Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Liturgy & Hymnody Review: A Mission Opportunity

Comité liturgique francophone de l'Église lutherienne du Canada. Liturgies et Cantiques Luthériens. Winnipeg, Canada: Editions de l'Église luthérienne du Canada, 2009. 864 Pages. Cloth. $20.00. http://www.egliselutherienne.ca/ http://www.lutheranchurch-canada.ca/home.php http://www.cph.org/ (LH)

It's blue. It looks like Lutheran Service Book. And you don't have to know French or be French to see the huge potential of this new French-language Lutheran hymnal.

For the purpose of this review, let's keep things simple. I'll assume the vast majority of our readers do not know the French language. (For those who do, you already have one reason to purchase and benefit greatly from LCL.) Many will appreciate this book because of the many loan words between French and English.

The presentation of this new hymnal is nearly identical to our English-language Lutheran Service Book. The committee that prepared this hymnal had the benefit of not having to come up with all of the initial designs. It is interesting to see familiar features formatted in a new way. One such example is the Three-Year Lectionary (pp. xiv-xxi). Another is the table of movable feasts (xxiii), much like in The Lutheran Hymnal.

The chanting of the psalms makes use of a different kind of psalm tones. These could easily be adapted for use in English. (See also 726ff, et al for use with Biblical Canticles.)

Among three settings of Holy Communion/Divine Service, one may note that Suite liturgiue C is very nearly identical to LSB DS4, p. 203. Consider a congregation of the LCC or LCMS with both English and French-speakers as members. One could do this service bilingually. Consider the opportunity for a congregation to reach out to French-speaking immigrants from Africa! Imagine the possibilities in Canada, Quebec, France, Haiti, and other French-speaking parts of the world!

LCL has some resources in its pew edition that would supplement LSB or provide materials not in the LSB pew edition.
  • A Midday Office (198) with brief readings from Romans 3:8-10; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Galatians 5:26-6:2; Ephesians 2:8-9; Colossians 3:17; 1 Peter 1:17-19; and 1 John 4:16.
  • Compline has an additional (compared to LSB) brief reading from Revelation 22:4-5.
  • A sung litany is included (231).
  • Resources for Advent (232), Lent (233-34), Palm Sunday (235), Good Friday (236), and the Easter Vigil (237) are provided.
  • Collects (242ff)!
  • Pastoral Visitation to the sick (265) is found in the pew edition. One wonders what other editions (besides music accompaniment) will be provided later.
  • Hymns of the Day are noted (831ff).
Other contents of note:
  • A rite for admission to the Sacrament of the Altar is recommended before first communion, confirmation, or profession of faith (214). 
  • Hymns begin on 307, keeping the same elegant, unified numbering system of LSB.
  • Copyright notices show a great debt not only to LSB, but LW, LBW, our sister Synod in Belgium and Franceand especially to Episcopal liturgies. 
  • One does NOT find "O Holy Night," nor the tune CANTIQUE DE NOEL for the same reasons it is not in LSB.
  • Hymns by Luther are extensive!
  • Holy Baptism in cases of emergency is found after the indices and before the Nicene Creed, Apostles' Creed, and Lord's Prayer (863).

A special Bénissons le Seigneur (Thanks be to God) for all involved in this hymnal.

I pray this will lead to a revision of Concordia's Spanish-language hymnals in this generation, as well as an ambitious project I would love to propose for Classical Lutheran educators and schools: a Latin edition of Lutheran Service Book.

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.