It has been said that people know more verses of hymns than they know verses from the Bible. Consequently, a theologically sound hymnbook is of great import.
And that is what the people of ReClaim Resources are working diligently to produce.
Last June I attended ReClaim's annual worship conference at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn.-- the site of the next conference on June 19-20, 2009. Write this on your calendar now as you will find yourself blessed by the presentations, words and music!
The primary effort of ReClaim has been to develop “Reclaim: Lutheran Hymnal for Church and Home” with "the clarity of Martin Luther's understanding of the worship service." Over the past several years, that clarity has often fallen victim to ecumenical priorities -- however well-intentioned.
Gracia Grindal, ReClaim's editor-in-chief, has written, "Lutherans have left behind Luther's teaching that the center of the Sunday service is about what God has done for us in Jesus Christ, the proclamation of the Gospel."
She states that "every service should be proclamation: proclamation from the sermon, from Scripture and from hymns."
To restore Martin Luther's understanding of the worship service, ReClaim's version of Holy Communion does not include a eucharistic prayer nor is there any suggestion that we actually assist Christ in His atoning work. Hence there is no "bringing of the gifts" in communion nor is there ceremony related to receiving the weekly offering.
The introductory edition of the ReClaim hymnbook has ear-appealing musical settings with updated language. It includes a setting of Holy Communion written by John C. Ylvisaker, 47 classic hymns of faith and Luther's Small Catechism plus an interesting article entitled "What Makes a Hymn Lutheran?"
It is well worth the purchase!
Since publication, a second setting, composed by Pastor Douglas Norquist, has been completed and is available with the first setting on a CD-ROM hymnal, ideal for immediate use by congregations that print customized worship bulletins. Hopefully the completed hymnal will be published within the next couple of years.
All materials generated by ReClaim Resources, including the above plus their first book, “Reclaiming the Lutheran Liturgical Heritage” by Oliver Olson, may be purchased by calling, toll-free, 1-800-590-6001. For additional information about this exciting ministry, visit the website: www.ReclaimLutheranWorship.org.