I wrote an article for Thrivent a few months ago about Lutheran hymnody and had the opportunity to interview some experts on the matter. One of the things I found interesting was how quickly Lutheran hymnals came on the scene — almost immediately after the start of the Reformation. And did you know they only contained words — and not the music — until around the turn of the 19th century? Lutherans have been known to carry hymnals with them everywhere. But even though the Lutheran Service Book has been widely accepted and purchased across all LCMS congregations, there’s still another way we could return to more traditional Lutheran practice. And that’s for everyone to have their own hymnal. It’s a great confirmation gift, of course, but good for almost any other occasion as well.
Did you see this announcement from Concordia Publishing House?:
Hymnal in Every Home
Since the arrival of Lutheran Service Book in August of 2006, over 1,000,000 copies have been sold. Celebrate the overwhelming reception of Lutheran Service Book in our churches by taking the hymnal home. Far more than a book for use only on Sunday mornings, the hymnal is full of rites, prayers, hymns, and other resources for use in our daily lives.
Read what A Guide for Introducing Lutheran Service Book has to say about the hymnal as prayer book:
“Here one finds words of Holy Scripture and even the Small Catechism, to be sure. But it is in the familiar words of the services and in the rich poetry of the hymns that the hymnal demonstrates its unique contribution to the formation of the faithful. If the Bible is the source of our knowledge about God and his works, and the catechism is the roadmap that guides us to the essentials in God’s Word, then the hymnal supplies us with the poetry of the faith. Here the Word of God and its teachings appear as verse wedded to melody, penetrating the heart and delighting the soul. Long before children have learned to read, they have sung. And as the elderly approach their twilight years, the melodies and texts of the church’s song are still recalled, even if their eyesight has faded and their fingers are no longer nimble enough to turn a page. From cradle to grave, the church’s song gives voice to the heartfelt cries and joyful strains of God’s children.” (page 55)
First off, it’s just wonderful that over 1,000,000 hymnals have been purchased by Lutherans around the country. But I also have to comment on my impeccable timing. Before this campaign launched this week, I ordered my very own personalized bonded leather hymnal. And I got it in the mail today. It’s awesome. Now go get yours.