Emmanuel Press to release second edition of Katie Schuermann’s He Remembers the Barren

We are excited to announce a partnership with Katie Schuermann to publish the second edition of her breakthrough debut, He Remembers the Barren. First published in 2011, He Remembers the Barren is a tender conversation with women in the church who wrestle with the issue of barrenness in marriage. Schuermann offers encouragement and support to those struggling with infertility, gently addressing issues such as control of our bodies, family planning, adoption, and the source of conception, all while reminding the reader of her clear vocation in Christ and pointing her to the ultimate source of fruitfulness, vitality, and comfort: our Triune God. This book is not only for barren women but also for anyone seeking insight into suffering and hope; Schuermann focuses on our identity in Christ, told through the lens of barrenness.

As the author notes, “Eight years have passed since I first began writing He Remembers the Barren, and the time is ripe for a second edition. I have grown in my knowledge and understanding of the topic of barrenness, both through personal experience and study, and I would like my confession of the theology of the cross in the book to proclaim more clearly how our heavenly Father disciplines us, His dear children, through the gift of suffering in this life. I also feel compelled to better and further address the topics of adoption and the ethical issues surrounding in vitro fertilization and other such procedures utilized in the field of infertility medicine.”

While much of the original book’s content will remain, the reader can expect revisions throughout as well as new chapters and a Q & A appendix helpful for those who desire children and for their loved ones who wish to serve and comfort them. The second edition will also contain questions at the end of each chapter, providing for both individual and group study. New cover artwork will capture the grief and suffering of barrenness but also the hope and comfort found in Christ.

We anticipate the release date to be early this summer. More details to come!

To learn more about the author, visit www.katieschuermann.com.

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Lang on Traditional Rites and Ceremonies

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“The danger of the traditional rites and ceremonies degenerating into formalism and even superstition has shown itself here and there in all ages. But the same danger is manifested in the use of nontraditional rites and ceremonies of the so-called informal churches. Because of that danger, some people have denounced all rites and ceremonies. But such denunciations solve nothing. First of all, it is impossible to live without some kind of rites and ceremonies, and secondly, the history of the church shows that the solution is not in trying to discard the traditional ceremonies, but in revitalizing them by constantly teaching their meaning and value.”

-Paul H.D. Lang in Ceremony and Celebration

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Thy Kingdom Come: An Excerpt from Septuagesima

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“God isn’t like you. He doesn’t think the way you think. His ways are not your ways. And He doesn’t owe you, or anyone, anything. For reasons all His own, however, He loves and welcomes you into His kingdom—not for free, but for the bloody, torturous death of His beloved Son. This is the essence of the Gospel: The Lord rewards those who don’t deserve it. He loves those who hate and abuse Him. He gives gifts to those who steal from Him. He is generous, merciful, and good despite you. If that doesn’t send a tingle down your spine, and you haven’t just lost a baby or your mother, shame on you. The Gospel doesn’t promise an emotional reaction, but it almost always gives it. The Bible calls that emotion joy.”

-David H. Petersen in Thy Kingdom Come, now 20% off though Friday, Feb. 10

Pre-Lent begins with Septuagesima, which is only 5 days away! With over sixty sermons spanning Pre-Lent, all forty days of Lent, and the Sundays after Easter, this book serves as an excellent daily devotion for both pastors and parishioners. Use the word cloud in the right sidebar to find more excerpts and also have a look at our reviews.

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Thy Kingdom Come: Lent and Easter Sermons by David H. Petersen

With Ash Wednesday just one month away, now is the time to order your copy of Thy Kingdom Come. This book of sixty sermons actually begins with Septuagesima (February 12) and continues with Pre-Lent, all forty days of Lent, and the Sundays after Easter. Pastors and parishioners alike find it to be an excellent daily devotion during Lent. Click on the Reviews tab above for links to interviews and reviews, have a look at the Table of Contents here, or use the word cloud in the right sidebar (“Thy Kingdom Come” or “Petersen”) to find a variety of excerpts.

“Almost no one I know of has the ability that Fr. Petersen has to simply speak God’s truth to us – both in its devastating exposure of the darkest secrets of our hearts and in its intense comfort to the troubled conscience. You can tell the man likes and reads poetry. You can tell the man likes, reads, and knows his Luther.”
-Rev. William Weedon

“Preaching is not primarily teaching, but teaching goes on in the process of proclaiming the Good News. Pastor Petersen has a way of cutting to the chase quickly in explaining biblical symbolism….He has the gift to speak with accessible profundity without falling into academic jargon. Pastor Petersen also brings in etymology and translation issues from the original languages, at times preaching in poetic patterns and lushly picturesque turns of phrase, thereby searing biblical imagery into the mind.”
-Rev. Larry Beane, “Meet my New ‘Old Friend‘”

“[W]hen I’m in the Divine Service, when my Lord is there for me really and bodily, I need to hear that I stink, that I’m an awful sinner, that I need to be humbled at every turn. I need to hear that He’s forgiven me for all those things, that the way in which He loved me was to die for me, that He is my comfort and peace, that He fills all the gaps and the holes I didn’t even know I had and the ones I’m painfully aware of….You get a chunk of Law and a heaping dose of Gospel, a lethal and loving set of Lent and Easter sermons in Thy Kingdom Come….The comfort of the Gospel isn’t vague and nebulous in these sermons. It’s real. It’s actual. It’s Christ incarnate for you in ways you’ve never understood before. You will know hope and peace. You will be relieved of your suffering because Jesus lives.”   -Adriane Heins, “A Resolution You Can Keep

“I commend this book of sermons for pastors to hone the art of purposeful and exegetically grounded preaching….It is helpful for pastors to read the sermons of other faithful pastors to break free their own style and usual vocabulary to express the unchanging faith. Pastor Petersen gives much in the way of a model for both new and experienced pastors who want to deliver a sound proclamation of Christ into our postmodern context. For the laity, sermons are most always good devotional material to read….While Pastor Petersen’s sermons are meaty and substantive, they are also very accessible, and most of them are brief enough for a brief gathering of the family for prayer and catechesis.”
-Rev. John Frahm, a review on Brothers of John the Steadfast

“This is the hallmark of a good sermon: does it preach Jesus Christ crucified for you, a sinner? If it doesn’t, no matter how good it may be in other respects, it is not a good sermon. St. Paul himself said, ‘For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified’ (1 Cor. 2:2). Jesus requires this of his preachers. He charges His Church with the task of preaching repentance and the forgiveness of sins in His Name to all nations (Luke 24:47)….Every one of Pr. Petersen’s sermons is a bloody mess of Law and Gospel. The mess of your sin and the mess of Jesus’ cross are on display in every sermon. No matter the occasion, no matter the readings, every sermon is about Jesus in His saving work, Jesus crucified for you.”
-from the Foreword by Rev. Todd Wilken

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Symposia Sale: All books up to 25% off

In honor of the annual Symposia at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne next week, all of our books are on sale through Saturday, January 21! And if you’re planning to come, please note that there will not be an Emmanuel Press table at the Symposia next week, but you can place your order online and pick it up while you’re in town. (We’ll reimburse shipping.)

Explore our website by using the tabs above or the “word cloud” on the right sidebar. In addition, here are brief descriptions of each book:

*The Brotherhood Prayer Book (and CD) includes services for the day (Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vepsers, and Compline), the entire Psalter, daily and seasonal propers, and a Beichtspiegel unique to the BPB.

*Paul H.D. Lang’s Ceremony & Celebration gives a confessional apology for why the Lutheran Church is a liturgical church. It instructs in every aspect of the service, such as liturgical actions, liturgical space, and the church year. It explains why we do what we do.

*The Conduct of the Service describes what to do in the chancel, such as where to stand and how to move so that the emphasis remains on Christ and not on the liturgist.

*Prof. John Pless’s Didache uses the Bible, Luther’s Small Catechism, and the hymnal to instruct in a basic pattern of catechesis which expounds upon doctrine, liturgy, and vocation.

*An Explanation of the Common Service is an excellent supplement to Ceremony & Celebration in that it explains the actual words, or the rite, of the Divine Service. Read a review here.

*Liber Hymnorum: The Latin Hymns of the Lutheran Church is a collection of hymns taken exclusively from Lutheran hymnals and chant-books of the Reformation and post-Reformation era. It is two hymnals in one, the first half being English, the second Latin, exactly mirroring the first half in contents and numbering.

*The prayers in Wilhelm Loehe’s Seed Grains of Prayer contain collects for all occasions and are particularly good for personal devotion.

*Thy Kingdom Come and God With Us by Pr. David Petersen are books of sermons which are invaluable for homiletical ideas and for the devotional reading of good Law & Gospel sermons. In particular, Thy Kingdom Come offers over sixty sermons spanning Pre-Lent, all forty days of Lent, and the Sundays after Easter. Many customers find it to be an excellent daily devotion during Lent.

*What an Altar Guild Should Know gives details about church services, rubrics, altar care, sacred vessels, and other topics related to liturgical worship. However, anyone who is interested in liturgical worship will appreciate Lang’s keen theological insight into why reverence and beauty and the externals of worship matter.

In The Word Remains, Wilhelm Löhe gives insight into the confessional Lutheran understanding of the church year, the Word of God, and matters related to the Christian life.

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On the use of ceremonies

Why is it that some Christians kneel, bow, genuflect, make the sign of the cross on themselves, or hold their hands in a particular fashion during the Divine Service? These physical actions are called ceremonies, which are solemn religious actions that help to confess what we believe.

As Paul H.D. Lang writes in Ceremony and Celebration, “Communication is not limited to language. We express ourselves to others and we receive impressions from others and from God through signs and symbols. These communications by signs and symbols are often more effective than those of language. While this is true in ordinary life, it is particularly true in the church’s worship. The things communicated there have to do with the mysteries of our holy faith. These deep mysteries cannot, of course, be communicated so as to be understood fully or else they would no longer be mysteries. But signs and symbols often communicate the realities of the mysteries better than language.” (p. 64)

Here are a few brief excerpts on the particular actions, taken from Lang’s much more detailed explanations in his book:

  • “For standing, sitting, and kneeling, the general rule is that we stand for prayer and praise, we sit for instruction and for lengthy chants and hymns, and we kneel for confession and adoration.” (p. 66)
  • “Bowing and genuflecting are very closely related. A genuflection is merely a more profound bow….Bowing or kneeling when the words of the Nicene Creed are said, ‘And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost…and was made man,’ expresses reverent awe over God’s grace in becoming man in order to redeem us. Luther speaks at length about the meaning of these words and how we should show our appreciation and reverence for the Incarnation.” (p. 68-69)
  • “Crossing oneself was practiced by Christians from the earliest centuries and may go back to apostolic times….It is one of the traditional ceremonies that was most definitely retained by Luther and the Lutheran Church in the 16th-century Reformation….The holy cross is the symbol of our salvation. We were signed with it when we were baptized. It is the sign by which the church blesses people and things. By using it we become part of the wonderful history of our faith and companions in the company of the saints. It is right that we should make the sign of the cross frequently and to glory in it, saying with St. Paul, ‘God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Gal. 6:14)”. (p. 72-73)
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A Sermon for the Fourth Day of Christmas: Holy Innocents

We don’t usually post entire sermons on our website, but quoting excerpts out of context just didn’t seem fitting in this case. In this sermon, found in God With Us, Pr. David Petersen offers comfort and hope on this most solemn of days when we remember the slaughter of the boys of Bethlehem, whom we fitting call the Holy Innocents.
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He came unto His own. His own received Him not. It is not merely wicked Herod. It is all of Jerusalem that rejects Him, for all of Jerusalem is deeply troubled at the coming of the wise men from the East.

The wise men want to know where the King of kings, the Prince of Peace, is to be born. They are wise by virtue of Daniel. He had prophesied in their country. He must have brought them at least some of the books of Moses, for they have Balaam’s promised sign of a star. They have seen it fulfilled. By faith, with trust that the God of Moses has fulfilled these things and provided a Savior, they come to worship the one thereby announced. But the star, for the time being, has only led them to Jerusalem, and they do not know where the Messiah is.

It seems that they did not have all of the Old Testament, that they did not have even all of the things written by the time of Daniel. In any case, they did not have Micah’s promise to Bethlehem, even though Micah predates Daniel. But it was not a great mystery as to where the Messiah was to be born for those who did. The priests were well-trained in the Scriptures. They knew all about the thirty pieces of silver and the potter’s field. They were quick to respond to the wise inquiry: “Bethlehem.”

And yet, none of those Biblical scholars followed the wise men to Bethlehem. Instead, they were troubled with Herod, and all Jerusalem with them. They were not rejoicing. They were raging, plotting. They did not want the Messiah and the necessary upset that He would bring to the world. Herod lashed out with Satanic hatred and violence unequaled in all of time, and he did so with the consent of both Jerusalem and the theologians. The boys of Bethlehem and their mothers bore the brunt of that wicked rage.

The boys gave up their lives while the fullness of God hidden in Mary’s babe slipped off in the night. What kind of a God is this who lets the babies die? What kind of a reward is this for David’s city? Where is the peace pronounced by angels to the shepherds in Bethlehem’s fields? Where is God’s good will toward men?

The answer is not very satisfying to our intellect: the ways of God are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. But it is satisfying to faith. And if you think that you have plumbed those depths, that you understand Him, that His ways and thoughts make sense, then you have committed idolatry. You are worshiping a figment of your imagination which you call God but who looks and thinks like you. Repent. He is not fully comprehensible and we cannot judge Him. We have no right to make demands or to insist on what seems just to us. We submit in faith and wait for His goodness to be revealed.

What we have is what He has given us. We have His Word. It is His revelation to us, His self-revealing. We can go nowhere else. In that Holy Book we are told that in this way, by the horror of Herod’s slaughter in Bethlehem, is the prophecy from Hosea fulfilled: “[O]ut of Egypt I called my son” (Hos. 11:1). That was the purpose and it is good. The boys died. Their mothers mourned and refused comfort. Jesus escaped in weakness, and in weakness He came forth again from Egypt after Herod’s death. He is the Lamb led to the slaughter without complaint or resistance, but not until the appointed time. He responded to Herod’s violence, even as He would later to Caiaphas and Pilate, with humility.

He submitted to their violence, but only of His own will, in His own time, on His own terms. God is hidden in the weakness of that infant flesh. No one forces His hand. The daring rescue of mankind that will cost Him His life cannot be thwarted, but it will only be accomplished when all things are fulfilled. In the meantime, the boys of Bethlehem are spared a life of suffering. They went early to their reward. Unlike their mothers, their hearts were never broken. They were never lonely. And thanks be to God, they never had to suffer the disabling sadness that comes from outliving one’s children.

They died that day so that Jesus might escape and return to die for them. His martyrdom is the liberating gift to the boys of Bethlehem. His life is exchanged for theirs. They seemed to die that day, but they really lived. Herod delivered them to heaven, peace, and joy without measure. Thus they praise God still, not by speaking but by dying. Their lives are empty of themselves and are filled with Him.

So it must be for each of us. The life Jesus lived, He lived for us. The death He died, He died for us. And the resurrection to which He rose, He rose for us. When we are broken upon Him, who was rejected by the appointed builders but made the chief stone by the Father in heaven, then the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is ours. He breaks us, empties us, so that He might rebuild and fill us. He slays us so that He might raise us again to life. His ways are not our ways: they are better, even when they hurt. In the end, we are the ones who are called out of Egypt and away from Pharaoh’s slavery to sin and death. He makes us weak, like children, and then in Him—only in Him, always in Him—we are strong.

“He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:11-12 KJV). The boys of Bethlehem were not abandoned. Their mothers found comfort in the wounds of Jesus who died also for them. Now they have been reunited with their sons. They will never be separated again. And already now, after maybe fifty long years of grief here on earth without their babies, they have enjoyed nearly two thousand years in perfect bliss won by Jesus with their children. Thus saith the Lord to the women of Ramah who refused comfort, “Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and [thy children] shall come again from the land of the enemy” (Jer. 31:16 KJV). Death is not the end. The enemy loses. He does not get our children. He does not get us. Rachel is rewarded.

Thus St. Paul writes: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18 KJV).

God be praised. He does all things well.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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See also: A Hymn for Holy Innocents sung in Gregorian chant.

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The Brotherhood Prayer Book: O Antiphons

BPB-new pictureThe O Antiphons are historic antiphons designated for the Magnificat, which is the traditional canticle for Vespers. There are seven O Antiphons, sung on the seven Vespers leading up to December 24th. Three years ago, we asked Pr. Sean Daenzer to record these Antiphons sung to the Gregorian tones in The Brotherhood Prayer Book, beginning on page 397, along with the Magnificat. We’re posting them again this year with links to each one.

The order for singing this Vespers canticle is Antiphon, Magnificat, Antiphon. The name of each antiphon is derived from Old Testament titles given to the Messiah. In fact, the hymn, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” is a lyrical version of these antiphons.

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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.

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

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