Just in time for the beginning of the church year on Advent 1, we are pleased to offer a new free download of Solid Declaration readings for major feasts and Sundays of the one-year series. Reading the Lutheran Confessions is important to both pastor and parishioner. When done weekly, it is a helpful and salutary discipline. Pr. Craig Meissner of Immanuel Lutheran Church, U.A.C., Steger, Illinois, has provided the following reading schedule, linking sections of the Solid Declaration to the church year themes in the historic one-year series.
Pr. Meissner writes:
The Solid Declaration is a document of utmost importance for confessional Lutherans. Like other books contained in the Book of Concord, it teaches key distinctions and doctrines essential for understanding and abiding in the true faith in the face of errors that American Lutherans still confront today. The Solid Declaration usually does this with less-detailed discussions of people, places, histories, etc., of those involved in the various controversies compared to other confessional documents, except the creeds and catechisms. Parishioners may therefore find these selections less cumbersome, though still very much edifying, making it appropriate for printing in a church bulletin or newsletter and perhaps inspiring further study of the Lutheran Confessions.
The vast majority of the Solid Declaration is covered in this reading schedule. My goal was to apply nearly all of the Solid Declaration to each of the church year Sundays and most major festivals commonly observed in our congregations. Keeping in mind the limited space of church bulletins and newsletters, I omitted only those paragraphs where a controversy or heretical position was introduced without a sufficient conclusion or rebuttal as well as those that contained extraneous personal or local details.
Some days of the church year have multiple options from the Solid Declaration provided; others have just one. You will note that the selections tend to be shorter during the “school year” and longer in the Trinity season, when there would likely be more space in a church bulletin. The pastor may alter these as he deems fit. One more suggestion before beginning this exercise: the pastor may wish to first present “The Comprehensive Summary, Foundation, Rule, and Norm” as an introduction to the readings.
May this chart be a useful and edifying tool for you and those you serve in the Lord’s Name.
Pr. Craig Meissner, S.T.M.
Immanuel Lutheran Church, U.A.C., Steger, Illinois