Archive for the ‘Lutheran Book of Worship (1978)’ Tag

Feast of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, William Augustus Muhlenberg, and Anne Ayres (April 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Church of the Holy Communion, New York, New York

Image Source = New York Public Library

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HENRY MELCHIOR MUHLENBERG (SEPTEMBER 6, 1711-OCTOBER 7, 1787)

Patriarch of American Lutheranism

His feast day transferred from October 7

great-grandfather of

WILLIAM AUGUSTUS MUHLENBERG (SEPTEMBER 16, 1796-APRIL 8, 1877)

Episcopal Priest, Hymn Writer, and Liturgical Pioneer

colleague of

ANNE AYRES (JANUARY 3, 1816-1896)

Foundress of the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion

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One church, one book.

–Henry Melchior Muhlenberg

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October 7 is the feast day of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg in The Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and The Lutheran Church–Canada.  A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (The Episcopal Church, 2016) lists William Augustus Muhlenberg and Anne Ayres on April 8.  However, since one of my purposes in renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize relationships and influences, I have merged the commemorations.

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Henry Melchior Muhlenberg became the Patriarch of American Lutheranism.  He, born at Einbeck, Saxony, on September 6, 1711, attended the University of Gottingen.  Then our saint taught in the orphanage at Halle for 15 months.  He wanted to become a missionary to India, but became a pastor in Grosshennersdorf, Saxony, instead.  In September 1741 Muhlenberg visited Halle.  Soon thereafter he was en route to America, sent there by pastor August Herman Francke, who had also sent other missionaries to the New World.

Lutheranism was in a sorry state in America.  There was little organization above the parish level, liturgies varied widely, there were no firm standards for become an ordained minister, and adjacent Lutheran churches frequently had little to do with each other.  In 1741 Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf, a Saxon Lutheran layman and Moravian bishop, was visiting America.  While in Pennsylvania, he functioned as a Lutheran pastor at Philadelphia, creating a controversy in the church there.

Muhlenberg had a difficult set of tasks to complete.  His motto was Ecclesia Plantanda, or

The Church Must Be Planted.

Our saint arrived in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1742.  Then he spent a week with the Jerusalem Lutheran Church at Ebenzezer, Georgia.  Muhlenberg arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 25, 1742.  Within a month he had ousted Zinzendorf from the pulpit.  On December 27, 1742, Muhlenberg became the pastor of several congregations.  He went on, within a year, to found a school per congregation and to found new churches.

During the following decades Muhlenberg planted and organized the church.  He founded new congregations, fostered unity among them, and established standards for ordination.  On August 26, 1748, at St. Michael’s Church, Philadelphia, ministers from 10 of the 70 Lutheran congregations in North America formed “The United Preachers of the Evangelical Lutheran Congregations of German Nationality in These American Colonies, Especially Pennsylvania,” the first synod.  In 1781, with the adoption of a constitution, the synod became the German Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium in North America.  The ministerium gave rise to other synods, such as the Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium in the State of New-York and Adjacent States and Countries (1786), led by John Christopher Kunze, Muhlenberg’s son-in-law.  The original synod became the German Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Adjacent States in 1792.

Muhlenberg did much to build up the Ministerium in North America/of Pennsylvania.  He traveled from the northeast to Georgia.  In 1751 and 1752 he spent much time in New York City, where the dispute over what the proper language for worship should be had created divisions.  Our saint, who prioritized the Gospel of Jesus Christ over languages, preached in English, Dutch, and German every Sunday for months.  Over the years he struggled with Lutheran disunity; many Lutheran ministers did not relate to Halle, as he did.  Our saint also prepared a hymnal late in life.

On the personal side, Muhlenberg married Anna Mary Weiser, daughter of Indian agent Conrad Weiser, in April 1745.  Three of their sons became Lutheran ministers.  Although our saint ranged from Loyalism to neutrality during the American Revolutionary period, two of his sons (both of them ministers) chose to fight under the command of George Washington.  Peter (in full, John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, 1746-1807) went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives with Frederick (in full, Frederick Augustus Conrad Muhlenberg, 1750-1801), the first Speaker of the House.

Our saint died at Trappe, Pennsylvania, on October 7, 1787.  He was 76 years old.

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Frederick Augustus Conrad Muhlenberg, first Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States, had a son named Henry William Muhlenberg, who became a wine merchant in Philadelphia.  Henry William married Mary Sheefe.  The couple welcomed William Augustus Muhlenberg into the world on September 16, 1796.  He became a figure to rival his great-grandfather in terms of ecclesiastical importance.

William Augustus Muhlenberg, raised in a Lutheran home, became an influential Episcopal priest.  He studied at the University of Pennsylvania from 1812 to 1815, graduating as the English-language salutation.  His affinity for the English language, especially in worship, led him to join The Episcopal Church.  Such conversions were common at a time when German was the preferred language of worship in many Lutheran congregations, the leaders of which referred those who preferred to worship in English to Episcopal churches.  Muhlenberg became a priest, serving first as the assistant at Christ Church, Philadelphia, from 1817 to 1822.  (The rector of the parish was William White, also the Bishop and Pennsylvania and the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.)  Then, for a few years, Muhlenberg was the Rector of St. James’s Church, Lancaster.  There he opened the first public school in Pennsylvania outside Philadelphia.  Meanwhile, our saint had published a case for singing hymns instead of the traditional metrical Psalms.  Thus he served on the committee for the Prayer Book Collection (1826), an early Episcopal hymnal.

In 1826 Muhlenberg relocated to New York.  He became the Rector of St. George’s Church, Flushing, Long Island.  There he founded the Flushing Institute (later St. Paul’s College), which made him nationally famous for his advocacy of progressive educational methods.  At St. George’s Church Muhlenberg was a pioneer in liturgical renewal.  His church had vested choirs, candles and flowers on the altar, and greenery at Christmas.  If that were not enough, the church sang Christmas carols.  This was groundbreaking in a culture in which much of the dominant Protestant ethos did not support celebrating Christmas.

Muhlenberg received a Doctor of Divinity degree from Columbia College, New York, New York, in 1834.

In 1845 Muhlenberg founded the Church of the Holy Communion in the City of New York.  The architect of the edifice (dedicated in 1846) was Richard Upjohn (1802-1878).  Muhlenberg’s sister, the wealthy widow Mary A. Rogers, financed the construction of the building and much of the parish’s budget for years.  This patronage enabled the church to minister to members of all social classes; that was a priority for the priest and his sister.  One of the novelties at the Church of the Holy Communion was free pews–no pew rentals.  Our saint was also a pioneer in the Sunday School movement; the parish schools reflected this fact.  The church also offered unemployment benefits, operated an employment agency, provided medical services, and offered English-language classes.  Furthermore, the liturgical life of the parish was more advanced than at other churches.  Communion services were weekly, Morning and Evening Prayer were daily, Holy Week was a priority, and the choirs there were the first vested choirs in the city.  Beyond that, the use of colors, flowers, and music to increase the beauty of worship was influential.

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The parish dispensary became the genesis of St. Luke’s Hospital, New York City.  Muhlenberg served as the Superintendent and Chaplain there from 1858 to 1877.  He and Anne Ayres, a member of his congregation, founded the institution.

Ayres, born in London, England, on January 3, 1816, arrived in New York City in 1836.  For a few years she tutored children of the wealthy, but Muhlenberg’s influence prompted her to change the direction of her life.  In 1845 she and Muhlenberg founded the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion, dedicated to providing social services.  For many years members of the Sisterhood performed most of the nursing duties at St. Luke’s Hospital.  The Sisterhood of the Holy Communion was the first Anglican order for women founded in North America.

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Muhlenberg was an ecumenist.  In 1853 he presented a proposal before the General Convention of The Episcopal Church.  Our saint, convinced that the rubrics of The Book of Common Prayer (1789) were too rigid, proposed Articles of Union with Protestant bodies in a confederation, complete with Apostolic Succession.  The requirements were:

  1. The Apostles’ Creed;
  2. Ordination not repugnant to the Word of God;
  3. Common hymns, prayers, and Biblical readings; and
  4. A council on common affairs.

This proposal, the natural successor to The Evangelical Catholic (1851-1853), Muhlenberg’s monthly journal, went down in failure.  It did, however, influence the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral (1886, 1888):

  1. The Old and New Testaments as scripture,
  2. The Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds,
  3. The sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, and
  4. Apostolic Succession.

In 1868 Muhlenberg served on a committee to discuss revising The Book of Common Prayer (1789).  Revision had to wait, however; the next edition debuted in 1892.

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Muhlenberg, who wrote hymns, chose to remain unmarried, so that he could have more time for ministry.  His theology was something science did not threaten; he did not oppose Evolution.  His priorities in ministry reflected his proto-Social Gospel ethos.  Among his final projects (with Anne Ayres) was St. Johnland, an intentional community for members of the working class on Long Island, away from the hustle and bustle of New York City.  There were family homes, group homes, businesses, a library, a church, et cetera.  Muhlenberg helped to finance St. Johnland.

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Muhlenberg died in New York City on April 8, 1877.  He was 80 years old.

Anne Ayres died in New York City on February 9, 1896.  She was 80 years old.

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The Ministeriums of Pennnsylvania and New York survived into the 1960s, when they, as part of The United Lutheran Church in America, merged into the Lutheran Church in America, a predecessor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Henry Melchior Muhlenberg’s dream of a common liturgy for North American Lutherans has never become a reality.  The closest it came to reality was the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), which, by the way, borrowed heavily from The Book of Common Prayer (1979), in development at the same time.

The Church of the Holy Communion closed in 1975 and merged with Calvary Episcopal Church and St. George’s Episcopal Church.  Since then the edifice has housed a series of establishments, including two night clubs (one of them notorious), an upscale store, and a gymnasium.

The Sisterhood of the Holy Communion ceased to exist in 1940.

St. Luke’s Hospital and Mt. Sinai Hospital merged in 1979.

St. Johnland survives as a nursing center.

Flowers and altar candles remain familiar sites in Episcopal hymnals.

The Episcopal Church has made the transition from metrical Psalms to hymns.

The Episcopal Church has entered into full communion agreements with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Moravian Church in America.

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Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, William Augustus Muhlenberg, and Anne Ayres did much to glorify God, build up the church, and benefit many people.

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 15, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZACHARY OF ROME, POPE

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JAN ADALBERT BALICKI AND LADISLAUS FINDYSZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS IN POLAND

THE FEAST OF OZORA STEARNS DAVIS, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VETHAPPAN SOLOMON, APOSTLE TO THE SOLOMON ISLANDS

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servants

Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, William Augustus Muhlenberg, and Anne Ayres,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Lars Olsen Skrefsrud, Hans Peter Boerresen, and Paul Olaf Bodding (December 11)   Leave a comment

skrefsrud-statue-lillehammer

Above:  Statue of Lars Olsen Skrefsrud, Lillehammer, Norway

Image in the Public Domain

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LARS OLSEN SKREFSRUD (FEBRUARY 4, 1840-DECEMBER 11, 1910)

Norwegian Lutheran Missionary to the Santals

colleague of

HANS PETER BOERRSEN (NOVEMBER 29, 1825-SEPTEMBER 23, 1901)

Danish Lutheran Missionary to the Santals

then

PAUL OLAF BODDING (NOVEMBER 2, 1865-SEPTEMBER 25, 1938)

Norwegian Lutheran Missionary to the Santals

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The name of Lars Olsen Skrefsrud came to my attention via the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), which lists December 11 as his feast day.  For reasons I do not understand this feast has not carried over into the calendar in Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006).  Neither have any Lutheran Worship (1982) and the Lutheran Service Book (2006), both of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, included this feast.  I have also noticed that the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996), of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, a body with Norwegian immigrant roots, does not include this feast either.  The names of Hans Peter Boerresen and Paul Olaf Bodding came to my attention as I read and took notes regarding Skrefsrud.

These three saints were missionaries to the Santal tribe in northern India.  The Santals had been present on the Indian subcontinent prior to the arrival of the Aryans.  Skrefsrud, Boerresen, and Bodding worked among Santals, respected their culture, and helped to build a strong indigenous church.

Skrefsrud, born near Lillehammer, Norway, on February 4, 1840, took a winding path to his vocation.  He came from a poor family.  Although Skrefsrud dreamed of becoming a minister, circumstances pushed him into coppersmithing instead.  This did not satisfy him.  Skrefsrud reacted by drinking heavily.  He and some drinking buddies robbed a bank.  The 19-year-old Skrefsrud gave up drinking, delved into Christianity, mastered the German and English languages, and received a sentence of incarceration for four years; he served about half of it.  While in prison our saint received visits from one Anna Onsum, a young woman who believed in him and encouraged him in his spiritual journey.

Skrefsrud became a missionary.  He trained at the Gossmer Missionary Society, Berlin.  (Knowing German helped then.)  While in Berlin Skrefsrud lived austerely and attended services daily.  In 1863 the missionary society dispatched Skrefsrud to northern India.  Anna Onsum joined him there and married him the following year.  She arrived in the company of Catherine and Hans Peter Boerresen, the latter of whom the missionary society sent to work with Skrefsrud.  Boerresen, who was expert in raising funds, was also a minister and a civil engineer.

boerresen

Above:  Hans Peter Boerresen

Image in the Public Domain

For a few years Skrefsrud and Boerresen worked in conjunction with Baptist missionaries.  There were two sticking points:  (1) the theology of infant baptism and (2) the denial of permission for the two Lutheran missionaries to continue to work together.  So it was that, in 1867, Skrefsrud and Boerresen founded the Ebenezer Mission at Benegaria, from which they worked among indigenous peoples.  The following year they cofounded The Indian Home Mission to the Santals, the forerunner of today’s Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Boerresen returned to Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1877.  He died on September 23, 1901.

bodding

Above:  Paul Olaf Bodding

Image in the Public Domain

Another colleague of Skrefsrud was Paul Olaf Bodding (1865-1938), a scientist.  The native of Gjosik, Norway, was son of a bookseller.  The great missionary recruited the young Bodding in the family’s bookstore.  The rest was history.  He served in India from 1889 to 1933.  Although Skrefsrud had written A Grammar of the Santhal Language (1873), Bodding created an alphabet for the people, who lacked one previously.  Skrefsrud translated the Gospels into the new written language, but Bodding completed the process of translating the Bible into it.  Skrefsrud also wrote textbooks and a hymnal into the new written language.  Bodding preserved Santali folklore in writing via that script.  Folklore of the Santal Parganas (1909) depended upon his work.

Skrefsrud did much else to help the Santal people.  He also founded vocational and technical schools and appealed to British imperial officials to protect the Santals from other tribes.  He continued to labor in northern India for the rest of his life.

Bodding returned to Europe in 1933. The saint died at Odense, Denmark, on September 25, 1938.

The Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church continues to minister among indigenous people on the subcontinent.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 16, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES EDWARD OAKLEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT LUDMILLA, DUCHESS OF BOHEMIA

THE FEAST OF MARTIN BEHM, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PHILIBERT AND AICARDUS OF JUMIEGES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

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God of grace and might, we praise you for your servants

Lars Olsen Skrefsrud, Hans Peter Boerresen, and Paul Olaf Bodding,

to whom you gave gifts to make the good news known.

Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds and evangelists of your kingdom,

so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Isaiah 62:1-7

Psalm 48

Romans 10:11-17

Luke 24:44-53

Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), page 37

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Feast of Luther D. Reed (April 3)   2 comments

Lutheran Books February 13, 2016

Above:  Some of Luther Reed’s Major Works and Immediate Successors Thereto

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor, February 13, 2016

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LUTHER DOTTERER REED (MARCH 21, 1873-APRIL 3, 1972)

U.S. Lutheran Minister and Liturgist

Luther Dotterer Reed was an influential Lutheran liturgist in the United States.  He was chiefly responsible for the creation of the Common Service Book (1917) and the Service Book and Hymnal (1958), two of the major Lutheran service-books of the twentieth century.

Reed was a son of the Church.  He entered the world at North Wales, Pennsylvania, on March 21, 1873.  His parents were Annie Linley Reed and Ezra L. Reed, a Lutheran minister of the old Ministerium of Pennsylvania and its umbrella organization, the General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America (1867-1918).  From his father our saint learned much, including music and the Mercersburg Theology (high church Calvinism) of the Reformed Church in the United States (1793-1934).  Reed came under the direct influence of the Mercersburg Theology at his father’s alma mater, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1892.  Next our saint matriculated at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (hereafter LTS Mt. Airy), from which he graduated in 1895.

Reed was a parish minister for just a few years.  Upon graduating from LTS Mt. Airy he entered the liturgical boondocks of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania.  Western Pennsylvania was an unlikely place for a Lutheran minister with a strong liturgical bent.  In 1895 our saint became the pastor of Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Allegheny, across the river from Pittsburgh.  As Reed described the facility, it was a chapel with a central pulpit and a lunch table for an altar.  Traditionally the pastor wore street clothes to church on Sundays.  In 1903, when our saint left for his next posting, there was a choir (which he had directed), he wore a Geneva robe to church on Sundays, and the use of vestments and paraments had begun.  Reed studied at the University of Leipzig in 1902.  He served as pastor in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, briefly before returning to his alma mater, LTS Mt. Airy, in 1906.  There he remained in one capacity or another until 1950.

Luther D. Reed

Above:  An Item in the Lebanon Courier and Semi-Weekly Report, Lebanon, Pennsylvania, May 24, 1905, Page 2

Accessed via newspapers.com

Reed worked beyond the parish and seminary levels, frequently in the cause of liturgical renewal.  He understood worship as occupying the center of Christian life.  The beauty of worship matters, he insisted, for it can inspire one to commit good works–lead one into the world.  From 1898 to 1906 our saint led the Lutheran Liturgical Association, the goal of which was to convince U.S. Lutherans to accept the Common Service (1888) as something simple yet dignified and Lutheran yet catholic.  Reed edited the Memoirs of the Lutheran Liturgical Association (1906).  From 1907 to 1936 he served as the President of the Church Music and Liturgical Art Society.  And, from 1930 to 1940, he was the President of the Associated Bureaus of Church Architecture of the United States and Canada, devoted to encouraging architecture suitable for proper liturgy.

Reed married Catharine S. Ashbridge (1878-1942) in 1906.  They remained married until by her death they did part.

Book Dedication

Above:  The Dedication to The Lutheran Liturgy (1947)

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

In 1906 Reed went to work at LTS Mt. Airy, where he would have preferred to remain since his graduation 11 years earlier.  Until 1950 he served as the Director of the Krauth Memorial Library.  From 1911 to 1945 our saint was Professor of Liturgics and Church Art.  He was the first such professor at any Protestant theological seminary in North America.  And, from 1938 to 1945 Reed was also the president of the seminary.  If that were not enough, the served as the Archivist of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania from 1909 to 1939, and, starting in 1919, of the new United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA), which he had helped to form via merger.

Reed served as the chairman of the joint commissions that created the Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church (1917) and its successor, the Service Book and Hymnal (1958).  He also wrote two editions (1947 and 1959) of The Lutheran Liturgy, both classic works of Christian liturgical history and commentary on the then-current Lutheran services.  [Aside:  The best way to enjoy Reed’s depth of knowledge in liturgy is to read these two books.]  Reed favored restoring the Eucharistic canon, or prayer of thanksgiving, which Martin Luther had excised in the 1500s.  He included a proposed text for one on pages 336 and 337 of the first edition (1947) of The Lutheran Liturgy.  Variations on that canon graced the Service Book and Hymnal (1958), the Worship Supplement (1969), the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), and the Lutheran Service Book (2006).  Reed’s restoration of the Eucharistic canon took hold in North American Lutheranism beyond the lineages of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), The Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC), and The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS).  In 2008, for example, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) added an original Eucharistic canon in Christian Worship:  Supplement.  Other conservative Lutheran denominations have not restored the canon, however.

Reed, who received honorary degrees (including a Doctor of Divinity degree from Thiel College, Greenville, Pennsylvania, in 1912), was a gentle, kind, unassuming, and gracious gentleman.  Although our saint was not physically imposing he was intellectually masterful.  He wrote and contributed to volumes, mostly related to liturgics:

  1. The Psalter and Canticles; Pointed for Chanting to the Gregorian Psalm Tunes; with a Plain Song Setting for the Order of Matins and Vespers, Accompanying Harmonies, and Tables of Proper Psalms; for the Use of Evangelical Lutheran Congregations (1897);
  2. The Choral Service Book; Containing the Authentic Plain Song Intonations and Responses for the Order of Morning Service, the Order of Matins and Vespers, the Litany and the Suffrages of the Common Service for the Use of Evangelical Lutheran Congregations; with Accompanying Harmonies for Organ (1901);
  3. The Responsories:  Musical Setting (1914);
  4. Luther and Congregational Song (1947);
  5. The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study of the Common Service of the Lutheran Church in America (1947);
  6. The Lutheran Liturgy:  A Study of the Common Liturgy of the Lutheran Church in America (1959);
  7. Worship:  A Corporate Devotion (1959); and
  8. The Mind of the Church (1962).

Reed wrote a hymn and at least two hymn tunes also.  The hymn was “O God of Wondrous Grace and Glory” and the accompanying original tune was MOUNT AIRY.  He also composed the tune SURSUM CORDA.

Reed pondered what might and should follow the Service Book and Hymnal (1958).  He favored the inclusion of a provision for the procession of the bread and wine to the altar at the end of the offering.  This development became reality in the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978).

Our saint died at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 3, 1972.  He was 99 years old.  The  process of forging the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) was well underway.

Reed’s liturgical legacy thrives, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 14, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM OF CARRHAE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINTS CYRIL AND METHODIUS, MISSIONARIES TO THE SLAVS

THE FEAST OF JOHANN MICHAEL ALTENBURG, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR, COMPOSER, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VICTOR OLOF PETERSEN, SWEDISH-AMERICAN LUTHERAN HYMN TRANSLATOR

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Luther Dotterer Reed)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of Jiri Tranovsky (May 29)   Leave a comment

Religions in Central Europe 1618

Above:  Religions in Central Europe, 1618

Image in the Public Domain

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JIRI TRANOVSKY (APRIL 9, 1592-MAY 29, 1637)

Luther of the Slavs and Father of Slovak Hymnody

Also known as Juraj Tranovsky, Jerzy Trzanowski, Georgios Tranoscius, and George Tranoscius

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Jiri Tranovsky comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), the service book-hymnal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).

Tranovsky was ethnically Polish.  The native of Teschen, Silesia (now Cieszyn, Poland), entered the world on April 9, 1592.  He studied at Guben (now in Germany) and, from 1605 to 1607, at Kolberg (now Kolobrzeg, Poland) then, starting in 1607, at the University of Wittenberg, where he began to write poetry in Latin and Czech.  He traveled to Bohemia and Silesia in 1612.  Then our saint taught at St. Nicholas Gymnasium, Prague, before serving as rector of a school in Holesov, Moravia (now in the Czech Republic), from 1613 to 1615.  In 1615 and 1616 Tranovsky taught in the school at Mezirici (now in the Czech Republic), where he also led the local singing society.

Tranovsky was a Lutheran minister.  Following his ordination at Mezirici in 1616 he served in that town until 1621.  The turmoil of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) and the official religious intolerance of King Ferdinand II of Bohemia and Hungary (reigned 1617-1637; Holy Roman Emperor, 1619-1637), persecutor of Protestantism, forced Tranovsky and his congregation into exile in 1621.  1624 was a terrible year for the flock and its shepherd.  Wartime conditions contributed to a plague, so Tranovsky had to bury three of his children and half of his congregation.  Later that year authorities imprisoned our saint.  They exiled him to Silesia the following year.  There he became the court preacher to the castle in Bielitz (now Bielsko, Poland).  Wartime conditions forced Tranovsky to move again in 1628, so he became the court preacher to Orava Castle (now in Oravsky Podzamok, Slovakia).  Our saint’s health was failing.

Tranovsky translated and wrote texts.  In 1620 he translated the Augsburg Confession into Czech.  Eight years later he was hard at work on Odarum Sacrarum sive Hymnorum (1629), a hymnal containing 150 Latin texts for congregational singing.  Tranovsky included several original tunes.  From 1631 to his death in 1637 he was the senior pastor at Liptovsky Svaty Mikulas, Upper Hungary (now Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia), where he wrote his masterpieces.  Phiala Odoromentorum (A Vial of Sweet Incense, 1635), was a prayer book.  The Cithara Sanctorum (Harp of the Saints, 1636), also known as the Transocius, was a hymnal containing 414 hymns, 150 of which were his.  This volume became the basis of Czech and Slovak Lutheran hymnody.

Tranovsky suspected that he would die before the age of 50 years.  He was correct, for he died on May 29, 1637, aged 45 years.

Most of Tranovsky’s hymns do not exist in any English-language translation.  I have found a few, however, and added two–“Come, Rejoicing, Praises Voicing” and “Christ the Lord to Us is Born, Hallelujah“–to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  I have found several others in translations by Jaroslav Jan Vajda (1919-2008) in current Lutheran hymnals:

  1. “Let Our Gladness Banish Sadness” (1960), in the Lutheran Service Book (2006);
  2. “Your Heart, O God, is Grieved” (1970), in Hymnal Supplement 98 (1998), Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), and the Lutheran Service Book (2006); and
  3. “Make Songs of Joy to Christ, Our Head” (1978), in the Lutheran Service Book (2006).

I have also found a Vajda translation of an anonymous text from the Tranoscius (1636) in slightly older Lutheran hymnals.  The Worship Supplement (1969) and the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) contain “God, My Lord, My Strength, My Place of Hiding” (1969).

I wonder what treasures among Tranovsky’s hymnody remain untranslated into English.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 25, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Jiri Tranovsky and others, who have translated hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Feast of Johann(es) Matthaus Meyfart (November 9)   Leave a comment

Fort, Coburg

Above:  The Fort, Coburg, Thuringia, Germany, 1890

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsca-01086

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JOHANN(ES) MATTHAUS MEYFART (NOVEMBER 9, 1590-JANUARY 26, 1642)

German Lutheran Educator and Devotional Writer

I grew up in rural United Methodist congregations in southern Georgia, U.S.A., in the 1980s and early 1990s.   The dominant form of piety in those churches was akin to that one found in neighboring Southern Baptist churches.  It was like that old joke that Methodists are Baptists who can read.  Then, in late 1991, I became an Episcopalian, for my inherent piety was closer to Roman Catholicism yet somewhat Protestant.  Five years later, shortly before the presidential election, I watched a dual biography of President Bill Clinton and Senator Robert Dole on public television.  The narrator described the nature of United Methodism in Kansas, prompting me to think that I preferred that to the character of United Methodism in rural southern Georgia.  A few years ago I started exploring Lutheranism via books, such as the Book of Concord and various service books-hymnals.  I have enjoyed this ongoing process, which has convinced me that German and Scandinavian hymnody is superior to the one inflicted upon me as a child.  Unfortunately, that inferior hymnody has been pursuing me even into The Episcopal Church during the last few years, prompting me sometimes to resort to speaking in two languages within one conversation, using French strategically.  On other occasions I have maintained a passive-aggressive silence instead.  But I digress, as much as I remain an unrepentant European classicist.

Johann(es) Matthaus Meyfart (1590-1642) contributed to the treasures of Lutheran hymnody.  His father was a Lutheran pastor at Wahlwinkel, near Gotha, in the Holy Roman Empire.  Our saint’s mother was visiting her parents at Jena when she gave birth on November 9, 1590.  Meyfart studied at the Universities of Wittenberg and Jena (M.A., 1611; D.D. 1624).  His career was mainly an academic one.  He taught philosophy at Jena for a few years before moving to Coburg in 1616.  There he served as a professor at the gymnasium until becoming director in 1623.  At that school, as The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal (1942) informs me,

he had great moral power.

–Page 546

To state that differently, in the words of The Hymnal 1940 Companion (1949),

he exerted a remarkable influence on all his pupils.

–Page 504

Our saint’s tenure at Coburg ended due to his dissertation on church discipline, De Disciplina Ecclesiastica (1633).  Many of his colleagues complained to the government because they disagreed with the dissertation’s contents.

The future Duke Ernst I of Gotha came to Meyfart’s rescue, offering him a new position.  Our saint became a professor of theology at the University of Erfurt.  In 1634 he became the Rector of the University.  And, starting in 1636, Meyfart served as the pastor of the Prediger Church in town.  Controversy followed our saint, for another writing on the subject of church discipline caused problems for him at Erfurt.  These controversies affected Meyfart adversely.

Meyfart seemed drawn to controversies.  He wrote a text, Anti-Becanus, in the context of a debate with Martin Becanus (1563-1624), a Jesuit, regarding Socinianism.  Becanus condemned not only Socinianism but all Protestant theology.  He and Meyfart, therefore, had the denunciation of Socinianism in common.  Our saint, however, was a Lutheran, therefore in a position to argue against Becanus.

Socinianism is multi-faceted; here is a partial explanation:

  1. The Roman Catholic Church condemns Socinianism as a heresy.
  2. Socinianism teaches that Jesus was purely human nature, that God adopted him as the Son of God, that Jesus embodied the Word or will of God, that Jesus is nevertheless worthy of adoration, and that God bestowed the government of the world on him after the Ascension.
  3. Therefore Socinianism denies the Holy Trinity.  In fact, Socinianism influenced the development of Unitarian theology, especially with regard to the nature of Jesus.

Meyfart wrote devotional works, from which hymns came.  These books indicated great literary skill and a firm grasp of theology.  Eduard Emil Koch (1809-1871) wrote of Meyfart in 1871.  Our saint was

a German Dante, full of learning and fantasy, an individual that one would seldom encounter anywhere.

The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal (1941) indicated that these devotional books were

noted for their vivid portrayals and their earnest calls to repentance and amendment of life.

–Page 546

One of Meyfart’s hymns, drawn from Tuba Novissima (1626), exists in English in various translations and altered forms thereof.  Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878) published her translation in the second volume of her Lyra Germanica (1858).  (Consult pages 237-239, O reader.)  The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) contains an altered version of the Winkworth translation as “Jerusalem, Thou City Fair and High.”  The Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) calls the hymn “Jerusalem, Whose Towers Touch the Skies.”  Lutheran Worship (1982) and the Lutheran Service Book (2006) list the hymn as “Jerusalem, O City Fair and High.”  William Rollinson Whittingham (1805-1879), Episcopal Bishop of Maryland from 1840 to 1879, prepared his own translation, which debuted in Hymns for Church and Home, Compiled by Members of the Protestant Episcopal Church, as a Contribution to Any Addition That May Be Made to the Hymns Now Attached to the Prayer-Book (1860):

Jerusalem! high tower thy glorious walls,

Would God I were in thee!

Desire of thee my longing heart enthralls,

Desire at home to be;

Wide from the world outleaping,

O’er hill and vale and plain,

My soul’s strong wing is sweeping

Thy portals to attain.

+++++

O gladsome day and yet more gladsome hour!

When shall that hour have come

When my rejoicing soul its own free power

May use in going home,

Itself to Jesus giving

In trust to his own hand,

To dwell among the living

In that blest fatherland?

+++++

A moment’s time, the twinkling of an eye

Shall be enough, to soar

In buoyant exultation, through the sky

And reach the heavenly shore.

Elijah’s chariot bringing

The homeward traveller there;

Glad troops of angels winging

It onward through the air.

+++++

Great fastness thou of honor! thee I greet!

Throw wide thy gracious gate,

An entrance free to give these longing feet;

At last released, though late,

From wretchedness and sinning,

And life’s long weary way;

And now, of God’s gift, winning

Eternity’s bright day.

+++++

What throng is this, what noble troop, that pours,

Arrayed in beauteous guise,

Out through the glorious city’s open doors,

To greet my wondering eyes?

The host of Christ’s elected,

The jewels that he bears

In his own crown, selected

To wipe away my tears.

+++++

Of prophets great, and patriarchs high, a band

That once has borne the cross,

With all the company that won that land,

By counting gain for loss,

Now float in freedom’s lightness,

From tyrant’s chains set free;

And shine like suns in brightness,

Arrayed to welcome me.

+++++

Once more at last arrived they welcome there,

To beauteous Paradise;

Where sense can scarce its full fruition bear

Or tongue for praise suffice;

Glad hallelujahs ringing

With rapturous rebound,

And rich hosannahs singing

Eternity’s long round.

+++++

Unnumbered choirs before the Lamb’s high throne

There shout the jubilee,

With loud resounding peal and sweetest tone,

In blissful ecstasy:

A hundred thousand voices

Take up the wondrous song;

Eternity rejoices

God’s praises to prolong.

Meyfart died at Erfurt on January 26, 1642.

Reading about Meyfart reminds me of the fact that many gems of German Lutheran hymnody do not exist in any English-language translation.  That fact makes me with that the opposite were true.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 22, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF RICHARD BIGGS, ACTOR

THE FEAST OF GEORG GOTTFRIED MULLER, GERMAN-AMERICAN MORAVIAN MINISTER AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JULIA BULKLEY CADY CORY, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN HYMN WRITER

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Johann(es) Matthaus Meyfart and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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