Hymnal in every home

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.


Comments

Hymnal in every home — 24 Comments

  1. Molly,

    Great solution! Together with THE TREASURY OF DAILY PRAYERS, LSB helps keep me coming back to the liturgy to help form my individual prayers throughout the day.

    BTW, is there a companion volume published for LSB in the same way as LUTHERAN WORSHIP HISTORY AND PRACTICE was published alongside LW?

  2. Mollie

    I read the article a few weeks ago and thot it good. Yessss I do believe everyone should have one in the home. I rely on those hymns like my Bible. Between Bible verses that run in my head so do the memorized hymns and many many of them they are such great assurance, comfort and uplifting in many situations. Just plain like to sing them too!

  3. One of the first things we did after becoming members of an LCMS congregation 12 years ago was purchase copies of Lutheran Worship to use in our family prayers. We prefer this to the Service Book since it has the tones for chanting printed with the introits and psalms. I admit that we (a former Episcopalian and a former Presbyterian) do find the tunes used with some of the hymns different from those we learned when we were young (of course, we learned the RIGHT tunes, but my wife and I will differ at times as to which tune is right), but we appreciate having the various forms for worship and the prayers at home.

  4. One of the first things we did after becoming members of an LCMS congregation 12 years ago was purchase copies of Lutheran Worship to use in our family prayers. We prefer this to the Service Book since it has the tones for chanting printed with the introits and psalms. I admit that we (a former Episcopalian and a former Presbyterian) do find the tunes used with some of the hymns different from those we learned when we were young (of course, we learned the RIGHT tunes, but my wife and I will differ at times as to which tune is right), but we appreciate having the various forms for worship and the prayers at home.
    Along with obtaining copies of the Service Book, we felt that we should also purchase a copy of the Altar Book, so we would know the propers for each week. Here, we feel a great fault with the new book.

  5. @Aubri #3

    Thanks Aubri! I will check this out.

    I do keep meaning to start scanning and OCRing the LSB, for our use at home.

    Seems a shame since I would think the music notation in the source files for the LSB would be convertible to MIDI.

    It could actually enhance LSB sales; should not detract much from the organ performance CD collection.

    But the real point is that it would make LSB more accessible and usable at home.

  6. When I became and LC-MS Lutheran around the age of 18 years, the LWML me with a copy of the “red book” hymnal. I have cherished it ever since.

  7. Mollie–thanks for this article. I’ve been trying to think what would be best to send (email) my sister a few times a week as a brief devotional along with my personal prayers for her. She has a terminal and life-threatening disease. We talk on the phone quite a bit because she is frightened. When you mentioned “poetry”–I remembered how I used to love to just read the verses when I was in school. Sometimes I get more out of the hymns by reading than by singing. There are so many faith encouraging verses in the hymns. I hope this will turn out to be a good idea for her.

  8. In 1945 my LCMS church gave me the “Sunday School Hymnal” published by CPH (still have it). 464 pages, measuring 7″X4.5″, and not one note of music. It included an order of service for Sunday school and Catechism. I wish we would go back to this precious hymnal [for youth].

  9. After my father died we were going through a few of his personal effects. My sister pulled out of a box hidden in a closet what she thought was a Bible. It was a very old book that had metal clasps holding it shut. As I read through a few of the first pages I saw this wasn’t a German Bible (as first thought) but a Hymnal or “chuch book” as they were often called. This one was a Lutheran hymnal published in Ukraine for the German speaking people. This one book had made the journey from Ukraine to Krasnodar Russia, from Russia to Ellis Island, to a Sod house on the Dakota Territory to our hands. What surprised me even more than it had survived at all is that my great-great-great grandparents chose this book to pencil in the family tree on the flyleaf. What a treasure to us all, to not only have those precious names written by hand but to know which hymns they sang in church and which they read as devotions.

    Those of us who have sat with families to plan funerals know how precious a well worn hymnal or a dog-eared threadbare copy of TLH is to a family.

    As many times as I have heard the premature declaration that hymnals are dead, we continue to find them indespensable. No software, no computer can pass on to my family what one old church book could bring, and in my opinion no program or hardware can prove to be such a welcome companion as our own Bible, Catechism, Hymnal or BoC that has been marked and annotated reminding us of the paths we’ve been on and the faithfulness of our merciful God along our pilgrim way. LSB has sold a million copies not only because it is something our congregations needed, but also because it is something we as individuals have needed.

  10. Re: John Degges #6

    The LSB Altar Book is expensive and big and not really designed for home use. If you are interested in the Collects of the Day, there is a small paperback listing of these that fits into your LSB very nicely. If you want more (including the Introits) there is another book titled “Propers of the Day.” These are much cheaper than the Altar Book. The Collects are also available in the Treasury of Daily Prayer, though unfortunately not indexed to the weekly services. Check out these and other resources at http://www.cph.org/t-lsb-editions.aspx

  11. @Abby #9

    Your post reminds me that I have been meaning to mention a monthly devotional from CPH that might not be very well known, but is very good for situations such as you describe.

    Its editor is Matthew C. Harrison!

    It is Strength for the Day. http://www.cph.org/t-magazines-strength.aspx

    I have subscribed for several years. This devotional is pure pastoral ministry in devotional form. It was just one more thing that convinced and assured me of Pastor Harrison’s calling to our synodical leadership.

  12. @mbw #14
    The book you want is Lutheran Service Book, Hymn Selection Guide. CPH order number SO-5507. This book contains a comprehensive comparison of Lutheran Service book with other Lutheran Hymnals. Starting on page 141 of this book you will see LSB, TLH, LW, HS98 and LBW. Why the LBW when we felt it was not doctrinally sound I don’t know, except to meet the need of those congregations who use it and not another Lutheran Hymnal.

  13. One thing that would help with home/on the road use of the hymnal is a pocket sized edition. They had one for LW. Bonnie and went through 5 of them. The last two are pretty fair condition but the other 3 are pretty badly worn.

  14. David @ 2, there is indeed a companion volume coming out, going into the history and significance of each hymn. I’m not sure when it will come out. I contributed to it, as did lots of other scholars.

  15. Gene,
    There is a “hymn history” companion coming out?! Oh, please keep us informed here at BJS of schedules!!! Using Google, is tough & weeding thru the not so accurate stuff, is tough. At least it is for me. Thank you so very much for taking part in such a project!!!!!
    Blessings,
    Dutch

  16. I remember attending Pilgim Evangelical Lutheran Church in St. Louis as a child and using a small black hymnal which only contained the words, no music as you stated Mollie. It was a convenient size and easy to handle. So I have now used four CPH hymnals!

  17. I am a member of the ELS, which uses the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996), which brings together the 2 traditions that were dominant in our synod: The Lutheran Hymnal 1941, and the Lutheran Hymnary 1913.

    Two comments:

    1. Not just *a* hymnal in every home — but *hymnals* in every home. For singing in family devotions, we need 2 or 3 just for our family of 4. The kids like to be able to hold their own hymnals and sing every word.

    2. The old Norwegian Synod’s Hymnary had a strong tradition of the little hand-held, pocket-sized words-only hymnbook. Many of the congregations had these plus the full-sized hymnaries in the pew rack. Many people owned the little ones for devotional use at home. They’re really great!

    Pastor Jerry Gernander (ELS), Princeton MN

  18. @Dutch #19

    Hi Dutch:

    The LSB Hymnal Companion that Dr. Veith mentioned was set to come out this past summer (2010), but had to be delayed. The last I heard, this companion volume will hopefully be coming out this winter.

    In Christ,
    Rev. Robert Mayes
    Fullerton, NE

  19. Someone gave me a “Sunday School Hymnal” by CPH today. There is no year of publication. It is put out by CPH. It is “By Authority of The English Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri and Other States” Does anyone know what year it was published or have any other info on it?

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