Thursday, February 24, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Last morning of the pastoral conference today, then down to my Dad's for dinner, then home. The Divine Service was good last night - I wish a few more of the guys would have stuck around to talk over a few beverages (he who has ears to hear . . .) afterwards, but otherwise a good night. Didn't get all my schoolwork done yesterday afternoon, but I'll finish what I need to later today. Pray for safe travel for all the brothers.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Well, just got back to the hotel from our morning conference session. We have the afternoon off to do whatever. I will be doing homework. :-( Some good conversation today, but the opening devotion was most disappointing. No mention of Jesus. Not one. No sin, no forgiveness. Just generic "God will get you through it and has plans for you" stuff. What you could hear from any run-of-the-mill protestant church. Sigh. Am looking forward to the Divine Service tonight and receiving the body and blood of the Lord.
Been a few days since I last posted . . .
I'm up in Pennsylvania for a few days at a pastoral conference. Since starting school again, I have not had many opportunities to spend time with my brothers in office, so its good to be here with them. Although, being a bit northeast of Bethlehem, its entirely too cold! I did not bring my winter jacket.
The hotel is nice, but I found when they try to get too trendy, they actually decline. So it is with this one. The coffee maker in my room doesn't work, I cannot figure out how to turn on the desk lamp (!), one of the locks on the door is broken . . . nothing major, just annoying.
The conference started yesterday at lunch. I had the afternoon to present on Luther and the Catholic Controversialists and the battles waged between 1517 and 1521. It went pretty well. I was not as smooth as I would have hoped, but the brothers were engaged, had some good discussions, and appreciated the presentation. I guess that's all I could ask for.
Good stuff: I get to listen to some sermon studies today. I got to sit down with some vicars yesterday and talk a bit. Divine Service tonight. We have the afternoon off, but I have to do homework for my classes on Thursday.
Well, time to go get some coffee!
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
I am a day late providing the good advice I received about hymns that I promised in my last post, but here it is:
Do not have favorite hymns.
Why not? Because hymns should not selected on the basis of being my favorite or someone else's favorite, but because they highlight and underscore the Word of God being read and proclaimed that day. This also avoids the trap of trying to make sure you sing everyone's favorite hymn during the year. Sorry, don't do it that way. It's all about theology, not likes and dislikes.
So sorry, no polls and surveys of favorite hymns. Just (hopefully) a Divine Service each Sunday, where the hymns, readings, sermon, and liturgy all complement one another and proclaim Christ crucified as a tightly knit and seamless whole.
Monday, February 7, 2011
I read a post on another blog about the variety of hymns used by a church over the course of the church year. I have written frequently and in many and various ways that I think choosing hymns is one of the hardest things I do. Certain seasons of the church year aren't too bad, like Advent and Easter, and special days like Reformation and All Saints have wonderful hymns to choose from. But other Sundays . . . well, sometimes trying to find hymns that highlight and underscore the readings for the day is very, very difficult.
Well, after reading this post, I was curious about the variety of hymns sung by my church. As a rule of my own making, I try not to sing any hymn more than twice in a year, so that we sing a great variety of the church's hymnody. This is not a hard and fast rule, as I break it for the singing of Lord's Supper hymns during distribution, but I try to stick to it as best I can.
So, I think all things considered, we sing a good variety of hymns.
So, how did my congregation do? If my count and figures are correct, we sung 283 different hymns last year (2009-2010 church year) out of 635 in The Lutheran Service Book, or about 45% of the hymns. Is that good? I don't really know. But I'd be interested in how other congregations do.
Perhaps there is another figure here too. If there are 52 Sunday a year (at 6 hymns per Sunday), and we throw in a rough guess of 30 midweek services per year (at approx. 3 hymns per midweek), that means the possibility of 402 hymns per year. Which means that if we never repeated a hymn, we would use 63% of the hymns in LSB. Given that my math skills aren't great, that would give us a "hymn diffusion usage rate" (I just made that up!) of 71%.
Is that good? Seems so to me. Again, I would be interested in how others do. As I said, picking hymns is hard business. I'll have a post tomorrow with a piece of good advice given me by Kantor Richard Resch while I was at seminary . . .