Lutheran Service Book

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, in which I serve as a pastor, has prepared a new Lutheran hymnal. I have been aware of, and involved in certain ways, in this project for many years. It began when in the mid-1990s, Rev. A.L. Barry, of blessed memory, was serving as president of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Rev. Dr. Paul Grime, Executive Director of the Synod’s Commission on Worship, some time soon after he came to serve in this position, began talking about the need for a new hymnal to replace “Lutheran Worship.” Dr. Barry, at a meeting of the Commission on Worship, indicated that 2007 would seem like a good year for a new hymnal to be made available to the Missouri Synod and so the ball was set in motion. Dr. Grime, with the able assistance of his co-worker in The LCMS Commission on Worship, Rev. Jon Vieker, started into the project, a preliminary step along the way being the production of “Hymnal Supplement ‘98.” Well, we are at the point now where the new hymnal will soon be, God willing, a reality. And it is  fantastic. It has been prepared by the LCMS Commission on Worship and has been worked on for many years by committees consisting of literally hundreds of people who have, for the past number of years, devoted themselves to producing for The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and the wider English-speaking Lutheran community, a hymnal that provides the best of both old and new.

A new web site has been established that will provide a “one stop shop” for news and information about Lutheran Service Book and its various companion pieces, as this information becomes available.

I’ve seen recently first pages of the new hymnal and it is simply gorgeous. It is going to be a tremendous resource, in both style and substance.

I invite you to visit the CPH Lutheran Service Book web site, and bookmark and return often to keep up to date on the progression of the hymnal’s production.

Second Thoughts About Living Together

I’m pleased to tell you about a new pamphlet from Concordia Publishing House created to help pastors and congregations deal with the situation of couples who are living together without marriage. It is extremely well done and covers in good summary fashion the teaching of Holy Scripture about marriage as well as providing responses to most of the commonly heard excuses for this sinful behavior. It is intended to be used by pastors with couples, but it would be a good idea to supply the entire congregation with this pamphlet, perhaps after studying it with the board of elders, so that all might know what the church’s position is on this issue. The author of this pamphlet was Rev. Matthew Harrison, who struggled with this issue in his parish ministry and prepared this pamphlet as a result.

Single copies are $1.75, but you may obtain this 32 page, 6×9 pamphlet for only 90 cents each when you order ten or more copies. Here is the product description from the CPH web site. Either place your order on the web, or call 800-325-3040.

Product Description

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. (Hebrews 13:4 ESV)

If there is one thing that all parish pastors have in common that proves time and again to be a persistent and vexing problem, it is the challenge of couples who present themselves for marriage but who are already living together.

In response to frequent requests for a concise, faithfully Biblical resource to help couples reflect on the issues raised by living together, and to help pastors minister in such situations, we have prepared the resource entitled Second Thoughts About Living Together.

This pamphlet is in a Question and Answer format. Some of the questions include

    * What is Marriage?
    * Who regulates marriage: Church or State?
    * What is the purpose of marriage?
    * What’s so important about a piece of paper?
    * What about so-called Common Law marriages?
    * Is living together such a great offense?