline Benediction

39 Litany
If you use the LSB and own a CD player (or modern computer, DVD player, etc.), you should own and benefit from this CD. Also, consider purchasing Concordia's other new prayer resource, Treasury of Daily Prayer.

If I have any critique of this CD, it is a very minor one. On the back of the CD case and the CD itself, the service titles "Morning Prayers" and "Evening Prayers" should both lose the final "s." Perhaps this could be done in a "second printing."

I commend Concordia Publishing House for providing solid, user-friendly, hymnal resources for young and old alike.

The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.