New Look: Ceremony and Celebration

While the content remains the same, Ceremony and Celebration has a new cover of red faux leather embossed with a gold leaf in lay. We’re very pleased with the quality of the materials and printing, and we know that our customers will love the smooth finish and stunning colors.

“Our attitude toward human rites and ceremonies is evangelical, not legalistic. Rubrics and directions do not proceed from the Law but from the Gospel. We do not want conformity on the basis of legal compunction, but on the basis of our new life in Jesus Christ by which we are made free from the curse of the Law and are enabled by the Holy Spirit to live more and more in Christian love and liberty.” (p. 22)

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General Rules of Ceremony: The Fourth Principle

And now for the last principle of the general rules of ceremony, as outlined by Paul H.D. Lang in Ceremony and Celebration. In this book, Lang discusses how the confessional Lutheran position on ceremony is based on both tradition and the Holy Scriptures.

“The fourth principle is humility. We are exhorted, not only to be humble before God: ‘Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God’ (1 Peter 5:6), but also to be humble in our relationship with our fellow Christians: ‘Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another’ (Rom. 12:10). The rule governing the ceremony of kneeling for the confession of sins, for example, is based on this law. So also are the rules pertaining to the ceremonies of showing respect to one another, of honoring a person’s position and office, and of the place of rank in a seating arrangement and procession.” (p. 62)

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General Rules of Ceremony: The Third Principle

In the two previous posts, we described the first and second principles of the general rules of ceremony as outlined by Paul Lang in Ceremony and Celebration. In this book, Lang discusses how the confessional Lutheran position on ceremony is based on both tradition and the Holy Scriptures.

candc-gridNow, the third: “The law of order is another basis for rules of ceremony. This law is expressed in the Word of God, ‘Let everything be done decently and in order’ (1 Cor. 14:40). God is a God of order. He is against disorder, confusion, slovenliness, crudeness, and ugliness. If that is true in every area of our lives, it is particularly true when God is present with us in a special way in the church’s worship. The Old Testament worship which God prescribed was, in every detail of the tabernacle and temple, the sacred vessels and vestments, the rites and ceremonies of the services, orderly and beautiful. We have no such detailed prescriptions in the New Testament, but the principle remains. The rules governing the traditional ceremonies are based on the law of order.” (p. 62)

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General Rules of Ceremony: The Second Principle

In the post just before this one, we described the first principle of the general rules of ceremony as outlined by Paul Lang in Ceremony and Celebration. In this book, Lang discusses how the confessional Lutheran position on ceremony is based on both tradition and the Holy Scriptures.

Continuing on to the second: “The next principle is love. God’s law demands that we love Him above all things and our neighbors as ourselves. But again, our Christian obedience flows not from the Law but the Gospel. ‘Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another’ (1 John 4:10-11). We show our love to God and to our fellow worshipers in many ceremonies. The rule for these ceremonies is the law of love.” (p. 61)

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General Rules of Ceremony: The First Principle

In Ceremony and Celebration, Paul H.D. Lang discusses a broad spectrum of topics relating to Lutheran liturgical worship. In Chapter 9, he shows how the confessional Lutheran position on ceremony is based on both tradition and the Holy Scriptures. (For definitions of ritual and ceremonial, read this excerpt.) Lang identifies four general rules of ceremony, which we will be posting over the next several days. The first of these is the principle of reverence.

“Many rules of ceremony are governed by the principle of reverence. God demands reverence. We owe Him reverence. We owe it to Him, not only as an inner attitude, but also as an outward expression….We Christians show reverence to God because the Holy Spirit prompts and enables us to do the will of God in response to His grace and blessings. ‘Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear’ (Heb. 12:28). In the church’s worship we meet with God who has called us into His kingdom. Therefore we express our reverence toward Him, His Word, His sacraments, and all persons and things connected with our worship of Him.”   (p. 61)

**This book is finishing up the process of being reprinted and will be available on Monday, April 25. Pre-order now to save 10% and be among the first to receive a copy from the new print run.

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Available soon: Ceremony and Celebration

We are pleased to announce that Ceremony and Celebration is finishing up the process of being reprinted and will be available on Monday, April 25. Pre-order now to save 10% and be among the first to receive a copy from the new print run.

As noted in the Preface to Ceremony and Celebration, there is “a pious desire of both pastors and parishioners to be reverent in worship. That is the genius of this little book: It speaks to all participants in the Divine Service, not just pastors and theologians.” The Divine Service is where Christians gather around Word and Sacrament. Its liturgy provides the structure for keeping Christ as the central focus. The words, music, actions, and physical elements of the Divine Service all play a role in the liturgy. Pastors and parishioners join together to receive God’s gifts, each playing a distinct yet integral part as defined by the liturgy, in accordance with God’s will (Heb. 10:25; 1 Cor. 14:40).

Ceremony and Celebration is an essential resource not only for pastors, elders, altar guild members, organists, choir directors, and other congregational leaders, but also and especially for earnest laity who want to better understand the way we worship. Understanding what is going on around us increases our appreciation for and insight into the details of the liturgy.

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Didache is back in stock!

A burst of orders several months ago caused Didache to suddenly sell out. We are pleased to announce that (after patiently waiting during these ubiquitous delays and shortages) it is back in stock! Find more details here.

“The Catechism confesses that the benefits of faithful eating and drinking in the Sacrament are the ‘forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation’ given us through our Lord’s words. The forgiveness of sins is the primary gift which God bestows in the Supper and is the foundation for life and salvation. Forgiveness of sins is the content of the New Testament. The word ‘testament’ indicates that a death is necessary. The death of the one who makes the testament is necessary for the testament to take effect. Jesus’ death is the energy unleashed in the Lord’s Supper. A testament also indicates heirs and inheritance. In this testament, ‘given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins’ indicates that we are heirs and that the inheritance is the forgiveness of sins won by Jesus’ atoning death as a sacrifice in our place.”

-John T. Pless in Didache, a book that instructs in a basic pattern of catechesis which recognizes that doctrine is drawn from the Holy Scriptures, confessed in Luther’s Small Catechism, and expressed in the hymnal. Suitable for group or individual study.

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The Advent Wreath: An Excerpt

“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.”

-An excerpt from Ceremony and Celebration, in which Rev. Paul H.D. Lang describes the theological significance and historic, confessional Lutheran position on liturgy, ritual, and ceremony.

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Save on EVERYTHING during our 4-day Advent sale!

Looking for Christmas cards, Christmas gifts, or a little something for yourself? Starting today, which happens to be Small Business Saturday, everything is on sale! Prices are valid through Tuesday, November 30. Browse our selection of titles using the Books tab above.

A few highlights:

*Share the joy of Christ’s birth with your family and friends with our stunning Christmas cards. Each one pairs beautiful artwork with the words of Scripture or the timeless poetry of hymns. One of our newest cards, “Messiah,” is pictured here.

*God With Us by David H. Petersen is a collection of brief sermons that are perfect for personal devotion. Pr. Petersen explains how Christ’s incarnation is the basis of all Christian preaching and the essence of every celebration of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism, every proclamation of Absolution to repentant sinners.

*The Great Works of God: The Mysteries of Christ in the Book of Exodus contains more than 120 Christocentric, devotional meditations in which Valerius Herberger shows his fervent belief that Jesus Christ is the center of every part of Scripture. Matthew Carver’s translation of this work is outstanding.

*Wherever you fall on the spectrum of Latin — a scholar, a teacher or student of classical education, or a novice — you will find Liber Hymnorum: The Latin Hymns of the Lutheran Church to be an absolute treasure. Liber Hymnorum is two hymnals in one, the first half being English, the second Latin, exactly mirroring the first half in content and numbering.

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

*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.

A blessed Advent to you!

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God With Us: Daily readings for Advent

Cover-God With Us-new cover website

God With Us by Pr. 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 to family and friends since these brief sermons serve well for daily devotions.

Excerpts: “How might we keep the Law and love one another without fail, without holding back? Setting our will to do it or making promises and resolutions has never worked before, and it won’t work now. How might we keep the Law which we’ve never yet kept before? By putting on the Lord Jesus Christ. That is it. It is the only way. It is in being loved, being forgiven, being fed the Holy Supper that not only is sin forgiven but faith is also strengthened. In that—those things that God has given for His Church, for her faith and life—the Holy Spirit takes up residence and works do follow. The only way for sinners like us to keep the Law is to have the Law kept for us.”

“The boys [of Bethlehem] 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.”

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