Our newest Christmas card

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The Adoration of the Shepherds is an 18th-century oil painting by German artist C.W.E. Dietrich. Originally painted in color, our black and white version allows the light emanating from the infant Christ to shine within the darkness of the stable. The inside text proclaims: “Shepherds in the field abiding, watching o’er your flocks by night, God with us is now residing, yonder shines the infant light: Come and worship Christ, the newborn King!” (a verse from “Angels from the Realms of Glory”)

Visit our Christmas cards page to have a closer look at all 10 designs! New this year: you can now create a custom assortment of our unique Christmas cards to joyously confess our Savior’s birth.

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The Brotherhood Prayer Book: Hymn for Advent 1

 

 

 

Audio: Listen to Hymn for Advent 1 chanted.

Creator of the stars of night,
Thy people’s everlasting light,
Jesus, Redeemer, save us all,
Hear Thou Thy servants when they call.

Thou, sorrowing at the helpless cry
Of all creation doomed to die,
Didst save our lost and guilty race
By healing gifts of heavenly grace.

Thou cam’st, the Bridegroom of the bride,
As drew the world to eventide;
Proceeding from a virgin shrine,
The spotless Victim all divine.

At Thy great Name, exalted now,
All knees in lowly homage bow;
All things in heaven and earth adore,
And own Thee King for evermore.

To Thee, O Holy One, we pray,
Our Judge in that tremendous day,
Ward off, while yet we dwell below,
The weapons of our crafty foe.

To God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, Three in One,
Laud, honor, might and glory be
From age to age eternally. Amen.

________________

Conditor alme siderum. 7th cent., trans. by J.M. Neale
An excerpt from The Brotherhood Prayer Book

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Ceremony and Celebration: The Advent Wreath

candc-grid“The lighting of an Advent wreath during the Advent season is a Christian ceremony which has come down to us from about the time of Martin Luther. As before the birth of Christ the light of prophecy concerning His advent and His redemptive work became brighter and brighter, so the nearer we come in the church year to the feast of His nativity, the greater the amount of light from the Advent wreath. This ceremony is helpful for recalling, discussing, and teaching the significance of Advent.”

-Paul H. D. Lang in Ceremony and Celebration

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Pre-Advent sale on The Brotherhood Prayer Book and other titles

From now through Saturday, November 26, several of our titles are 15% off!

Cover-God With Us-new cover websiteGod With Us by David H. Petersen contains fifty-nine sermons spanning Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, including daily sermons for all of Advent. Many customers tell us that they’ve given God With Us in bulk to family and friends, since these brief sermons serve well for daily devotions. As one reviewer notes, “If you are looking for some additional spiritual refreshment this Advent through Epiphany seasons, this is a perfect combination of brevity and potency, of meditation and instruction, but most of all, of our Lord Jesus Christ who has come to save us from our sins!”front-cover-600px

In The Word Remains: Selected Writings on the Church Year and the Christian Life, Wilhelm Löhe gives insight into the confessional Lutheran understanding of the church year, the Word of God, and matters related to the Christian life: faith, prayer, fellowship, worship, creation, and hope. Especially appropriate for this time of the church year are the readings for Advent, Christmas, the New Year (the circumcision of Christ), and Epiphany.

The Brotherhood Prayer Book and its accompanying CD are also on sale. The Brotherhood Prayer Book includes services for the day (Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vepsers, and Compline), the entire Psalter, daily and seasonal propers, and a Beichtspiegel.

A Beichtspiegel (confession mirror) is a tool used for reflection and self-examination in preparation for private confession and absolution or for the general confession and absolution in the Divine Service. The Beichtspiegel offered free in our Downloads tab is published in The Brotherhood Prayer Book. The text was compiled in 2003 by Rev. Michael Frese and Dr. Benjamin Mayes, using resources from confessional pastors in both the LCMS and the SELK in Germany.

The season of Advent is a particular time of preparation for Christians. In baptism, our Lord Jesus Christ began in us a living faith, and we return to its promise every time we confess our sins and receive forgiveness. Thus, the purpose of a Beichtspiegel is to help us reflect upon our individual sins and lead us to the soothing balm of the absolution. True repentance is both sorrow over sin and faith in Christ’s forgiveness.

A Beichtspiegel helps us to consider our sins according to the Ten Commandments. It is forgiveness that we Christians seek, not a perfect and exhaustive confession, yet it is salutary to be able to better understand and articulate in what ways and how often we sin. Examining ourselves is not merely for the purpose of causing shame over our wretched sinfulness, but to focus us on the only source of comfort: Jesus.

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Welcome, Listeners of Issues, Etc.!

holy-family-frontIf you’ve found our website after hearing the commercial on Issues, Etc., we want to thank you for stopping by! Feel through to peruse the tabs above to learn more about our history and the books and greeting cards we offer. Several of our cards are pictured here; please visit our Christmas cards page for a closer look at all of the designs.

“The Holy Family” (left), an original painting by Lutheran artist Kelly Klages, is based on a beautiful 19th-century stained glass.adoration-800px

Our newest card, “The Adoration of the Shepherds” (right), is an 18th-century oil painting by German artist C.W.E. Dietrich. Originally painted in color, our black and white version allows the light emanating from the infant Christ to shine within the darkness of the stable.

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In “Magnificat” (left), artist Meghan Schultz paired the depiction of Mary and Jesus (from “The Virgin of the Lilies” by 19th-century artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau) with hand-lettered words from the Song of Mary. She also added hand-drawn fleur-de-lis in the corners as a nod to Bouguereau’s French heritage and the lilies in his original piece, symbolic of Mary. The text inside features a verse from the beloved hymn, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.”

illumination-front“Illumination” (left) is another original painting from Kelly Klages featuring the style of an illuminated manuscript with its decorated initial and elaborate border.

The artwork from “Nativity” (right) comes from theNativity cover final-600px Imperial Cathedral of Speyer, Germany. These Nazarene-style frescos were painted in the cathedral’s interior walls in the mid-1800s by Johann von Schraudolph at the behest of King Ludwig I of Bavaria. The city of Speyer is significant in Reformation history; adherents of the Reformation were first called Protestants when they protested the Holy Roman Empire’s ban against Martin Luther and his teachings at an Imperial Diet in Speyer in 1529.

Thank you for visiting, and be sure to visit our Christmas cards page for a look at all of the cards and more details about the artwork.

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Seed-Grains of Prayer: Longings for a Quiet and Peaceable Life

seed-grains-grid“Dear Lord, how miserably unreasonable it is that while the kingdoms of this world flourish and are sustained by the prayers of Thy Church, yet, at the same time, these do oppress and recklessly tread under foot Thy poor Church by whose prayers, faithfully offered, they are helped. For it is the Church alone, O God, whom Thou hast commanded to exercise care and diligence to pray for all in authority, as St. Paul has counseled (1 Timothy 2); and Thou hast so commanded because man needs peace, order, discipline, and safety to spread Thy Word, and by the Word to gather the Church. Grant, therefore, beloved Father, that under our government we may lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty, as may be well pleasing to Thee. Amen.”

Wilhelm Loehe in Seed Grains of Prayer, #242

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The Word Remains: All Saints’ Day

“Therefore, take comfort: it is not all over for those who have fallen asleep in the Lord! They are merely sleeping. He who by His own death-sleep in the grave sanctified our graves as mere bedrooms stands even now at the deathbed, calling, ‘Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden!’ And when He lays them in the dust of death, He says, ‘I will give you rest!’ and ‘Here you will find rest.’ And if death is sleep, then each of the dead have the hope of resurrection.”

-an excerpt from The Word Remains: Selected Writings on the Church Year and the Christian Life by Wilhelm Löhe

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The Word Remains: Festival of the Reformation

front-cover400px-max“The Reformation, my friends, what was it? We know what the Church looked like before it, but what was it really? Judge whether this is true. I say, it was a time when the Lord went into His temple, braided a whip of cords, and cleansed His courts.

“Yes, the Reformation was a cleansing of the temple. Or is that not so? Where now do we have all that indulgence nonsense, masses for the dead, sacrifices of the mass, works-righteousness, and all the endless supply of worthless trinkets? That whole business was overthrown and swept out. The Word of the Lord drove into it like a punishing whip and put an end to the spiritual torment, the heavy yoke laid on by men and yet not humanly possible, but unbearable. The Word of the Lord burst in and overturned the chaos of self-interest, the marketplace of self- and works-righteousness. And the one who remained in the temple was the Lord with His apostles and disciples, with His sweet Gospel.”

-an excerpt from The Word Remains: Selected Writings on the Church Year and the Christian Life by Wilhelm Löhe (pp. 36-37)

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What resources are there to learn Gregorian chant?

lh_mockuprender_800px300dpiMore from our interview with editor and translator Matthew Carver: “Basic instruction in Gregorian chant was not in view in this volume for a couple reasons: there are already great resources for it, and Liber Hymnorum was envisioned as a sort of supplement to other Lutheran chant resources already in use. That being said, anyone who knows how to read modern notation can use the music in the English section as a basis for learning all the Latin hymns and chants without knowledge of Gregorian chant, since they are (with few exceptions) largely the same, despite their different looks. So to keep down the size and price of the volume while simultaneously providing as many of these hymns and chants as possible, I’ve left instruction in Gregorian chant to others.

“First, if you have The Brotherhood Prayer Book and its accompanying CD, you already have a good introduction to Gregorian chant that will give you all you need to sing from the Latin section of Liber Hymnorum. (A Liber Hymnorum CD is also in the works!) There are several online resources, too, such as “An Idiot’s Guide to Square Notes” and the Corpus Christi Watershed site, which includes instruction and audio examples in How to Read and Sing Gregorian Chant. There is an active group on Facebook called “Gregorian Chant is for Everyone” as well as a group devoted to The Brotherhood Prayer Book (“Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood”), where questions concerning chant can be answered. In short, there is little to keep people from learning to sing from Gregorian notation—in fact, once you get the basics from one of these resources, you find it really is simpler, more flexible, and more forgiving than standard modern notation!

“As far as Latin pronunciation is concerned, we’ve normalized the old Reformation-period spelling so that it can be pronounced according to the classical method or the Roman or German ecclesiastical (church Latin) method, though for the sake of rhyme the latter is preferred. Some instructions in pronouncing churchly Latin can be found here, and there is a good comparative table in the Wikipedia article “Latin regional pronunciation.”  Students of Latin may find it best to use the accent familiar to them from their curriculum. In any case, when singing with others, it is wise to agree on the method of pronunciation beforehand!”

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Pr. Rob Paul reviews Liber Hymnorum

lh_mockuprender_800px300dpiLiber Hymnorum is yet another example of Mr. Matthew Carver’s ability and propensity to deliver to our generation the great, lost treasures of the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s past. Mr. Carver and Emmanuel Press have done the churches and schools of the Church a great service by editing and publishing such a fine volume of hymns.

“The Liber consists of a significant introduction, two sections of hymns, and significant indices for hymn enthusiasts and scholars alike. The introduction details not only the contents and thought behind the volume, but also provides significant information about the hymns and hymn books of the early Lutheran Church. Each hymn comes from the Lutheran books of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Here readers are introduced to the names of Lucas Lossius and Matthäus Ludecus, among others. Liber Hymnorum promises to provide not only a wealth of resources for the scholar of Lutheran hymnody and Latin hymnody, but also a useful volume for the classical schools, choirs, teachers, and pastors of our Church.

“With regards to the hymnal itself, first, there are English hymns for use during the week, the Church Year, for feasts and festivals, and for general and seasonal use. Second, the same hymns are presented in their original Latin texts. The English portion of the hymnal provides the tunes of the hymns in modern music notation. This provides a level of accessibility to these hymns of the Church that has not existed before. Many hymns will be new; however, some popular favorites are represented in this volume (In Dulci Jubilo, “Lord Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word,” “Creator of the Stars of Night,” and “Savior of the Nations Come,” among others). The Liber also exposes the Church to the wide breadth of hymns written for specific times and occasions that have been hidden from the Church’s use for so long.

“In the Latin portion, these hymns are presented in Gregorian notation. Since the same hymns are presented in modern music notation earlier in the hymnal, these tones are now more accessible for the musically inclined. One thing that is lacking is an explanation of neumes – that is, Gregorian notation – or at least references that direct novices towards more material if they are interested. The Brotherhood Prayer Book is referenced in the introduction, and it contains such material. But for use in schools, if pastors and teachers wish to educate on Gregorian notation, a supplement to this hymnal is necessary.

“Finally, the indices provide novices and scholars alike with resources concerning the tones used throughout the hymnal. The indices also contain comprehensive lists of the authors, composers, and sources contained in the book.

Liber Hymnorum looks to be a volume worthy of any classical Lutheran school, Latin student, music student, Lutheran pastor or musician, or even the avid layperson. What once was inaccessible to most is now available to many in a great and friendly format. The Liber is a useable hymnal with great potential. It is my hope that classical Lutheran schools, church youth and adult choirs, pastors and laity alike will take advantage of this resource in order to better understand and embrace the rich heritage Lutherans have in the Latin hymnody presented in Liber Hymnorum.”

-Rev. Robert W. Paul, Pastor and Headmaster, Immanuel Lutheran Church and School, Roswell, NM; Board Member of the Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education (CCLE)

*In our next post, Matthew Carver will answer the question, “What resources are there to help learn Gregorian chant?” Like us on Facebook or sign up for email updates on the right sidebar.

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