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lutheran Music

This section is a brief look at the music we sing and hear in the Lutheran service, why, and where it comes from...even if you have attended services often, you may be surprised at some of the information below...enjoy!

Opening Hymn
Hymn of Praise
Responsorial Psalm
Gospel Acclaimations
Sermon Hymn
Communion Liturgy/Responses
Communion Hymns
Post Communion Canticle
Closing Hymn

Most often provided by the organist, the prelude may set the tone for the entire service. Music selected is often meditative, and may contain the melodies of familiar hymn tunes. Unlike many churches, the prelude in Lutheran worship is considered part of the service, and that is reflected in it's position after the Pastor's welcome. On occasion, the prelude is provided by a vocal or bell choir, or guest musician.

The hymns in Lutheran worship are selected to enhance the appreciation of the lessons of each Sunday. They often tie in with other music in the service, and are selected both from the Lutheran Book of Worship, and the Hymnal Supplement. Hymns from other sources may be included in the service as inserts in the bulletin. We sing a variety of hymnody, from chorale-melodies of the time of Luther, Early American music, Romantic/Victorian era hymns, melodies of contemporary composers, and other music through the present day. You will notice that we almost always sing all the verses of the hymns, as the meaning of the text is not complete unless that is done.

From the Greek, "Kyrie eleison", or "Lord, have mercy", this ancient series of petitions and responses is led by the assisting minister. The congregational part is never difficult, but is an essential element of the dialogue between ministers and congregation as we worship. We use settings of this text found in the Lutheran Book of Worship, Music from Taize, and other sources.

Not a traditional hymn, but a longer text set to a joyous modern melody. If you are new to the Lutheran service, it is probably the most complex item you will be asked to sing. It is, however, learned through repetition, and is a stirring way to praise God.

During Lent, Advent, and on other occasions during the year, we sing a congregation response to the Psalm. This psalmody is led by a cantor or choir and is printed as an insert to the bulletin. Music here is from a variety of sources, including newly composed music for this congregation.

These responses precede and follow the Gospel reading. They highlight the importance of the position of the Gospel reading, coming as it does after the 1st lesson and 2nd lesson.

This hymn is chosen by the Pastor, who selects a text that further illustrates the theme or themes of the Sermon.

This music is provided by the choir or bell choir, and has been carefully selected to relate to the appointed lessons for the day. Often, the music is based upon familiar melodies, and is likely to be from a variety of musical styles.

This music is our congregational preparation for the Service of Holy Communion, and is of a different nature than that of the Hymn of Praise.

This music, easily learned, is part of the continuing dialog between minister and congregation.

These hymns sometimes reflect themes of the day, but are most often melodies and texts that concern The Lord's Supper. During some seasons of the year, instrumental music is heard instead of hymns.

A joyous conclusion to the Service of Holy Communion, this canticle of praise and thanks is the last part of the liturgy that we sing before the closing hymn.

Like the opening hymn, this music reflects the themes of the day's lessons.

Instrumental music which brings the service to a close. Although not part of the service proper, as is the prelude, this music is also chosen to go with the day's hymns, if possible. It may also be of a purely festive nature, depending on the season of the Church Year.

The liturgical music in the Evangelical Lutheran Worship hymnal seeks to maintain ties to Lutheran liturgical tradition, without resorting to the use of popular tunes which soon become trite and dated. We also use Festival settings of this music on Reformation, Christ the King Sunday, Easter and Pentecost Sunday. It is extremely well-suited to instrumental groups such as brass and choirs.