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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Strodach on Liturgy

“The minister will study the liturgy of the Church in order to know its antecedents, its history, meaning and harmony, its symbolism, spiritual power, and eloquence. He will study it as the means to an end of worship, in the spirit of devotion: that he may rightly and sensibly guide his people in their devotions. He will seek to teach his people so that they know its story, its meaning, the richness of its treasures, and how to use it unto edification and make it, as it must be to him, the expression of sacred moments and the means to spiritual enrichment. The forms themselves are inspiring, but how much more this all is enhanced when one realizes, that through these, through these very prayers, these selfsame canticles, the actual words that we are using, countless throngs of men and women through the long centuried past have lifted up their hearts to God, and I am uniting mine with theirs in these latter days…. ‘I believe in the Communion of Saints’…!”

-Paul Z. Strodach, A Manual on Worship

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Looking for a Confirmation Gift?

Six Chief Parts FB

Our Six Chief Parts artwork (left), created by Lutheran artist Edward Riojas, features the six chief parts of The Small Catechism in a cruciform shape. It is available as a greeting card or as an 8″ x 10″ print, ready for framing.

The following description of the symbolism is printed on the back of each card and is provided in sticker form with each print for affixing to the back of the frame:

Symbols for each of the six chief parts are arranged in a cruciform shape: tablets of the Law represent the Ten Commandments; chalice and host, the Lord’s Supper; scallop shell with three water drops, Holy Baptism; thurible with incense rising to heaven, the Lord’s Prayer; and crossed keys, the Office of the Keys. Central to all is a triangle interwoven with a circle, symbolizing the Holy Trinity confessed in the Apostle’s Creed. These symbols are charged on a red Latin cross pointing to Christ’s all-atoning sacrifice, which in turn gives life and produces fruit in the life of the Church and her saints.

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Thy Kingdom Come: An Excerpt from Maundy Thursday


“The fruit of the tree is on the paten and in the chalice. The angel of death passes over. He has no claim upon us. We belong to God. We bear His watery name. We eat at His table. We are His people and more. We are not merely guests, sojourners in His house for but an hour, but we are members of the royal family raised up from stones. We are not Gentile dogs hoping for crumbs, worshiping what we do not know. We, by grace, are the Lord’s own beloved and immaculate bride. We belong to God. We are baptized. We eat at His table. We are gathered under the protecting shadow of the cross.”          -an excerpt from the Maundy Thursday sermon in Thy Kingdom Come

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New download: Church Father excerpts formatted as bulletin inserts


Click on the Downloads tab above to find a new (free!) download of Church Father excerpts formatted as bulletin inserts for Easter through Pentecost.

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Scratch & Dent Sale

We have several books with minor cosmetic flaws that we’re offering at 25% off (plus the standard shipping rate, found here). Flaws include a slight fold or scratch on the cover, dented spine or corner, or a slight discoloration on the cover. These dents are simply cosmetic and don’t affect the inside material whatsoever. Here is what’s available:

Contact us if you are interested in purchasing one or more of these books. We’ll then email you a Paypal invoice for payment via credit card or bank transfer. Act fast – we expect them to go quickly!

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Thy Kingdom Come: An Excerpt from Ash Wednesday


“Your ashes are smeared today. There is no beauty in them. The world cannot see anything in them but an ugly smudge of dirt and death. But for those with the eyes of faith, they are in the form of a cross, that most lovely and dear of all symbols, that emblem of our hope…

“So remember that you are dust and that you will return to dust. But remember also that God is a man, dust like you, joined to your temptations and sorrow, welded to your death, who was roasted to death in the Father’s wrath, reduced to ashes, and laid to rest in God’s good acre as a ransom, a whole burnt offering. That man is risen again from the dead and has come forth from the earth like a plant in the spring, that He would be your God. Turn your back on sin. Turn toward the Lord and His mercy. For here is peace and joy. Here is hope and faith.”

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

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Starck’s Prayer Book: Preparation for Lent

“Among the early Christians the holy season of Lent was a season of devotion and prayer, and it was spent in special meditations upon the sufferings of Jesus. This custom is observed among Christians to this day. While Satan has induced the children of the world to enter upon the season of Lent, not with prayer and devotion, but with drunkenness, masquerades, gluttony, dissipation, and wickedness, whereby they show that they care nothing for the crucified Jesus Christ, and trample His blood under foot, the children of God have a different spirit: they regard these things with horror.

“(1) They begin this season with prayer and singing, thus preparing their hearts for the contemplation of the suffering of Jesus. (2) They place before their eyes the entire passion of Jesus: Jesus in Gethsemene, before the council of the Jews, before the judgment-seat of Pilate, upon Golgotha, and on the cross; and while contemplating each detail, they say: All this was done for me!

“(3) While instituting these sacred meditations at home and at church, they do not rest satisfied with the mere history of these events, nor do they allow their devotion to vanish with the passing of Lent; but since they intend to draw comfort from the wounds of Jesus throughout the time of their life, and also in their dying hour, they remember the crucified and risen Jesus as long as they live. This remembrance (4) prompts them to crucify their lusts and desires, causing them to live no longer after the manner of the world, or to sin purposely, but to die unto sin, and to rise spiritually. God blesses such diligence, zeal, and desire for the sanctification of their lives.”
Exhortation from “The Believing Christian, on Entering upon the Holy Season of Lent, Meditates on the Suffering of Jesus Christ,” in Starck’s Prayer Book (p. 107-108)

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New download: Church Father excerpts formatted as bulletin inserts

LENTENTIDEClick on the Downloads tab above to find a new (free!) download of Church Father excerpts formatted as bulletin inserts for Pre-Lent (Septuagesima, Sexagesima, Quinquagesima) through Palm Sunday.

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

thykingdomcome300With Ash Wednesday is just over three weeks away, now is the time to order your copy of Thy Kingdom Come. This book of sixty sermons begins with Septuagesima (this Sunday, February 1) and continues to span Pre-Lent, all forty days of Lent, and the Sundays after Easter. Many customers find it to be an excellent daily devotion during Lent. Click on the Reviews tab above for links to interviews and full reviews, or follow the tags below for 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 Forward by Rev. Todd Wilken

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