O Lord, Our Maker, Redeemer, and Comforter: The Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996)   7 comments

Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996)

Above:  My Copies of The Lutheran Hymnary (1935), The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) and the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996), July 22, 2013

The Lutheran Hymnary (1935) is very similar to The Lutheran Hymnary (1913), down to hymn numbers.




O Lord, our Maker, Redeemer, and Comforter, we are assembled in Your presence to hear Your holy Word.  We pray You to open our hearts by Your Holy Spirit, that through the preaching of Your Word we may be taught to repent of our sins, to believe on Jesus in life and death, and to grow day by day in grace and holiness.  Hear us for Christ’s sake.  Amen.

Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996), page 41

This prayer is verbatim, except for modern pronouns and one omitted use of “so,” from The Lutheran Hymnary (1913).



This post, being Part XV of an ongoing series, flows from previous entries, links to which I have provided here:  https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/guide-to-posts-about-lutheran-worship/.  One post in particular (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/that-by-thy-grace-we-may-come-to-everlasting-life-norwegian-american-lutherans-1853-1963/) will prove especially germane.



The Evangelical Lutheran Synod (1918-), or ELS for short, is of Norwegian origin.  Its revered hymnal-service book is The Lutheran Hymnary (1913) (http://archive.org/details/lutheranhymnary00synogoog), authorized by three denominations, including the parent body of the ELS.  But the ELS, as a 1920-1955 member of the Synodical Conference (1872-1966/1967), also has The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/o-come-let-us-sing-unto-the-lord-the-lutheran-hymnal-1941/) in its past.  The Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996) continues the legacies of both books in modern English liturgies and in hymns familiar to users of the 1913 and 1941 books.



The Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary is an intriguing combination of the traditional and the contemporary.  The Calendar, for example, retains the -gesimas and the Sundays after Trinity yet goes well beyond the feast days count of the other small, ultra-conservative synods, including, for example, Sts. Ambrose of Milan and Athanasius of Alexandria.  Although the language of worship is contemporary (God is “You,” not “Thee”), the Church remains “Christian,” not “Catholic” or “catholic” and the Nicene Creed is in the first-person singular.  Furthermore, there is no Canon/Prayer of Thanksgiving in the Eucharistic rites.

The Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary offers a variety of services.  There are four settings of the Divine Service:

  • Bugenhagen and Common Service rituals updated from previous books;
  • a lovely new and interactive service which mixes old and new elements;
  • and an outline for a chorale service in the German tradition.

There are also rituals for Matins, Vespers, Prime, and Compline, rites which the Hymnary‘s editors seem to have simplified from The Book of Common Prayer (1979).

Anyone familiar with The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) or well-developed Lutheran service books in general will recognize the various prayers, Collects, Graduals, Introits, litanies, and Canticles as being the sort of content the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary has in common with other volumes of its sort.  And, like other hymnals-service books of conservative Lutheran bodies, it contains both the three-year Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship (ILCW) lectionary and a variation on the 1941 one-year lectionary.

The outward appearance of the volume deserves comments also.  The logo–a cross imposed atop a lyre in a diamond–dominates the front cover.  The spine features Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary in large letters, with the logo at the bottom.  The book’s appearance indicates that the publishers took pride in that matter.



My favorite contemporary U.S. Lutheran hymnal-service book is Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  The Lutheran Service Book (2006), of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) is close behind.  And the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996) ranks third.  Its gracefulness and modernity, combined with the reverence its design indicates, are excellent and laudatory.  I, of course, a raging heretic by ELS standards, but I pick and choose the parts of their hymnal-service book I like and praise them.  There is much to praise.  The rest I merely note objectively.







I used one electronic source, to which I provided a link.  Thus I consider it cited properly.  Most of my sources, however, were in print:

Ambassador Hymnal for Lutheran Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, 1994.

Christian Worship:  A Lutheran Hymnal.  Milwaukee, WI:  Northwestern Publishing House, 1993.

Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary.  St. Louis, MO:  MorningStar Music Publishers, Inc., 1996.

Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America, The.  The Lutheran Hymnal.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 1941.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 2006.

Lutheran Hymnary Including the Symbols of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, The.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1935.

Lutheran Service Book.  St. Louis, MO:  Concordia Publishing House, 2006.

Melton, J. Gordon.  Encyclopedia of American Religions.  4h. Ed.  Washington, DC:  Gale Research, Inc., 1993.

Pfatteicher, Philip H., and Carlos R. Messerli.  Manual on the Liturgy:  Lutheran Book of Worship.  Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Publishing House, 1979.

Reed, Luther D.  The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study in the Common Service of the Lutheran Church in America.  Philadelphia, PA:  Muhlenberg Press, 1947.

__________.  The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study in the Common Liturgy of the Lutheran Church in America.  2d. Ed.  Philadelphia, PA:  Fortress Press, 1959.

Stulken, Marilyn Kay.  Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship.  Philadelphia, PA:  Fortress Press, 1981.

Wentz, Abdel Ross.  The Lutheran Church in American History.  2d. Ed.  Philadelphia, PA:  The United Lutheran Publication House, 1933.

I also found some PDFs helpful:

Christian Worship:  Supplement Introductory Resources.  Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, 2008.

DeGarmeaux, Bruce.  ”O Come, Let Us Worship!  A Study of Lutheran Liturgy and Hymnody.”  1995.

Faugstad, Peter.  ”Centennial of The Lutheran Hymnary.”  In Lutheran Sentinel, May-June 2013, page 14.

Schalk, Carl.  ”A Brief History of LCMS Hymnals (before LSB).”  Based on a 1997 document; updated to 2006.  Copyrighted by The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

Zabell, Jon F.  ”The Formation of Function of WELS Hymnals:  Further Conversation.”  For the National Conference of Worship, Music, and the Arts, July 2008.



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