2018 May Pastor’s Pen

From the Pastor… 

            ANOTHER  HYMNAL?

          Easter is a season of renewal and growth, not only in our personal lives, but in our church life as well.  We sing Alleluias and praises that pronounce that Jesus Christ is risen and lives.  We hear the Good News expressed through the lessons and sermons.  We offer our prayers and petitions up to our God. We share in our Lord’s Supper.  We greet one another with the peace of the Lord.

          To more effectively do that and enrich our worship life, the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA) of which we are a part of along with over 10,000 congregations and 300 agencies, provided us with the Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW) Hymnal in 2006 (also known informally as the red hymnal).  The majority of ELCA congregations are now using this hymnal. This hymnal was several years in the making and involved thousands of leaders and congregations.

     This is not so much a new hymnal as an expanded one of the LBW.  The LBW is now 40 years old.  Technology has enabled such things as thinner paper which means that it includes 10 different  Sunday services (two of which we currently use), many more hymns, all 150 psalms, the Healing service, Maundy Thursday Service, and Good Friday services that were not in the LBW.   Even Martin Luther’s small catechism is in the back.  Worship and music resources, such as our Sundays and Seasons planning book are now geared toward this hymnal.  Seminary students are being taught worship from this book.  When we plan worship services with other Lutheran churches and our synod, we sometimes have to write and copy sections because they do not appear in the LBW.

     The Evangelical Lutheran Worship book, like major worship books before it, seeks to provide a basis on which Lutheran worshippers will sense our connection to the whole church.  This particular resource comes at a time when the church and the world are experiencing increasing diversity.  Worshippers in some congregations follow a bulletin and hymnal while other Lutheran worshippers participate by using liturgy and hymns projected onto a screen.  Into this ever changing reality, Evangelical Lutheran Worship seeks to connect each worshipper to the whole church.  While we gather in local congregations, we join the whole company of saints, past, present and future, in response to the gifts given to us by God. 

                     Yours in Christ,

                    Pastor Gary Nelson