15 February 2011

You know...

...it was truly one of the saddest ideas to ever catch on.  Putting those hymnals in the church.  Because before, the hymnals belonged to you personally and you didn't leave your hymnal behind at church - you took it to your home.  There you prayed out of it and sang out of it during the week.  Everyone had one by the time they were confirmed - they made hugely popular confirmation gifts.  So the family could whip out the hymnals in the evening and sing together, or pray a psalm or offer the prayers.  When we started leaving the hymnal in the nave, we started leaving church in the church instead of bringing church into the home.  CPH is trying to fix the problem by suggesting that the hymnal belongs in every home.  I think that's too weak.  It doesn't belong in every home.  They belong in every home.  As many as the folks in the home, so let the number of the hymnals be (and maybe a couple extras for guests!); and let them not be dusty but let us learn again the art of our forefathers in the faith - finding in the hymnal, the Bible, and the Catechism the source for our daily prayers, singing and making a joyful noise to the Lord with all our heart.


Rob said...

Could you please post a link to one that you'd recommend? I just did a search on Amazon, but there are a number of versions offered there. I am new to Lutheranism and I am not familiar with the Hymnal.

Jeremy Loesch said...

Trying to put toothpaste back in the tube! When will you learn!

And I hope you never learn my friend. I see three families carrying their hymnals to church and I smile so widely.

Maanum's Meandering Musings said...

One of the joys of my day is our family's night time devotion. Every night before the kids (22 months and 7 months) go to bed, either Jen or I read a Bible Story then we sing a hymn and say a prayer or two from they hymnal. So naturally, I couldn't agree with you more.

William Weedon said...


Just get the cheapest LSB you can - it's still beautiful and has tons of resources. The pretty ones are faux leather and smaller and more expensive. But for the home? I'd just get several regular old LSBs. Check out cph.org.

Rob said...

Wish the hymnal had guitar chords.

William Weedon said...

Oh, you can buy the version that does (and I have a friend who has even simpler chords, if you're interested!).

Anonymous said...

In plenty of LCMS parishes the
liturgy and hymns are printed out
in worship folders. No one needs
to pick up the hymnal during the
entire worship service. Some of this
started with the 1981 Lutheran Worship hymnal with all of its
options in the liturgy, so the pastors simply printed it out each
Sunday to avoid confusion. Now
CPH sells Worship Builders to help
eliminate the need for hymnals.

William Weedon said...


I'm considering an experiment this Lent during the midweeks: no bulletins at all. Just directions as we use the services as printed. We'll see how it goes...

Acroamaticus said...

How to put toothpaste back in the tube: Give those hymnals in the church racks to the church families who don't have one, and just keep some for guests @ services. "But members will forget to bring them on Sundays." Forget once and you'll never do it again if guest hymnals are verboten to members! You'll need strict ushers, though :0)

Becky said...

Also to Rob: If you play the piano, I recommend getting the one for organists so you'll have the accompaniments. One of my favorite investments of all time.

Jesse Penny said...

My parish is all high tech and projects the hymn text and liturgy onto one of our two video screens. As a result, a vast majority the hymnals in the pews stay dormant.

I don't know whether to laugh or shake my head whenever there are gaffes with the technology and everyone is standing there in silence waiting for something to happen.

I do have one question though: I usually refrain from singing hymns out of my LSB at home because frankly, I'm a terrible singer. Are there any resources on CD you can recommend to help drown my raspy voice out?

Thank you!

Larry Luder said...

I couldn't agree more. We only use the printed version in the our worship bulletins. We have the nasty beat Lutheran Hymnal in the racks. Give about another 5 years the LSBs will look the same. After touching one of those, who won't want to partake the host by mouth? Too bad about so many missing Psalms and some of favorites didn't make the cut while others did. I'm sure everyone has an opinion about what made it in and what didn't. But overall, sweet. It (not they are)is a blessing in my household.

David Garner said...

Although our parishes have always used hymnals (in the pews, not that we were expected to bring them), I've always bought one for personal use at home. I still have an LW and a CW on the shelf.

One of the first things I did after we became Orthodox was to buy a Service Book. Having a hymnal or service book for home use should be par for the course for Christians. You really miss a lot not having one available.

Past Elder said...

We have exactly the situation Anon describes: the pews are well stocked with LSBs and I never see anyone but me use them.

The entire service is not only printed in the bulletin -- and as noted, that helps now that there are novus ordo-like You Can Do This or You Can Do That options along the way -- and are also projected on the screen, including hymns, and since nobody sings parts any more who needs the hymnal?

Except me, who would like to keep my basso grosso as written rather than ad lib.

Jeremy Loesch said...

Pastor Henderson, funny comment. Our ushers are not firm enough! LOL.

We've really pared down our Sunday bulletins. And I am always looking for ways to shrink it even more.

I'm contemplating just listing the Scripture lessons, rather than printing them out. I want the people to hear, not just read. But I'm not brave enough to try that.

One thing I've done is to gather the email addresses of the hymnal owners and then I send them the service info (lessons, hymns, prayers) during the week, allowing them a chance to pray and practice the hymns. We have the addresses for all the members in the church, but not everyone gets this message. And I tell the congregation about the special message that only certain ones get. Perhaps more people will want to join the club. It's a special insiders benefit.


Rev. Charles Lehmann said...

When I was taking "Lutheranism in America" with Larry Rast, I remember him showing a centennial picture of the inside of a Lutheran Church in Philadelphia. The picture had been taken in the 1880s or so.

There were no hymnal racks in the church except for the front two pews which had hymnal racks and hymnals.

I asked Dr. Rast about it.

He said that those pews were for the visitors. Everyone else brought their own hymnal from home.

Now what do we have? Hymnal racks and Lutherans still sit in the back, but for no good reason.

Anonymous said...

Great observations, Pastor Weedon. I recently visited an LCMS parish that is quite a bit closer to home than the one I formerly attended.

I about fell on the floor when I realized that we were going to use Divine Service III, straight from the LSB, and not a "mix and match" worship folder as did my former parish.

I am now inspired to dig out my personal LSB copy and start bringing it to Divine Service. Our hymnals are such a rich resource for song and prayer.


Rev. Paul T. McCain said...

Nice post. I've got good news. Our "Hymnal in Every Home" campaign far exceeded our expectations and was a big success.

E.W. Rodgers said...

It is very frustrating to see these words at the bottom of some of the hymns in LSB: "Setting available in hymn accompaniment edition." I'd rather not have to buy yet another volume in the LSB series in order to get what TLH and LW had included.

Also, as a volunteer musician, I can't exactly afford to buy Lutheran Service Builder, and yet there are a number of hymns only available on that platform. I also believe a scripture index should be included in the hymnal, not just in the Hymn Selection Guide.

To be sure, worship planning is fairly involved and requires several resources, but it is disheartening that LSB is set up in such a way that I have to buy several expensive volumes to get what might otherwise be very useful, even for laity in their devotional life.

As a side note, Pastor, many of the guitar chords I have written are alternate harmonies to those written in LSB, and some of them even change from one stanza to the next. Eventually, I will be adapting the liturgical music for guitar, but that is still a ways out.