He Restores My Soul to release on September 28

We are pleased to announce that He Restores My Soul, edited by Katie Schuermann, will be available sooner than expected – on Friday, September 28! This means that, as of today, there are 10 days left to pre-order and save 10%. Learn more about the authors and topics here.

Additionally, we offer bulk discounts* for the benefit of those who wish to place larger orders. Whether you want to read it on your own or along with members of your book group, study questions accompany each of the chapters in He Restores My Soul to guide your personal study or group discussion. Each of the 14 chapters functions independently from the others, making it easy to read straight through or in parts, allowing for book group members to jump back in after missing a session or two. At the same time, all of the chapters are tied together by Psalm 23 and the Good Shepherd who comforts and cares for us all.

And as a reminder, you can also save 10% on He Remembers the Barren, which is a sort of companion book to He Restores My Soul. After we partnered with Schuermann to publish a revised and expanded edition of this book which gently examines barrenness, infertility, and the source of conception, reader comments led us to consider another book which would broaden the discussion of suffering to a wider variety of topics.

*Bulk discount details for He Restores My Soul:
Save 15% on orders of 10-19 books, 20% off 20-29 books, 25% off 30+ books. Contact us for a customized invoice.

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A helpful video series with commentary on the Divine Service

For those who want to learn more about why we do what we do in the Divine Service, we always recommend Ceremony and Celebration and The Conduct of the Service. Additionally, we want to call your attention to resources found on the YouTube channel of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Along with recorded services and Bible classes, there is a set of videos in which Pr. David Petersen describes historic practices and ceremony within the context of Divine Service 3. The videos combine parts of a recorded service with his commentary. As Pr. Petersen states, “All Lutheran rubrics, in a sense, are ‘may’ rubrics. That is to say, everything in this is adiaphora.” His helpful explanation of these “ceremonies, particularly how they’ve been modified and in practice at Redeemer,” will be of interest both to pastors, who are the primary audience, and also to parishioners, who will benefit from deeper knowledge of the reverence and history of ceremony in the Divine Service.

Watch the series: Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six.

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10% off both Schuermann books

He Restores My Soul is scheduled for release in early October! In the meantime, there’s plenty to explore. Check out the full listing of authors and chapter topics here; there are links at the bottom of that page connecting you to details about the cover artist and the book cover along with interviews with each of the authors (posted on Katie Schuermann’s blog). Artist Rebecca Shewmaker and Pr. Rick Stuckwisch, who contributed a pastoral response at the end of the book, are also featured in the interviews.

Did you know that He Restores My Soul is a sequel of sorts to He Remembers the Barren? After we partnered with Schuermann to publish a revised and expanded edition of this book which gently examined barrenness, infertility, and the source of conception, reader comments led us to consider another book which would broaden the discussion of suffering to a wider variety of topics. Read more about it here. And leading up to the release, you can save 10% on both books!

Follow along by signing up for email updates on the right sidebar or by liking Emmanuel Press and Katie Schuermann on Facebook.

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A Saturday Evening Prayer

“Almighty God, holy and merciful Father, who in six days didst create heaven and earth, and all that is in them, and didst rest on the seventh day, grant Thy grace unto me, Thy servant, that in true faith I may partake of the rest which Jesus Christ, Thy Son, merited for me. Let my conscience be at peace from all painful, spiritual, and physical trials; and, when I have labored sufficiently in this vale of sorrow, release me according to Thy gracious will and lead me into Thy rest against the day when, with all Thy saints, I shall rejoice in one Sabbath of peace after another. Grant me this, O God and Father; through Thy Son Jesus Christ, in the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

-Saturday evening prayer from Wilhelm Loehe’s Seed Grains of Prayer

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Unveiling the book cover: He Restores My Soul

For the cover of He Restores My Soul, Katie Schuermann and Emmanuel Press commissioned an original work of art from Rebecca Shewmaker. While we gathered together ideas and expressed our vision to Rebecca, it was her artistic talent and theological understanding that produced a painting even more beautiful and peaceful than we imagined. Amidst the suffering and stress of this life, the Good Shepherd guards and keeps us, for “we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand” (Psalm 95:7).

The sky is streaked with pink to indicate dawn, showing the hopefulness of a new day and reminding us that we will be with our Shepherd on that final new day. Rebecca based the landscape on her memories of pastures near her childhood home, pastures which always have wide open fields with treed fence lines. Jesus faces the sheep and is attentive to them; the sheep are aware of His presence and are generally oriented toward Him. They are relaxed, however, feeling free and confident to do what sheep do – sit, eat, and wander around. Some of them are closer to Him, some further away, but they (and we) are always well within His care.

To create this tranquil scene, Rebecca used watercolor paint, applying thin layers that build color and tone from lightest to darkest. The first step in this landscape painting was the sky with its soft wash of pink, blue, and yellow. The field and trees were painted next in several layers, followed by the shadows and details on the sheep and shepherd.

For more information about He Restores My Soul and a complete list of authors and topics, visit our pre-order page, where you can save 10% by ordering before the release date. We are also in the final days of our Christmas in July sale! Save 20% on Christmas cards available only at Emmanuel Press.

Special thanks to our graphic designer Meghan Schultz, who collaborated with Janet Frese to design the cover. Visit Meghan’s Etsy site for a wide variety of theologically-based artwork, greeting cards, and decor.

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Christmas in July! Save 20% on all Christmas cards

It’s time for our annual Christmas in July sale! All Christmas cards are 20% off through Tuesday, July 31.

The card pictured here, A Child is Born, features illuminated artwork from a 14th-century choir book from a monastery in Italy. The inside greeting confesses, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Visit our Christmas cards page for more details and to see all 10 designs, found only at Emmanuel Press.

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The Great Works of God: Exodus – “Exegetically Profound and Spiritually Enriching”

Luther once said, “Remove Christ from the Scriptures and what more will you find in them?” For Luther and his fellow confessors, the whole of Scripture pointed to Christ and found its meaning in Him. Valerius Herberger’s robust Christological and sacramental reading of the Book of Exodus in The Great Works of God exemplifies this tradition.

Herberger, a gifted pastor and preacher, guides the reader through the mysteries of Christ in a manner that is both exegetically profound and spiritually enriching. He helpfully incorporates insights from the Church’s great theologians and hymns and ends his meditations with brief prayers. Herberger’s unique commentary will be useful for pastors preparing to preach and for families gathering for daily devotions. All who wish to see Christ in Exodus and to find comfort in the saving work of the Trinity will want to buy this book.

Matthew Carver has rendered a wonderful service to the church with his elegant translation and insightful notes. I wholeheartedly commend this beautiful commentary to all.

-Dr. Carl Beckwith, Professor of History and Doctrine
Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

For excerpts and purchase information, visit The Great Works of God, Parts Five and Six: The Mysteries of Christ in the Book of Exodus.

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A Hymn for the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

The Nativity of John the Baptist in Speyer, Germany
Audio: Listen to A Hymn for the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist chanted.

1. Let the example of Saint John remind us,
Ere we can meetly sing his deeds of wonder,
Hearts must be chastened,
And the bonds that bind us broken asunder!

2. Lo! a swift angel, from the skies descending,
Tells to his father what shall be his naming;
All his life’s greatness to its bitter ending
Duly proclaiming.

3. But when he doubted what the angel told him,
Came to him dumbness to confirm the story;
At John’s appearing, healed again behold him,
Chanting John’s glory!

4. Oh! what a splendour and a revelation
Came to each mother, at his joyful leaping,
Greeting his Monarch, King of ev’ry nation,
In the womb sleeping.

5. E’en in his childhood, ‘mid the desert places,
He had a refuge from the city gained,
Far from all slander and its bitter traces,
Living unstained.

6. Often had prophets in the distant ages
Sung to announce the Daystar and to name Him;
But as the Savior, last of all the sages,
John did proclaim Him.

7. Than John the Baptist, none of all Eve’s daughters
E’er bore a greater, whether high or lowly:
He was thought worthy, washing in the waters
Jesus the holy.

8. Angels in orders everlasting praise Thee,
God in Thy triune Majesty tremendous;
Hark to the prayers we, penitents, upraise Thee:
Save and defend us. Amen.

__________

Antra deserti, Paulus Diaconus, 8th century, trans. by R.E. Roberts, alt.
*At Morning Prayer: stanzas 1-4, 8; at Vespers: stanzas 5-8.
*An excerpt from The Brotherhood Prayer Book

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Weedon endorses The Great Works of God: Exodus

And just when you thought that the great works of God couldn’t get any greater after you’ve had the joy of Jesus all through his read of Genesis, Valerius Herberger marches into Exodus, and it’s more Jesus under every bush. Well, in every bush that burns and is not consumed!

What a tremendous blessing translator Matthew Carver has given us to enjoy the insights of Herberger’s iconic read of the Scriptures in English. Irenaeus famously wrote that the heretics take the stones of the mosaic that is Scripture and rearrange them, so that what emerges is a picture, not of the great King, but of a fox. Herberger is no heretic! He lets the stones be just where the Spirit plops them, but by that same Spirit he opens our eyes to see in them on every page the astounding image of the great King whose love embraced a world on His cross that it might live through Him.

There is no wonder this man was regarded as the Lutheran Chrysostom. His piety burns with the fire of the Spirit and his joy in Christ is unquenchable, nourished by the Sacred Scriptures. You will be so blessed by joining Herberger on your journey and letting him be your guide in the Word. The Church owes a debt of gratitude to Matthew Carver for this labor of love, to the Master of Divinity Class of 2018 of Concordia Theological Seminary for the foresight to fund such an endeavor, and to Emmanuel Press for publishing it!

-William Weedon, Chaplain, LCMS Director of Worship

For excerpts and purchase information, visit The Great Works of God, Parts Five and Six: The Mysteries of Christ in the Book of Exodus.

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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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