Friday, October 29, 2010

FW: Why the Concordia Triglotta is Still a Priceless Jewel: Do You Want a Copy of It?

Post on the blog below if you'd like to see this treasure return…

 

Feed: Cyberbrethren Lutheran Blog Feed
Posted on: Friday, October 29, 2010 10:03 AM
Author: Paul T. McCain
Subject: Why the Concordia Triglotta is Still a Priceless Jewel: Do You Want a Copy of It?

 

The Concordia Triglotta. Do you even know what it is? It was a book published by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod many moons ago, and here I'm quoting from the title page: "As a Memorial of the Quadricentenary Jubilee of the Reformation anno Domini 1917 by resolution of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio and Other States." Due to wartime paper shortages and so forth, it was not actually printed until 1921. For many years Concordia Publishing House kept it in print, but eventually transferred it over to the Wisconsin Synod's publishing house, which kept it in print until the late 1990s. I picked up a copy from the last printing in around May 2006.

The reason that the Concordia Triglotta remains such a priceless jewel is because it is the only place you can obtain the text of the official, authorized edition of the German Book of Concord, published in 1580, and the Latin edition, published in 1584, along with a fairly literal, to the point of being literalistic, translation of either the German or Latin texts. What happened is that while the Triglotta remained in print, the texts of the two official editions of the Book of Concord were easily accessible to anyone. Now, however, since the Triglotta has gone out of print, and is only available digitally, these texts are not as easily accessible, unless of course you happen to own a first edition 1580 Concordia or 1584 Latin.

Why is this important? Because modern translations of the Book of Concord are not, in fact, based on the official texts of the Book of Concord, but on scholarly reconstructions of what the "best form" of those texts are thought to be, not what they are as they were published in 1580 and 1584. Is this some doctrinal crisis? No, but since confessional Lutherans are pledged to the texts of the German and Latin Book of Concord, most specifically, of course, the German 1580 text, it is good to have those texts available.

So, here is my question to you, dear reader, would you be interested in buying a copy of the Concordia Triglotta is we bring it back into print? We are investigating this right now and aiming at trying to bring it back into print at a reasonable price point, but it is not going to be cheap. Obviously, we can not print thousands of copies and expect to sell those. So, we will probably have to print copies in the hundreds of copies, rather than thousands, which mean the price point will be somewhere in the $60 or $70 range. It will be a casebound book, with an attractive cover design.

So, drop me a note and let me know if you are interested in buying a copy of the Concordia Triglotta. We will not be including the eye-straining copy of the Historical Introductions in the Triglotta, since those now have been retypeset in a nice readable edition, which is available here.

So, let me know. Is you in, or is you out? Want a copy of the Triglotta?


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Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Noted Review: More Music for the Road



Casting Crowns. Until the Whole World Hears...Live. Franklin, TN: Provident Label Group, 2010. Audio CD and Video DVD. $11.98. http://www.castingcrowns.com/  http://www.beachstreetrecords.com/  http://www.reunionrecords.com/  (NR)

Jars of Clay. The Shelter. Franklin, TN: Provident/Essential/Gray Matters, 2010. Audio CD. $11.98. http://www.jarsofclay.com/  http://www.essentialrecords.com/  http://www.provident-integrity.com/  http://pmgsonymusic.com/  http://www.providentpress.com/  (NR)
 
Roberts, Kerrie. Kerrie Roberts. Franklin, TN: Provident/Reunion, 2010. Audio CD. $9.97. http://www.kerrieroberts.com/  http://www.reunionrecords.com/  http://www.providentpress.com/  (NR)
 
Revive. Blink. Franklin, TN: Provident/Essential, 2010. Audio CD. $11.98. http://www.reviveband.com/ http://www.provident-integrity.com/  (NR)

Smith, Michael W. Wonder. Franklin, TN: Provident/Reunion, 2010. Audio CD. $11.98. http://www.michaelwsmith.com/  http://www.providentpress.com/  (NR)
 
Tenth Avenue North. The Light Meets the Dark. Franklin, TN: Provident/Reunion, 2010. Audio CD. $11.98. http://www.tenthavenuenorth.com/  http://www.reunionrecords.com/  (NR)

Third Day. Move. Franklin, TN: Provident/Essential, 2010. Audio CD. $11.98.  http://www.thirday.com/  http://www.essentialrecords.com/  http://www.provident-integrity.com/  http://www.providentpress.com/  (NR)

The Essential Christmas Collection. Franklin, TN: Provident/Essential, 2010. Audio CD. $11.98. http://www.providentpress.com/  (N)
 

It is a privilege to be asked to give an honest opinion about something. 

It is a great responsibility to actually do that. 

I have personally struggled with "what do do" with contemporary Christian music. The struggle began in the 1980's. College students from one of our Concordia Universities (then a College) visited our congregation for a youth group lock-in. We heard rock with Christian lyrics from the boom box she brought. And we were invited to help with Sunday worship (exhausted as we were from staying up all night, of course). And I felt strange about participating in the drama and in leading songs I had never heard before. 

Our congregation used The Lutheran Hymnal, and even had a section called "spiritual song" in the back, but I had never heard or sung ones like these before. (I have since learned a better definition of "spiritual songs": the songs of Scripture like the Magnificat inspired by the Spirit Himself.) These new songs sounded like the world of pop rock that I was also just discovering. But. They had different, "Christian" lyrics, when one could understand them.
 
Then came University. Our state U had a large LCMS campus ministry. I thought it strange we had pre-printed bulletins for all but the hymns. Then the hymnal was supplemented. And then it fell away for the most part. The choir died, organists were discouraged, and the band became the regular fixture. No pulpit. No close communion practice. Lots of lay readers. There was even lay preaching. 

I discovered my vocation of husband and pastor there, leading me to seminary. The first week was something of a reconversion to the faith and practices of my youth. That has been my comfortable spot ever since. I'm still there: a Bible, Catechism, and Hymnal Lutheran Christian. I'm also a techie, musician, composer, guitarist, and more. I appreciate the new, but not at the expense of the old.
 
So.

Here's what I've figured out. 

My initial "gut" instinct was rather insightful after all. Some song written from a Christian worldview with the sound of the world of pop culture are "sound alikes." Like so-and-so but not the message, try this Christian artist instead. Hence, the change to "Noted" instead of "Hymnody." As I've recently and repeatedly said, there is a difference between church music for guitar and guitar music for the church. My recommendation? This list of CDs are music for the road, some more edifying and Biblically-accurate than some others.

It has been some time since I attended a Christian concert. I've heard Lost and Found, Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, and others. I love seeing the unhidden musicianship of a live concert and a band that thrives on audience participation. 

This CD/DVD concert set  features the eight strongest songs from their original Until the Whole World Hears released, previously reviewed by QBR (http://lhpqbr.blogspot.com/2010/03/hymnody-review-music-for-road-trip.html). 
These songs sound like sermons. 

Note the teaching break between 4 and 5 and another between 7 and 8. This is  "not just a concert." While I appreciated a focus on repentance, our concern about the latent "decision theology" of "At Your Feet" appears justified, as it now appears ias the last song of this concernt DVD in the "Altar Call" spot. 


Much CCM simply assumes that one becomes a Christian by that person's decision. What then do we do with John 15:16? Be sure to re-read Joshua 24:14ff in its entirety to see that the people could only choose to reject God by choosing one set of pagan gods over another. Seeing the human will has healthy and active is actually medieval Roman Catholic teaching. Reject Erasmus' Freedom of the Will and read Luther's Bondage of the Will to see what I mean. It could inspire a really great album!

 
Jars of Clay is one of the bands I have listened to from its very beginning. I miss the old acoustic days of the self-titled album. Then their sound changed and has remained largely consistent since.  The Shelter is their latest release. I sense a shift to more "social gospel" themes than more Law & Gospel proclamation. That makes me uncomfortable.

The album features notable guest artists like Amy Grant, Brandon Heath, and a "community of artists." "These songs celebrate the fullness of a life poured out as a part of the community of God and illuminated our great privilege as the means through which God loves his people. 'It is in the shelter of each other the people live.'" (plasticwrap ad)

True, but what about the means of grace? What of the shelter of the Church? Why not tie into the shelter of a stable that substituted as a hospital on Christmas? Perhaps we're just having creative differences. I would recommend another hymn album. How about the the hymn "Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me" sung to the tune RYBURN...


Kerrie Roberts' self-titled debut is a fantastic example of the "sound-alike" phenomenon in CCM.

She sounds like Kelly Clarkson without the attitude and the "never again" guy (See her album #3 for the reference). In fact, her vocals are better. Her worldview is far superior. She wrote or co-wrote every song on the album. Kudos. Again, her writing strength is better than Clarkson's.

At the end of the day, this is still pop music. Yes, pop from a Christian standpoint, but still pop. I didn't take any away that will endure for centuries. I am always hopeful that a strong beginning will lead to maturity, as we saw with the modern hymns of one Stuart Townend. 
 

Blink is hard to miss. That the band Revive shares a label with Jars of Clay is no coincidence. They are a sound-alike to a Christian band. In some ways, I prefer the sound of Revive to that of Jars. It sounds in some ways like a revived Jars.
I found similar lyrical issues throughout many of the songs on the albums reviewed here. A Christian would/could listen and understand the words in the context of their Christian background. A non-Christian may simply like the music. The words may or may not connect. They may remain vague or unclear apart from the clarity of the Word and use of the names "Lord," "Christ," "Jesus," et al. The referent is missing.


Michael W. Smith is one of the long-time veterans of CCM. He has recently released worship albums that both went platinum. I hope and pray that his experience on those projects would spill over to his future ones. I admit, I was disappointed by Wonder.

Yes, he shows the personal side of struggling to live faithfully as a Christian in a fallen world, yet the songs fall short. To put it in 80's/90's parlance, they are "Jesus or my girlfriend" songs. Again, the referent is missing. Dear brother, confess the name of our Savior who takes your breath away, He who ran to you before you ran to Him. If you wish to "raise the bar," lift high the cross without apology or euphemism.
Tenth Avenue North is another sound-alike band, one with vocals reminding me of Jars of Clay, but again, excelling beyond the "original" in that regard.

I appreciate the Luther reference in the band's liner notes. They know and clearly confess the Gospel. I would love to have it more explicitly confessed and sung on their next album. This one was pleasant, but the language for God was vague.

Keep up the musicianship!


Third Day has a masculine, confident, "southern-fried" sound.

I must give them kudos for using God's name, calling upon Jesus in prayer and praise.

This southern rock sound plays well in a car waking one up on a road trip. It is encouraging, confesses a Christian worldview, and may well serve as a godly sound-alike alternative to a band like Nickelback. 

The concern, then, is that by liking this, one will then "graduate" to secular pop rock.


Christmas is a season filled with song. Christmas albums are a dime a dozen. What makes The Essential Christmas Collection different? It is sung by the artists mentioned elsewhere in this review.

1. Angels We Have Heard On High -Third Day
2. Go Tell It On The Mountain- Tenth Avenue North
3. The First Noel- Revive
4. Silent Night (Emmanuel)-Matt Maher
5. The Night Before Christmas-Brandon Heath
6. O Holy Night -Kerrie Roberts
7. Joy To The World -Casting Crowns
8. What Child Is This?- Building 429
9. Do You Hear What I Hear? -Anthem Lights
10. All Is Well- Michael W. Smith
11. It Came Upon The Midnight Clear-Jars Of Clay
12. O Little Town Of Bethlehem-Rebecca St. James   

See what I mean? Twelve tracks. I loved the hymns. Two songs are new (5 and 10). I rather enjoyed them. They would work well for soloist or choir. Brandon Heath and Michael W. Smith should be commended. One of the ten hymns has a creative new refrain (4) thanks to Matt Maher. I applaud their creativity.

And I like the creative balance struck by the compiler of the album. No, I wouldn't use the same instrumentation for our Christmas Eve service, but I like the balance of old to new, 10:2. If only most Christian worship services or Christian music albums followed the same pattern. 
"Why so much old stuff on Christmas?" I've never heard that criticism. I love being part of a church body and congregation that cherishes the old and uses it alongside the best of the new. It acknowledges the worth of the song of the saints of old. It's like Christmas (and Easter) every Sunday!

 
Are these songs intended to encourage Christians, entertain Christians, or lead Christians in worship? Depending upon their purpose, they may or may not do all or none of the above. I have high standards for worship music. It must be true. It must be Biblical. It must communicate well. It should be singable. And it should well wear over time so that saints can sing it for all time. 

I am sure that much of this kind of song will find its way into Christian sanctuaries, but only a few (mostly from the Christmas CD) will be heard at our congregation. 

Sometimes context is everything. Some music is more appropriate for the car CD player (or concert stage) than the sanctuary.
 
 
The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.

FW: Concordia On Demand: Have You Seen What We’ve Brought Back in Print Lately?

Just one of many books now available again…

 

Feed: Cyberbrethren Lutheran Blog Feed
Posted on: Thursday, October 28, 2010 12:41 PM
Author: Paul T. McCain
Subject: Concordia On Demand: Have You Seen What We've Brought Back in Print Lately?

 

We've got a boatload of "oldies but goodies" back in print again, thanks to the Concordia On Demand program. In fact, today, an often requested title is available once more: The Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal. If you are fortunate enough to find a used copy on the Internet, the going price is anywhere from $80 for a book in average condition, to over $200 for a copy in great condition. Well, now you can pick up a copy for $49.99. And there are a lot other titles available and back in print. You can see the whole collection of "Concordia On Demand" titles by going to this web site. What happens is that when you order a copy of a book in our "on demand" series, it is printed after you place your order and sent to you. We will continue to bring titles back in print, and if you have suggestions for us, please let me know.


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FW: New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Just read…

 

Feed: Weedon's Blog
Posted on: Thursday, October 28, 2010 1:25 PM
Author: wweedon@gmail.com (William Weedon)
Subject: New Lutheran Quote of the Day

 

We Lutherans are subject to a special temptation.  We have been so much assured that our standing with God is based entirely on God's free and undeserved love and not on any action of ours that the devil is right there to suggest:  "Well, if it not based on any action of yours, your actions don't matter.  You have a nice cushion to rest on there.  You have complete forgiveness in Christ.  So do as you please.  You are always forgiven."  There is no more hideous mockery of Christ and Calvary than that.  Christ died in our place so we may not be condemned and punished for our sins.  He takes all that for us so we may be forgiven and may know the living God as a God who graciously involves Himself with us and we with Him.  Are we, then, to make of this the basis for a life that contradicts that we are involved with Him?  -- Dr. Norman Nagel, Selected Sermons, p. 348.

http://feeds.feedburner.com/WeedonsBlog


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FW: So as not to be misunderstood

Indeed…

 

Feed: Pastor Strey's Weblog
Posted on: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 11:19 PM
Author: Johnold Strey
Subject: So as not to be misunderstood

 

I came across these words today from C.F.W. Walther during my devotional reading time today.  Walther's words are quite self-explanatory, and I'll let his words speak for themselves, but pastors and church musicians would do well to apply Walther's standard to preaching and to musical texts used in worship, lest we give an inadvertent pass on unbiblical theology that we never meant to condone in the first place.  We communicate in worship not only so that we are understood correctly; we must communicate so as not to be misunderstood.  Here is Walther in his own words:

[A] point [that pastors] should bear in mind when writing your sermons is not to say anything that might be misunderstood.  For instance, the following statement could be misunderstood: "Anyone sinning deliberately and knowingly will fall from grace."  For even true Christians occasionally sin with intent and knowledge, namely, when sin attacks them deep inside or externally.

Such sins are called hasty sins.  Some people are hot-tempered, even though they are otherwise kindhearted.  Something crosses their path, and they suddenly boil over with angry words.  This is when the Spirit of God rebukes them: "Look what a miserable creature you are!" and then they ask God's forgiveness.  To be fair, in any case, a Christian who sins intentionally most certainly grieves the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit does not want to take part in that activity.  This is why you must tell the people: "You are walking on dangerous ground.  The Holy Spirit will withdraw from you, and instead of making progress in your Christianity, you will be thrown back.  If you do not repent and remain genuinely penitent, this sin may be your ruin."

This statement, too, could be misunderstood: "Good works are not necessary.  Only faith is necessary."  Rather, it would be correct to say, "Good works are not necessary to obtain salvation."  But I cannot remain on the road to heaven if I am not doing any good works.  Besides, God has certainly commanded good works.  He wills us to do good works.

The following statement, too, could be misunderstood: "Sin does not harm a Christian."  True, a sin committed because of the weakness of the flesh does not immediately put you on God's blacklist.  Nevertheless, it does harm you.  "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," says Paul [Romans 8:1].  But he does not say, "There is nothing sinful in them."  In a nutshell, you cannot be too careful in your preaching.

-C.F.W. Walther, Law and Gospel: How to Read and Apply the Bible

page 62, emphasis in original



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FW: Grisham’s latest hero is a Lutheran pastor

Interesting…

 

Feed: Cranach: The Blog of Veith
Posted on: Thursday, October 28, 2010 4:01 AM
Author: Gene Veith
Subject: Grisham's latest hero is a Lutheran pastor

 

Lutheran pastors must be considered cool, at least in popular fiction.  There is the one in
Warrior Monk.  Now bestselling author John Grisham features one in his latest blockbust of legal suspense, The Confession.  From a review in the Washington Post:

The novel opens with a classic noir situation in which an ordinary Joe finds himself suddenly thrust by fate into a nightmare. In this case, our flummoxed hero is the Rev. Keith Schroeder, pastor of a Lutheran church in Topeka, Kan. Sitting in his church office one cold morning, Keith is paid a visit by a monster. Travis Boyette is a convicted felon, out on parole, whose rap sheet for sexual assault is as long as a fresh roll of yellow "crime scene" tape. Boyette tells Keith that he's dying from a malignant brain tumor and that he (maybe) wants to confess to the abduction, rape and murder of Nicole Yarber, a high school cheerleader from the small town of Slone, Tex., who disappeared almost 10 years ago.

After a couple of days of agonized dithering, Boyette shows Keith convincing proof of his guilt and the unlikely duo hatches a plan of action: If Keith drives Boyette to Slone — and, thus, becomes his accomplice in breaking parole — Boyette will confess to the authorities and take them to the spot where he buried Nicole's body. By the time the two men pile into Keith's clunker for the ultimate road trip from hell, speed is of the essence. In less than 24 hours, Donté Drumm, a former classmate of Nicole's, will be put to death for a murder he didn't commit.

via John Grisham's "The Confession," reviewed by Maureen Corrigan.

Buy the novel here.

If any of you have read it, please report.


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Hymnody Review: More Church Music for Guitar


George, Nathan Clark. Rise in the Darkness. Westpoint, TN: NCG, 2006. Audio CD. $10.95. http://www.nathanclarkgeorge.com/ (H)

Wilbur, Gregory, composer. John M. Duncan, Executive Producer. Recorded by Keith Compton. (Guitar and some vocals by Nathan Clark George.) My Cry Ascends: New Parish Psalms. Lake Mary, FL/Franklin, TN: Ligonier Ministries, 2010. Audio CD. $11.95. http://www.ligonier.org/  http://www.newparishpsalms.com/  http://www.nathanclarkgeorge.com/  (H)
 


I am a guitarist. It was my first musical instrument.

To say that the guitar has not always been "at home" in the Church is an understatement.

I have appreciated the musicianship of Nathan Clark George. He helps show a godly way forward in the use of acoustic guitar.

This first album highlights NCG (see the self-titled record label above) as a songwriter. Let me rephrase that: this recording shows George's skill as an interpreter of Scripture and of composing melodies and arrangements that fit the text.
Writing from the Scriptures poses some pitfalls. How are the passages to be represented? How should they sound? What response should the music and lyrics elicit? I have found that even the phrasing and musical ebbs and flows have bearing on interpretation, and so I try to be careful. Sometimes I am slow in writing and composing, but at other times I have a deadline and the song needs to be written. In some ways I prefer this because I am forced to move quickly through the process of editing, adding, subtracting, tossing, and settling. Art is a little inspiration, but a lot of work. God doesn't "give" me songs. I search, wonder, fight and grab for them. Even if one is started and done in 30 minutes-it's never right. I'm never satisfied-they never seem to grasp the majesty and mystery that surrounds my Lord.  (liner notes)
As a composer, I appreciate this humble perspective. And I also share what he says next:
I'm seldom nervous before a concert. I'm almost always nervous before I am to sing in worship-no matter how small or large the congregation. I am often singing a Psalm in worship...
Touching and handling the Word of God is and should be a fearful thing. Yet, we preachers and musicians need the same comfort of the Gospel that we sing and preach!


The Church as a whole needs to reclaim the singing of psalms in a variety of ways. George adds to that variety with gentle, yet strong support for psalm, canticle, and Scripture texts.
 
Nettleton was my favorite arrangement here because I so strongly gravitate toward hymnody. I would use the Psalm 130, Psalm 127, and Psalm 121 settings right away. The other scripture songs could work as preludes, postludes, introits, graduals, or offertories on an appropriate Sunday.

I love the acoustic sound that dominates his recordings and would encourage him to continue playing and continuing in that vein. It sounds natural and authentic to him.
 
There is a difference between "guitar music for Church" and "Church music for guitar." Thankfully, these recordings reflect the latter concept.
 
 

The songs of Gregory Wilbur, Chief Musician and liturgist at Parish Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Franklin, Tennessee are featured on My Cry Ascends.

Nathan Clark George joins Michael Card, Steve Green, Katy Snow, Wes King, and Bruce Carroll as guest musicians. George is featured as lead vocal on the very first track, "Not Unto Jehovah,"  "Come Ye Disconsolate," "How Blest the Man," "From Depths of Woe," and sharing with Katy Snow on "Blest Is the Man."

My critiques are minor. I would prefer that the term "Jehovah" were not used due to how it misunderstands the Hebrew YHWH with the vowel pointing for Adonai. I would suggest "the LORD God" to have the same number of syllables, or more the more accurate "the LORD." Beyond that, the archaic terms or spelling are true to the intent of the original authors.

Of particular note are "Mighty Kingdom" with a strong, manly use of drums, "Alas and Did My Savior Bleed" with a new tune, "How Blest the Man" with an adapted Southern Harmony tune, "Lord Jesus Think on Me" with its traditional tune, and "From Depths of Woe," a Luther text wed to a new very singable Wilbur tune.

Congregation words and music are available at an affordable price for download from www.newparishpsalms.com. Consider them as worthy resources to expand your congregation's singing of psalms!



The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.

FW: Fostering a Sense of Reverence...

A common and necessary concern…

 

Feed: Pastoral Meanderings
Posted on: Thursday, October 28, 2010 7:11 AM
Author: noreply@blogger.com (Pastor Peters)
Subject: Fostering a Sense of Reverence...

 

I was walking through the nave the other day following Compline and noticed something bright and shiny under one of the pews.  When I reached down to pick it up, I saw it was a Pepsi can.  It is not the first time I have retrieved coffee cups, bottles of water, cans of soda, or candy wrappers from under the pews.  Sadly, it will not be the last.

A few weeks ago, for the hundredth time, I listened as a member of the parish complained about how noisy it was in the nave during the preparation time just before the service begins.  This pious person just wanted some quiet time to pray and was "bothered" by laughter and loud conversations sent across the rows of pews by those "fellowshipping" with one another.  I nodded my head.  It was not that this person thought I could do something about this casual attitude toward God's House, but simply that we could nod our heads together and wish that there was a little room for the sacred, for silence, and for reverence among the people gathered for worship.

Some weeks I cringe at the flip flops (quiet but too informal) or the high heels (formal but definitely not quiet) worn by the acolytes.  I have long since gotten over the garish colors of the sneakers and have breathed a sigh of relief that the style of untied shoelaces shoved into the shoe has passed.  Worn down by parents complaining that is all their children have to wear and by the years of exposure to these "shoes" I find myself relieved when they are all white or mostly black.

On the other hand, I have acolytes who bow every time they pass in front of the altar and a few who genuflect (I did not teach them).  It is not like you can paint with a broad brush but look at different perspectives from within the same community of faithful gathered around the Word and Table of the Lord.  Some of the more reverent ones come from families that have no long history in the church and others come from those families where the church building is as familiar to them as their own home.  Go figure.

So how do you foster a sense of reverence, whereby the gifts of God become common to your life without being commonplace? How do you foster a sense of the sacred that is not some, stiff, imposed formality but the honest awe of a people who know they stand on the holy ground of God's presence?  How do you instill in your people a sense of wonder at the mystery of God who makes Himself known to us in the Word and in the Breaking of the Bread each Lord's Day while at the same time encouraging them to see this mystery as one that beckons and bids them instead of causing them to run in fear?  How do you build a community in which this wonderful sense of reverence and mystery are present even while the high mobility of the people in the pews means that this is an ever changing assembly?

We have a congregation of people somewhat divided (those who have been Lutheran the longest and members of this parish the longest tend to attend the early Divine Service while those newer to Lutheranism and newer to Grace Lutheran Church tend toward the late Divine Service).  With a high number of military families, we have people from all over the world who, on average, are here for between 2-5 years, may have a family member deployed for a year or more during that time, and who view home as a place different than where they reside.  We have a great disparity along the educational and economic spectrum (with university faculty, blue color workers, business folks, military, and retired).  We have a big mix of ages with, perhaps, more children and young marrieds than the average Lutheran parish but these folks also tend to be in church less frequently than the older age folks without children at home.  I know this impacts the sense of reverence and contributes to the mix of piety and experience of the folks in the pews.

I know it is an ongoing struggle, with no magic bullets, that is taught and exemplified Sunday after Sunday in the liturgy and attitude of those leading worship as well as communicated through the preaching and teaching of a parish.  It is just that sometimes I wish I had a better handle on accomplishing this goal more effectively and efficiently... sometimes it seems for every step forward, we take one behind.

I was happy to read from Fr Wil Weedon that he has found that in his parish the increase in membership does not result in a proportionate increase in attendance.  That certainly is the case here.  Yet knowing this is a more common problem does not necessarily make me feel better about it.  Perhaps I am forever colored by the experience I had growing up and the faith and values planted within me by my parents.  It makes it hard for me to understand such casual attitudes about attending the Divine Service and such a casual informality being within the Divine Service that it grates against the sense of reverence, mystery, and awe inherent to what we believe, teach, confess, and practice...

Ahhhh.... if only my mailbox were as full of programs promising to fix this problem... the way my mailbox is filled with offers to help me use PowerPoint better, welcome visitors so that they return, manage volunteers, keep up with the latest in contemporary church music, and stay ahead of the technology curve in the church... Well, there you have it... but I would welcome any hints or suggestions from the peanut gallery.


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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

FW: Salvation Unto Us Has Come

More Reformation preparation…

 

Feed: Musical Catechesis
Posted on: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 3:52 PM
Author: timshew
Subject: Salvation Unto Us Has Come

 

The true knowledge of the distinction between Law and Gospel is not only a glorious light, affording the correct understanding of the entire Holy Scriptures, but without this knowledge Scripture is and remains a sealed book. – CFW Walther

28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. – Romans 3:28

The hymn "Salvation Unto Us Has Come" was written by Paul Speratus, who lived from 1484 to 1551. He assisted Martin Luther in compiling Etlich Christlich lider, a collection of early Lutheran chorales in polyphonic style for choir. Salvation Unto Us Has Come was included in that collection and has endured to this day because it is possibly the best Lutheran hymn ever written. It preaches Law and Gospel so clearly that it gives us the fullness of the Gospel story and gives us a framework from which we can understand all of Scripture. The tune is from the same collection and is also a favorite of mine. The tune is fun to sing without being excessively difficult.

Paul Speratus was born in what is now Germany in 1484 and became a preacher in 1518. He believed Luther's teachings to be in accordance with what Scriptures teach and he was persecuted for his faithfulness to the pure Gospel. He was fired from his early preaching posts for expressing his views too openly. He was also one of the first priests to get married during the reformation period. He received his Doctor of Divinity degree from the University of Vienna, but was later condemned by the Vienna faculty for defending marriage and the doctrine of justification by grace through faith. His preaching, however, became very popular with the people and he was thrown in prison for it in 1523, where he stayed for three months. It was while he was in prison that he wrote this hymn, based on Romans 3:28 (see above).

I don't have any other comments to make about this hymn because it leaves very little unsaid. Our current hymnal includes 10 of the original 14 stanzas and we will be singing all 10 on Sunday, with some sung by the choir and one played by the organ.  I wish that all Christian churches in all places could sing this wonderful hymn on Reformation Sunday and throughout the year.

 

Salvation unto us has come

By God's free grace and favor;

Good works cannot avert our doom,

They help and fail us never.

Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone,

Who did for all the world atone;

He is our one Redeemer.

 

What God did in His law demand

And none to Him could render

Caused wrath and woe on every hand

For man, the vile offender.

Our flesh has not those pure desires

The spirit of the law requires,

And lost is our condition.

 

It was a false, misleading dream

That God His Law had given

That sinners could themselves redeem

And by their works gain heaven.

The Law is but a mirror bright

To bring the inbred sin to light

That lurks within our nature.

 

From sin our flesh could not abstain,

Sin held its way unceasing;

The task was useless and in vain,

Our guilt was e'er increasing.

None can remove sin's poisoned dart

Or purify our guileful heart

So deep is our corruption.

 

Yet as the law must be fulfilled

Or we must die despairing,

Christ came and has God's anger stilled.

Our human nature sharing.

He has for us the law obeyed

And thus the Father's vengeance stayed

Which over us impended.

 

Since Christ has full atonement made

And brought to us salvation,

Each Christian therefore may be glad

And build on this foundation.

Your grace alone, dear Lord, I plead,

Your death is now my life indeed,

For You have paid my ransom.

 

Let me not doubt, but truly see

Your Word cannot be broken;

Your call rings out, "Come unto Me!"

No falsehood have You spoken.

Baptized into Your precious name,

My faith cannot be put to shame,

And I shall never perish.

 

The Law reveals the guilt of sin

And makes us conscience- stricken;

But then the Gospel enters in

The sinful soul to quicken.

Come to the cross, trust Christ, and live;

The Law no peace can ever give,

No comfort and no blessing.

 

Faith clings to Jesus' cross alone

And rests in Him unceasing;

And by its fruits true faith is known,

With love and hope increasing.

For faith alone can justify;

Works serve our neighbor and supply

The proof that faith is living.

 

All blessing, honor, thanks, and praise

To Father, Son, and Spirit,

The God who saved us by His grace;

All glory to His merit.

O triune God in heav'n above,

You have released Your saving love;

Your blessed name we hallow.

 

 



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LHP Review: Our Next Step in Latin


Wilson, Martha. Latin Primer Book II Teacher's Edition (Second Edition). Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 1993. 171 Pages. Spiral. $17.00. http://www.canonpress.com/ (LHP).
Wilson, Martha. Edited by Laura Storm. Latin Primer Book 2. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2010. 223 Pages. Paper. $22.00. http://www.canonpress.com/ (LHP)

Wilson, Martha. Edited by Laura Storm. Latin Primer Book 2 Teacher's Edition. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2010. 407 Pages. Paper. $28.00. http://www.canonpress.com/ (LHP)


Why Latin? The publishing house behind the new 2010 third edition of Latin Primer Book 2 have some great answers:

Over half of the English language is derived from Latin.

aquarium—aqua, water
fable—fabula, story
clamor—clamo, I shout
dolphin—delphinus, dolphin
narrator—narro, I tell


These and thousands of other words we use every day keep this "dead" language—a language of kings and poets, of scrolls and secrets—alive. And this means that when we study Latin, we're not just learning about Rome— we're learning about ourselves. Rediscover this time-honored language, which led classical education pioneer Dorothy Sayers to declare that "Latin should be begun as early as possible ... when the chanting of "Amo, amas, amat" is as ritually agreeable to the feelings as the chanting of "eeny, meeny, miney, moe."


In Latin Primer 2, Martha Wilson strengthens elementary school students (grades 4 and up) in the basics they discovered in Latin Primer 1, and leads them steadily into new territory. Revised and expanded, this text spotlights the fundamentals of classical Latin: vocabulary for everyday experiences like names of animals; verb and noun endings; adjective and adverb use; questions and commands; and other early grammar essentials.
(indented quotes here and later from publisher's website)
Our classical Lutheran school teaches Latin. And we used the previous edition of book 1 in this series. And then we went looking for something else. That edition of Latin Primer 1 had already replaced the school's original curriculum. We were looking for something that handled prepositions better and added a stronger syntax focus to the strong vocabulary base.

As any language student can tell you, mastering vocabulary cards can lead to overconfidence and failure if sentence structure and preposition forms are not included.

What did we do? We retooled our program and used Matin Latin I and II. Why? We believe it gave our newer students a better, more age-appropriate foundation. Besides, we were waiting for the revised edition of Latin Primer 1. And we have been very pleased!


I know that this revision of LP2 is a revision, but it feels and teaches like a completely new text. The Teacher's Edition has more than doubled in size. It has quadrupled in its helpfulness to the teacher!


We loved the font, organization, and page design changes. We think our students will respond favorably to the interesting art, too.

Those of you familiar with the older editions of Latin Primer 2 are probably wondering what’s different about this new edition. If you used the new Latin Primer 1 last year, you probably have a good idea what all the excitement is about!


To begin, the content and teaching approach of this fourth edition is fundamentally the same as before. We have added more exercises, moved some of the vocabulary around, etc., but these new editions won’t force teachers or parents to struggle through a long period of adjustment. If anything, this new edition will be much, much easier to use.


Why is that? Well, actually, there are several reasons.


First, the Primer 2 now features weekly Word Lists. Just like in Primer 1, students will receive a new Word List every week, rather than once every few weeks. This transition from Primer 1 to Primer 2 has never been more simple or familiar.


Second, we have completely redesigned the layout. While older editions were arranged by category—a word list section, exercise section, and test section—the new edition has been arranged in a simple lesson-by-lesson format. For example, all of Lesson 1’s components are grouped together, back-to-back. When you finish one lesson, you’re on to the next. No more flipping back and forth between sections—everything you need for each lesson is right at your fingertips, whether you’re the teacher or the student!


Third, we’ve added new exercises to every lesson, giving students greater opportunity to practice and review their Latin skills, as well as providing teachers with more material to gauge their students’ level of understanding.


Fourth, the teacher’s edition has been significantly expanded. Mirroring the student book, it includes not only the answers, but also weekly quizzes and new weekly teacher’s lesson notes. The lesson notes have been redesigned to explain the standard flow of every lesson and offer tips on preparation and focus for everything from weekly derivatives to unit goals. Whether you’re a homeschooling parent or a classical school teacher, these convenient notes will save time, provide a clear direction for the course, and better help your students grasp the language.


And last, but not least: you’ve heard that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but who doesn’t like to use a good-looking book? Latin Primer 2 will debut in its new perfect bound form with perforated exercise pages for easy grading. And don’t miss out on taking a look at the new, kid-friendly cover.


These new editions will be especially helpful for those brand-new to Latin. Our goal is for parents and teachers who have no Latin background to still be able to walk their students through these texts with ease. (And maybe even learn a thing or two themselves!)

Perhaps having to learn a subject I was not formally taught is the most humbling part. Yes, it will be somewhat strange to see the first generations of graduates from the new classical schools return as teachers. And I can't wait!

Until then, we have our work cut out for us. Resources like this are a great tool. Classical Education is heavily dependent upon an informed, winsome, and interesting educator. We intend to give our teachers a nine-month head start on our young scholars.

We will soon place our order for classroom copies of this new edition of Latin Primer 2. We hope you will, too! Don't forget the downloadable extras, flashcards, and the yet-to-be-released audio guide.  

QBR eagerly awaits Latin Primer 3 and beyond! And, we're curious about future revisions for the Canon Press Latin Grammar series.


The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.


Resources Received


Parry, Robin. Worshipping Trinity: Coming Back to the Heart of Worship. Milton Keynes, UK: Paternoster, 2005. 202 Pages. Paper. $12.99. www.authenticmedia.co.uk  http://www.authenticmedia.blogspot.com/  www.gettymusic.com  (LHP)

Peperkorn, Todd A. I Trust When Dark My Road: A Lutheran View of Depression. St. Louis: LCMS World Relief and Human Care, 2009. 102 Pages. Paper. (Free pdf download.Paper copy free for the cost of shipping.) www.lcms.org/worldrelief (LHP)

Peperkorn, Todd A. I Trust When Dark My Road: A Lutheran View of Depression. Roanoke, IL: Lutheran Catechetical Society, 2010. Video DVD. ($20.00 + $5.00 shipping)  www.thelcs.org (LHP)

The Book of Psalms for Worship. Pittsburgh: Crown & Covenant Publications, 2010. 590 Pages. Cloth. $19.00. www.crownandcovenant.com (H)

Abundance: Selections from The Book of Psalms for Worship. Pittsburgh: Crown & Covenant Publications, 2009. Audio CD. $15.00. www.crownandcovenant.com (H)