25 August 2006

The Hymnal in the Home

[Note: the following was an article I wrote for our parish newsletter, the Messenger]

Lutheran Service Book is not meant just as a hymnal to be used in the Church services. It is also meant for use in the school and in the home. How can it enrich your devotional life at home? Well, consider using it in these ways:

1. Put it on the piano and sing from it! Well, okay, so not everyone has a piano at home, but if you do and you have someone who can play for you, this is a GREAT family activity. Just set aside some time each week, to gather the family around and sing. Let the kids pick out some of their favorite songs! Work together on learning some of the new gems in the book. But singing together as a family is one of the single richest ways you can pass on the faith to your children.

2. Use the Daily Prayer Orders. These are found beginning on page 294 and running through 298. If are single, you can use these to shape your private devotion; for families, it's a great resource for your daily devotions together. The prayer guide on p. 294 can lead you through a regular rotation of intercession (we've printed it in our Priesthood Prays for years, and it still shows up on our website under Priesthood Prays). Then there are specific orders for the different times of the day: Morning, Noon, early Evening, and Night. Readings are suggested, or you can use the daily readings that we print out in the bulletin each week.

3. Preparing for the Lord's Supper. Just because the Lord's Supper is offered every week, that's no excuse not to take time to carefully prepare for receiving the Supper. Use your LSB to help you do this. You can sing any of the Communion hymns (617-643). You can review the Sacrament of the Altar section of the Small Catechism (326-327). You can use the Christian Questions with their Answers (329-330). You can pray the pre-communion prayer found on the inside cover of the hymnal, or the prayer for right reception of the Eucharist, found at 308.

4. Preparing for Private Absolution. The hymnal can also help you prepare for private absolution. Sing one of the hymns for confession (606-616). Pray Psalm 51. Review what the Catechism teaches about the Office of Keys and Confession (326). Read through the Ten Commandments and their explanations and make a list of how you have broken these (321-322). Pray the prayer before Confession (inside cover). Read the Confessional Address (290-291).

5. Enrich your Prayer Life. There is a veritable treasury of prayers for a great array of occasions printed in the LSB (305-318). Written prayers will never replace prayers "from the heart" but they certainly can enrich them. If ever at a loss for how to pray for a given situation, check out this treasury of prayers and see if there is not a prayer here that meets the need!

In short, the Church's Hymnbook is meant to be the PRAYERBOOK of her people too. Never have we had a hymnal before that put such goodies in our hands in a single volume. Try it out and see whether or not the LSB does not make a GREAT prayerbook for you and your family!

1 comment:

sam said...

Wonderful article.

There are many other ways that people have chosen to use the hymnal in the home. One women (now at rest) at my home congregation always had a hymnal open in her kitchen. Her goal was to learn one hymn a day while working. She had four boys so she spent a lot of time cooking. My mom did the same thing except at bedtime.

Ah... what wonderful gifts.... the hymns of the church....