Thursday, October 17, 2013

FW: A good read. . . the why of Lutheran church music. . .


We like this title, too (see below), and are honored Pr. Peters borrowed our logo, edit of Luther's Ein Feste Burg from LW 53 to promote it…


Feed: Pastoral Meanderings
Posted on: Tuesday, October 08, 2013 5:00 AM
Author: (Pastor Peters)
Subject: A good read. . . the why of Lutheran church music. . .


When I grew up (1950s and 1960s), few Lutherans actually thought about what worship was or is.  We were fairly united in very slightly different forms of the Common Service and the synodical affiliation of a Lutheran parish was hardly evident from the words of the liturgy on Sunday morning.  A foray into the hymnody might give a clearer hint to the ethnic origins of a particular congregation and help answer the question of which Synod but even then it was less about text than music.  Music was the distinguishing feature and that difference lie in the great divide between Scandinavian and German Lutherans -- not musical preference.  It was an era of remarkable liturgical uniformity among the various stripes of Lutherans in America.

A hint of the future that was to come was given when the Service Book and Hymnal was published in 1958.  Rubrical options about the use of a Eucharistic prayer as an alternative to the Lutheran practice of the naked Verba ushered in the idea of variation upon the Lutheran liturgical landscape as well as hymns.  A half dozen years later and there was a movement to bring the hymn section of the worship book into more uniformity by providing one hymnal for all Lutherans.  The invitation to develop a common hymnal issued from the unlike source of the Missouri Synod -- not so much the rank and file in the pews who were content with their "new hymnal" only a generation old but from leaders who had a larger vision of unity.

I wonder if those Lutherans missed the forest for the trees!  They failed to see the future and missed the remarkable liturgical convergence already existing as well as a future which would be determined more by the ability of the local parish to produce its own materials than by any common book.  This preparation of a new, common hymnal occurred while the photocopier was being developed.  Who could have foreseen the ability to produce locally both inexpensive and relatively high quality worship materials?  This would have more to do with advent of Lutheran liturgical and musical diversity than anything else.

The dawn of the boomer generation brought an interest in church music which was at once both personal and contemporary.  It would not take long before these folks would raise their voices in favor of church music that sounded like the music they listened to on the radio -- a sound far different than any hymnal had offered the church before.  So worship wars began with the idea of choice, fed and nourished by an emerging technology, and shaped by a standard of personal preference.

Thus a new theology of worship was born in which an appeal to culture came both from those who wanted to hear in church what they listened to on the radio and from those who began to wonder if the church music inherited from the past was an impediment to reaching out to the stranger on the street corner.  Now some forty years later, Lutherans no longer look or act or sing alike on Sunday morning and the diversity is growing, now declining.  In fact, some have said that there is no uniformly recognizable Lutheran identity to what happens on Sunday morning -- at least not any more.

Now Lutherans in the 1950s may not have been able to define Lutheran worship, but they new it when they saw it.  Now we are no closer to defining worship and less sure what it looks like or sounds like.  As a Pastor in a congregation where the full liturgical is celebrated with ceremonial consistent with the full liturgical and and musical heritage of Lutheranism, I often hear the complaint from others that this worship is too "catholic" and the complaint from members who move that the Lutheran churches they visit "don't know how to worship like Lutherans."

It is no wonder then that The Purpose and Practice of Lutheran Church Music would be a fruitful and relevant topic for discussion.  Daniel Zager has done us a great service in providing a great resource in the latest volume to appear from The Good Shepherd Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  (I might add that if you are unaware of the wonderful volumes that preceded this one, you need to get on line and order this one and the others from the Seminary Bookstore there!)

Zager's premise is that the definition of worship has too often overlooked the subject of music.  Lost in a sea of misinformation, pious myth, and disregard, the music of worship is unfairly labeled a matter mere "style" and its substance undervalued by both sides in the worship wars.  Quoting Scripture and Luther and the Lutheran fathers, Zager insists that it is not and never has been which music people like, which music works, or which music appeals, but which music faithfully speaks God's Word and serves the purpose of the Gospel.

The criteria for choosing the music of the Divine Service must be the same as that used for the liturgy itself -- not what is possible but what is best -- what stands with the text and proclaims God's Word faithfully (and connects to the lectionary).  Daniel Zager in The Gospel Preached Through Music: The Purpose and Practice of Lutheran Church Music, reminds us that the music of the liturgy and the hymns count not because we like them but because they proclaim the Gospel to us.

The new song of the Psalms does mean new in time or new in the sense of the moment but new in the sense of what God has done in Christ -- the new work long promised and fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  Zager shows us how this specifically relates to the penchant for that which is new over that which has stood the test of time.  He speaks of the careful practice of Lutheran history, contrasting that which is an often careless practice of modern day Pastors and parish musicians in choosing the music for the Divine Service, with the careful practice of our Lutheran fathers.

The purpose of Lutheran Church music is neither to reflect the preferences of the people in the pews nor to attract those outside the Church.  Theirs is a higher purpose and a higher calling.  The purpose of Lutheran Church music is to proclaim the Word of God and this is what priases God most faithfully.  The conservative character of Lutheran historical practice is chronicled through Zager's small but profound gook.  He effectively shows the understanding and value assigned to church music in our Lutheran past.  Perhaps most telling is the quote from a mature Martin Luther (1539) "It would be good to keep the whole liturgy with its music [as it was received from the Church before the Reformation] omitting only the canon."

Zager also explodes the oft told myth of Luther's borrowing from the pop music of his day -- something invoked by those who would borrow from pop culture today and use Luther to justify it.  He also challenges the now sacred notion that the use of popular music in worship aids the proclamation of the Gospel.  Instead, Zager argues convincingly that it does just the opposite -- it detracts from the proclamation of the Gospel and clouds the understanding of the Gospel among those unchurched.

The tight connection between theology and music so clearly enunciated in Luther is passionately underscored with documentation on how Lutherans hove chosen, understood, and written music for the Church.

In his conclusion, Zager asks "what music shall we sing and play in Lutheran worship?"  At best we must do more than simply shrug our shoulders and refer the question of which music to "adiaphora" (which has come to mean more unimportant rather than things about which Scripture has not spoken definitively) or to simply leave it up to personal choice (with the accompanying question of WHOSE personal choice should determine what music is used).  What Zager reminds us is that the choice of music is a theological choice and decision.  The choices we make must respect the central purpose of Lutheran Church music:  God has preached the Gospel through music too!

I heartily recommend this volume which was issued under label of the Good Shepherd Institute of Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, IN, and is available through the Seminary Bookstore. 

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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Received for Review




Getty, Keith and Kristyn. Live at the Gospel Coalition: Modern and Traditional Hymns. Nashville: Gettymusic, 2013. Audio CD. $13.99. (H)


Ham, Ken, General Editor. The New Answers Book 4: Over 30 Questions on Creation/Evolution and the Bible. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2013. 410 Pages. Paper. $14.99. (LHP)


Ham, Ken, and Bodie Hodge. The Answers Book for Kids 5: 20 Questions from Kids on Space and Astronomy. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2013. 48 Pages. Cloth. $7.99. (LHP)


Ham, Ken, and Bodie Hodge. The Answers Book for Kids 6: 22 Questions from Kids on Babel and the Ice Age. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2013. 48 Pages. Cloth. $7.99. (LHP)


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Thursday, October 3, 2013

FW: Visitation — A good thing for a Synod united, a hard thing for a Synod divided.




Feed: Steadfast Lutherans
Posted on: Thursday, October 03, 2013 11:15 AM
Author: Pastor Joshua Scheer
Subject: Visitation — A good thing for a Synod united, a hard thing for a Synod divided.


Recently there has been much renewed discussion of the historic practice of visitation.  This practice involves District Presidents, District Vice-Presidents or Circuit Visitors (counselors) visiting congregations to ascertain how they are doing in terms of teaching and practice.  Recently I received word that my own congregation will be visited sometime in the coming year.  The Wyoming District has had a triennial visit program in use for a long time, and it has generally yielded very positive results.  For instance, I noted that at our last District Convention a number of unanimous votes on particularly hot topic issues (returning to AC XIV in congregational practices for example).

So here is how my congregation's visit will go:  The Circuit Visitor (vote yes to the LCMS Constitutional change to restore the use of the good title!) will begin his visit by meeting with my family and I on Saturday night.  This visit is to help see how we are doing.  It is meant to be about the worker and his family's health.

Following this, Sunday morning will mean the Visitor attending services and seeing with his own eyes and hearing with his own ears what is going on in the parish.  The goal, to make sure that the  people are being cared for and that we are actually abiding by our voluntary pledge to be a part of the LCMS and practice accordingly (aberrations to these practices drawn from Scripture and Confessions do not care for people as Lutherans do).  The Visitor will also attend Bible Studies and have time to talk with the congregation to bring greetings from the District and also answer questions.  There is a good amount of give/take expected for this.  The Visitor also meets with the pastor to discuss what is being done for Catechesis and other programs of the congregation.  He will also give comment on the sermon which he heard.  He will write this into a report to be given the congregation and the pastor.  This is all meant to be constructive in nature, to help the pastor serve the congregation better and encourage the congregation to care for their pastor and the faith that has been handed down to them.

That is how it goes in a District united.  I have also had the privilege of serving in a District that was not so united.  In that case, I am not so sure about how visitations will go.  I still commend the practice of visitation, but I wonder what will be the feedback when the one visiting is devoted to non-Lutheran teachings and practices (or how it will go with a faithful visitor and a parish/pastor of different variety).  I suppose a level of patience and teaching will have to go with the first rounds of visits.  Like it or not, we are a Synod divided (how is that for paradox), and this division will hurt the visitation process.

There are some guys who have expressed worry about a possible inquisition type of visitation.  I wonder where the underlying issues of conscience lie in such comments.  On the one hand, I understand being visited by someone who is of a different "party spirit" in the LCMS.  That could be nerve racking.  On the other hand, if you are doing something in your parish, especially publicly, you should not be ashamed to share your practice of it with others.  If there is any sense of keeping it hidden, then perhaps your practice is not in line with what is faithful Gospel ministry and should be curtailed and stopped.  If you need such help, maybe your visitor can help with that.

We are a Synod divided which must start coming back together.  The process of Visitation can help do that.  I am happy to see the renewed focus and thankful for President Harrison's efforts to renew it.  I am thankful for my own District's ongoing practice and how this has been "exported" to the Synod at large.  Hopefully it can be done in such a way as to foster faithfulness to God's Word and encouragement to be Lutherans.  In the end, it is a hard thing for a Synod divided, but hard things are often the things worth doing.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

FW: WWLD -- What Would Luther Do?




Feed: Pastoral Meanderings
Posted on: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 5:00 AM
Author: (Pastor Peters)
Subject: WWLD -- What Would Luther Do?



by Daniel Reuning
from his Lutheran Worship Prospectus Appendix

If it were possible for us to bridge the gaps of time and space and to join the congregation in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Wittenberg, Luther's beloved Stadtkirche, during a celebration of the Holy Communion in which the Reformer himself was officiating, we should find much that would appear strange to our unaccustomed eyes. The Order of Service would be familiar enough to those that are acquainted with the Form for the Celebration of Holy Communion as it appears in our Hymnbook, for the Order which Luther created for the parish church of his city varies only inconsiderably from the Common Service that our Church has.

But the strangest thing of all would be the dress of the officiating clergy. The dark, drab, gloomy black gown would be replaced by vestments of snowy white or striking color. If we had been present in the sacristy of the church before The Service we should have seen Luther, dressed in a black Cassock, put on first a large square of white linen called the Amice, and bind it in place as a sort of collar; next he would have donned a full white robe, known as the Alb (that is, the "white" garment), the folds of which he would have held in place with a long linen Cincture. Upon his left arm, just above the wrist, he would have hung a narrow band called the Maniple, in the proper color of the day, and about his neck he would have laid the Stole, a long band about as wide as the Maniple, likewise in the color of the day, then crossed it on his breast and fixed its ends in place with the tips of the Cincture. Lastly, he would have put on the beautiful and enveloping Chasuble of white or colored silk, and then he would have gone into the sanctuary to begin The Service. These details we have taken from his own statements as to the customary way in which he celebrated the Holy Communion in Church, and from other contemporary descriptions.

And so with minor variations The Service was conducted in the Lutheran Church of Germany for two hundred and in some cases more years. A Church Order for Kassel prescribes the same sort of vestments as late as 1853! In Sweden, where the Reformation was carried out most fully in harmony with the intention and desire of the Reformer, they are still in use, and the clergy of Denmark and Norway have retained most of them. There were exceptions, of course; prison chaplains, for instance, were, as a general thing, forbidden to wear anything more than a black Talar with white bands, nor were they allowed to have candles lit upon the Altar.

Unfortunately for the beauty of The Service, however, the eighteenth century saw a widespread abolition of all these devotional and edifying ceremonies. Protest-minded princes, intent on enforcing the practices of the Calvinistic and Zwinglian Reformed Churches upon the Lutheran Church of Germany, ruthlessly reduced the ceremonial level to a point even below that of the prison chapels. The Order of Service was mutilated, the privilege of singing the service was abrogated, the Altar was deserted for a little table set below the Pulpit, and the Blessed Sacrament restricted to three, four, at most a dozen, days in the year. And so things remained.

But recently a change for the better has appeared. In the Missouri Synod, particularly, growing numbers of the clergy and the laity have realized that if we return, as we have done, to the sixteenth century for our standards of doctrine, it is inconsistent not to do the same for standards of practice and ceremonial. And so, throughout our Synod, one parish after another is reintroducing some feature that the Church had ignobly forgotten. Some have restored the ancient choir vestments, black Cassocks and white Cottas; choirs are singing the historic music of the Church, Gregorian Plainsong.

In the matter of vestments the consensus is that the first step is the reintroduction of the Surplice (a somewhat abbreviated Alb) and the Stole, as symbols respectively of the white robe of righteousness and the yoke of Christ, worn over the conventional black Cassock. Thus also two of the essential aesthetic values of the vestments are restored, the appealing white with its wealth of symbolic significance, and the element of colorful variation in the sequence of colors prescribed for the Stole by the course of the Church Year. The superiority of this combination for comfort and for reduced cost is also an element worthy of consideration. It is an interesting, but generally unknown, fact that there were still parishes in Thuringia and even liturgically-impoverished Württemberg, as well as in Saxony, Brunswick, Nuremberg, and Brandenburg, where this mode of vesting had been retained from the days of the Reformation, and a number of the immigrant parishes in Texas affiliated with the Missouri Synod had brought it with them from Germany. Today it is a significant commentary upon the appeal of these vestments that there is not a single instance on record where they have been abolished after being restored.

HT to Christopher Gillespie at Outer Rim Territories

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FW: The End of All Learning




Feed: Fine Tuning
Posted on: Monday, September 30, 2013 8:56 PM
Author: Phillip Magness
Subject: The End of All Learning


There is a quote running around ascribed to either Plato or Socrates claiming one of them said, "Books will be the end of all learning," or "Reading will be the end of all learning."  It usually gets a chuckle, as it makes the point that we tend to remember less of what we have written down.  The context today is usually a reference to the internet and our various "memory saving" devices.  Supposedly they are making us dumber.  I'm not sure if our memories really are worse today, or if it is just aging folks like me blaming the internet rather than accepting the decay of the flesh.  What I do know is that I couldn't find a source for the quote.

But the comparitive merits of rote learning and literacy is an interesting topic, and FINE TUNING here brings it up because it relates to topics extremely relevant to church music:  learning by ear, learning through a score, interpreting a score, folk music, and playing by heart.  

Many of us learn very little music by ear, and yet this is how most parishioners do learn music.  Sure, the hymnal is a great aid to them - if it is used.  But take time to discover how many of your choir members just look at the words on the music you pass out and ignore the score and you'll get a better estimation of how the congregation uses the hymnal, especially in this age where the current and previous generations received much less choral training in school.   And yet even as they don't learn as well as they could or they should, they do learn.  And perhaps sometimes in the process they listen more to the music than some organists listen to themselves! 

Which leads to learning through a score.  I think it is great, but it readily because a substitute for LISTENING, and herein lies the problem alluded to above.  So many church musicians are glued to the score.  I've even seen proud posts on YouTube of intellectual church musicians posting what they think is great music - but the great music is left on the score and what goes out into the pews or across the net is just not something the listener will want to embrace.   And so people get the idea that they don't like sacred music....or classical music....or traditional church music......or organ music, because they haven't heard performances worth listening to.   In other words, the musician is just broadcasting the symbols on the page, but not interpreting the score so that the music is inspiring, convincing, beautiful.  

This is why the folk/pop musicians in the church often attract more followers in the parish than the trained musicians.   The music may be simple, but it is well-played.  There is lyric expression, harmonic logic, textural clarity, and rhythmic vitality: the hallmarks of good music in any genre.   It is unfortunate that many "learn by ear" musicians today - even some very talented ones - are wedded to a very narrow range of music and are so focused on making what they do sound just like the recordings they hear.  For in this way they too lose the muse, becoming as focused on sound imitation as some traditional musicians are focused on playing notes that they are not longer true folk musicians but just "play by ear" musicians.   A true folk musician does play be ear, but also INTERPRETS and makes the songs he hears his own.   Yes, the "play it like the record" crowd often plays well, nailing the tune and the chords and the rhythms such as I outlined above, but it isn't authentically theirs.   They may successfully recreate approximations of performances that have inspired them which have also inspired people who listen to this music on the radio and so go to contemporary worship services, but it fails to connect with the assembly just as much as the automaton organist who hits all the right notes. 

The answer for all musicians, whether a score is used or not, is to play by heart.  I think this means more than memorization, though knowing something "by heart" certainly suggests a good amount of memory is involved in the process.   This means that the classically-trained musician listens to what he is playing so that he is able to interpret the score so that it is a means toward enacting music in a given space, for a given assembly, at a given time in a way that connects with the hearers.  In the same way, the musician who learns by ear has to move from replicating an inspiring performance he wishes to copy to interpreting that music in a way that sounds best on the instrument being used, in the room in which it will be played, and with the other musicians who will join in playing the music - again for the purposes of connecting with the hearers.   This process of interpretation is only possible when the musician listens to himself, for it is the process by which a performer truly owns the music.

This is the key to inspiring the congregation, no matter what music you are playing. As Vladimir Feltsman so aptly stated, "You cannot give something away you don't have."  

The "end" of all learning can have a better meaning: the purpose of what we do.  The end of our learning as church musicians is to inspire people with music that magnifies God's Word, that evokes the Gospel, and summons the song the Lord has placed in their hearts (Ps. 40:3a).   Listening is the key.  May we move beyond the score and beyond the recording, and use our musicianship to make authentic music for and with our congregations, for the sake of the world God so loved.  

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FW: When Was Jesus Really Born?


Coming soon…


Feed: Concordia Academic
Posted on: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 1:18 PM
Author: Laura Lane
Subject: When Was Jesus Really Born?



 "A truly comprehensive reading of all of the calendars, time lines, church chronologies, and other materials that provide the evidence for dating the birth of our Lord."

—Charles J. Scalise, Professor of Church History, Fuller Theological Seminary

 The most important events in human history—the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ—are celebrated by Christians every year. But are we celebrating at the appropriate times? Have we lost the true understanding of these events?

Dr. Steven L. Ware's new book When Was Jesus Really Born? offers an in-depth look into these events and how the early Christians observed special dates in the Church. In the following interview, Dr. Ware discusses the dates of Christmas and Easter and explains how the Church actually supports scientific timekeeping.

Some people today claim that December 25 is an arbitrary date, not actually when Jesus was born. How does your book help address this claim?

We may never have incontrovertible evidence for a particular date for Jesus' birth, and it is certainly possible that December 25 is not the correct date. But December 25 is anything but an arbitrary choice of date, as we see it cited in very early Christian literature. And it was chosen as the date for celebrating Jesus' birth not because of the date itself, but because it was nine months after an equally important date—the Annunciation of Our Lord.

The date of Easter changes every year. How does your book explain this?

Two entire chapters of this book are dedicated to the fascinating story of the development of the Paschal, or Easter cycle, its connection to Passover, and the varieties of Christian approaches to this matter. Special attention is given to Dionysius Exiguus, who not only created a 95-year Easter cycle in the early sixth century but also the modern (Western) chronological system known as "Anno Domini."

What benefit can students take away from this book?

For college students (and other interested readers) this book holds special value in showing the historical grounding of early Christian beliefs and practices in the events, writings, and inscriptions of the late ancient world. It shows the clear connections of Christian theology with astronomy and timekeeping. And it challenges the popular perception of Christianity as the enemy of science with clear examples of the Christian Church as the benefactor and supporter of scientific research.

Dr. Steven L. Ware is Professor of Historical Theology at Nyack College/Alliance Theological Seminary in New York City and Nyack, NY.

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FW: A Great Tool To Help You Understand the Formation Of Lutheran Synods In America!




Feed: Steadfast Lutherans
Posted on: Friday, September 27, 2013 8:16 AM
Author: Pastor Matt Richard
Subject: A Great Tool To Help You Understand the Formation Of Lutheran Synods In America!


roseI attended the same Lutheran congregation for 20 years (CLBA), until I went off to college .  In college I began attending a small Association Free Lutheran Church.  Several years later I found myself serving a small country church for my field work experience in seminary.  This country church had its roots in the old United Norwegian Lutheran Church of America.  Now, I find myself leading the liturgy in the vicarage status at the LCMS church in my home town.

Why do I share this with you?  I share it with you because I was relatively unaware of all the different strains of Lutheranism for the first twenties years of my life.  After leaving for college, I found myself introduced to several new strains of Lutheranism, thus causing me to realize that there were/are a plethora of Lutheran Synods/Denominations in America.

If you are like me, this realization may have caused you to ask, "Where did they all come from?"  In asking this question though, I must caution you that it is fairly difficult to derive a simplistic answer.  Indeed, the history of Lutheranism in America is a fairly complex story.  It is complex due to the various immigration waves, the different historical geographical locations where Lutherans culminated, and, of course, some language barriers.

Thankfully, I recently came upon an incredible diagram that has helped me in understanding the historical formation of Lutheran Synods in America.  It is a graphic that I obtained from one of my colloquy classes this summer at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.  This graphic was put together by David Herald.  It is an extremely nice visual that gives a bird's-eye view to the formation of Lutheran Synods in America.  It was a blessing to me and I hope it is a blessing to you in understanding the formation of Lutheran Synods in America.  Enjoy this tremendous resource!

CLICK HERE for the "Formation of Lutheran Synods in America" PDF Sheet.


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FW: Contemporary but not modern...




Feed: Pastoral Meanderings
Posted on: Sunday, September 29, 2013 5:00 AM
Author: (Pastor Peters)
Subject: Contemporary but not modern...


In pursuit of that which is edgy and new, churches have silenced the organ, piano, and other instruments with more history in favor of praise bands whose sound and instrumental complement mirror what younger folks experience in their own musical preference.  The only problem with this is that the praise band itself is a throw back to a previous era.  The usual mix of bass, drums, guitar, keyboard, and song diva seem positively out of date to those whose music is primarily digital -- Ipod, Iphone, or DJ.

This from Michelle Boorstein of The Washington Post:

And to people younger than 30, the drums and electric guitars of the contemporary rock that dominates much of American Christianity are not only not edgy, "but for them, it's like singing hymns," [DJ Hans] Daniels said. "Why does the music you worship to and jam out to have to be completely separate?"

As always, the issue is how far are we willing to go to reflect that which is "in" at the moment?  The praise band was, in the beginning, a sanctified sound that harkened back more to the folk tradition of Peter, Paul, and Mary than rock and roll.  It made baby boomers like me happy for a time.  Perhaps it still appeals more to that cross section of people than to the younger crowd.  None of these are ready to hear the sound of heavy metal in worship, neither are they ready for rap or any other of the more modern musical genre.  Yet, in the quest to be contemporary, why stop with one age or generation at all?

Strangely enough, the most diverse sound in church on Sunday morning is the sound emanating from the Hymnal.  In my own congregation, we enjoy a mix of hymnody that may include plainsong chant and a text from the first three centuries of Christianity along side a Reformation chorale, an English hymn, a Protestant gospel hymn, ethnic music from China, Africa, or other places, as well as hymnody from living hymwwriters and composers.  Even more strange is the fact that the tonal resources of the pipe organ and a creative musician on the bench can give each of these a credible sound that respects the source while making it possible for a diverse assembly of ages, races, cultures, and backgrounds to join in congregational song.

Perhaps most telling is the comment from an 81 year old member:  "I like the music more than I did last year," she said.  Last year?  Just how often does the sound of the church's song change in that congregation? And does it include an homage to the past or is yesterday relegated to the garbage pile in the pursuit of that which is ever new?

See what happened when we let "Kum by yah" move into the pews?

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Received for Review


Thompson, John J., Annotator. NIV Worship Together Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013. 1267 Pages. Cloth. $34.99. (P)

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Received for Review



Hawn, C. Michael, compiler and editor. Foreword by John L. Bell. Preface by Pablo Sosa. New Songs of Celebration Render: Congregational Song in the Twenty-first Century. Chicago: GIA, 2013. 460 Pages. Cloth with audio CD. $42.95. (LHP) 

Tice, Adam M. L. Stars Like Grace: 50 More Hymn Texts. Chicago: GIA, 2013. 128 Pages. Spiral. $19.95. (H) 

Gathered for God. Chicago: GIA, 2013. Sheet music: $18.50. Audio CD: $16.95. (LHP) 

Haas, David. We Are Not Alone: Hymns, Psalms and Songs for Eucharist and the Hours. Chicago: GIA, 2013. Sheet music: $26.50. Booklet of Reflections and Prayers: $9.95. Audio CD: $16.95. (LH) 

Alonso, Tony and Marty Haugen. The Lyric Psalter: Revised Grail Lectionary Psalms (Year A). Chicago: GIA, 2013. Spiral music: $25.00. Audio CD set: $39.50. (LH) 

Lowenberg, Kenneth. Gregorian Preludes for the Liturgical Year. Chicago: GIA, 2013. 47 Pages. Paper. $25.00. (LHP) 

Joncas, Michael. God of All Beginnings: Liturgical Music for Choir and Assembly. Chicago: GIA, 2013. Sheet music: $20.00. Audio CD: $16.95. (L) 

Cry Out with Joy: Responsorial Psalms, Gospel Acclamations and Universal Prayers for the Liturgy of the Word (Christmas, Triduum, Solemnities, and Other Celebrations). Chicago: GIA, 2013. Spiral sheet music: $33.00. Audio CD set: $25.95. (LH) 

Cry Out with Joy: Responsorial Psalms, Gospel Acclamations and Universal Prayers for the Liturgy of the Word (Year A). Chicago: GIA, 2013. Spiral sheet music: $33.00. Audio CD set: $25.95. (LH) 

Cheppponis, James. Mass for the People of God (Choral Accompaniment Edition). Chicago: GIA, 2013. Paper. $4.50. (L)  

Bell, John L. The Truth that Sets Us Free: Biblical Songs for Worship. Chicago: GIA, 2013. Sheet music: $14.95. Audio CD: $16.95. (H) 

Tate, Paul A. Seasons of Grace, Volume 5. Chicago: GIA, 2013. Sheet music: $20.00. Audio CD: $16.95. (LHP) 

Lawton, Liam. Eternal. Chicago: GIA, 2013. Sheet music: $20.00. Audio CD: $16.95. (LHP) 

Stuempfle, Herman G., Jr. The Song of Faith Unsilenced: Hymns, Songs and Carols. Chicago: GIA, 2013. Spiral. $21.95. (H) 

Blest Are Those Who Mourn: Music for the Order of Christian Funerals. Chicago: GIA, 2013. Paper. $3.95. (LH) 

Schrock, Dennis. Handel's Messiah: A Performance Practice Handbook. Chicago: GIA, 2013. 111 Pages. Spiral. $16.95. (LHP) 

Lawton, Liam, with Theresa Donohoo. Catholic Irish Classics. Chicago: GIA, 2013. Audio CD. $16.95. (H) 

My Lenten Prayer: Morning and Evening Prayers for People on the Go. Chicago: GIA, 2013. Audio CD set: $25.95. (LH) 

Lectionary Psalms: the Revised Grail Psalms (As Found in Lead Me, Guide Me Second Edition). Chicago: GIA, 2013. Audio CD set. $29.95. (LH) 

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