Saturday, December 23, 2023

Word and Song. . .

As I have said here before, watch the soundtrack you put to your faith.  Lutherans have no business whatsoever listening to contemporary Christian music and the generic radio versions of it so rampant among the choices before us.  It is easy to forget that we have music far superior in content and in music available to us through our own hymnal, Lutheran Service Book.  It is also easy for us to forget that we have a magnificent resource to hear the hymns and great choral works of our Lutheran tradition -- one envied by Rome, Canterbury, and a host of other traditions.  That resource is Lutheran Public Radio.

You can listen to it HERE.

You can support it HERE.

This is what you should be listening to all day long.  It is part of what I listen to on a daily basis.  Lutheran Public Radio ought to be your daily sound track and mine.  If you listen to podcasts, why not switch it up a bit and listen to the music.  Believe you me, you will not regret it.  This is the best!!!

Here is the direct link for your phone.

If you want more resources, consider the following:

Sing for Joy -- hymns and choral music appointed for the three year lectionary and online weekly.  It is an irritation to listen to the announcer some of the time but the music is worth ignoring her commentary.  I listen to it every Sunday at 5 am as I begin my devotions and sermon review for the Divine Service.  It comes to you from St. Olaf College.  It is associated with the ELCA but the music is from the greater hymnody and choral works of the Church.

For the God Who Sings -- is a bit more highbrow.  It comes from the Australian Broadcasting Company and you must get it online but wow -- some weeks it is beyond telling.  Almost every week a Bach cantata is featured.  Listen to it.  There is minimal commentary and the usual nod to contemporary works (not as much appreciated by me as the classics) but it is also a great resource.  You have to love Stephen Watkins voice as the announcer who puts it all together and tells us what we are hearing.

When it comes to reading about our great Lutheran hymn and choral tradition, there are plenty of sources in print (including the Hymnal Companion produced for Lutheran Service Book).  Check out Concordia Publishing House for more (also they have a blog on music and worship and if you look at their anthem selection, you can hear most of their anthems with a real choir there as well). 

There is one more resource you need to look at.  Dr. Anthony Esolen is a marvelous writer who has great appreciation for and knowledge of the great hymn tradition of orthodox Christianity.  He writes a simply magnificent reflection upon hymns, giving us great information on each author, and digging out the often surprising circumstances behind the composition of those hymns.  You can find his blog Word and Song here. I have been privileged to meet him and converse with him .  He is Roman Catholic and has provided wonderful resources any faithful Lutheran would also appreciate -- he is a professor, author, translator, poet, and Christian thinker.  He also contributes to Touchstone (a great journal for any serious Christian).  When I was honored by my alma mater as alumnus of the year (2017), Dr. Esolen also was honored with an honorary doctorate from Concordia Theological Seminary.  Subscribe to his Word and Song resource and you will love how he brings the back story of hymns to life. 

Once you start, you will never be satisfied with the pale echoes of pop music supposedly with Christian lyrics that passes for Christian radio.  It is worth it for your faith to make the change NOW.


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