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24 June 2006
  Worshiping with Angels and Archangels

One of "our own" from the blogroll has a new book!

“The Lutheran Church has retained a historic order for the Divine Service. We follow this order not because we believe it is the only right way but because we believe this ancient pattern of worship most clearly and beautifully serves the purpose of the Divine Service, which is to deliver the gracious gifts of God.”


With these sparse but straightforward words, the author begins his introduction to the Divine Service. Worshiping with Angels and Archangels will teach the novice the “whys” of the Divine service and help the layperson in the pew make connections of understanding that will deepen appreciation of the gift that is our liturgy. Pastor Scot Kinnaman presents the complete text of the Divine Service found in Lutheran Service Book. To these he has added foundational Scripture verses and occasionally defines terms. The beauty of the liturgy itself is surrounded by striking watercolors done by Arthur Kirchhoff and calligraphy by Edward Luhmann (who also did the calligraphy in To All Eternity).

Pastor Kinnaman’s narrative continually brings the “for you” nature of the salvation to the forefront; the Divine Service is the means by which God bestows grace on his children. On the page that features the Words of Our Lord, the Verba, Kinnaman writes:

“In the Sacrament of the Altar Christ gives His true body and true blood under the forms of consecrated bread and wine. Once again God’s grace comes to us in the Divine Service. Jesus Himself is present and forgives our sins. This is Good News because Jesus’ Word does what it says.”

Looking at this slim volume, one may wish that it had given more information and more understanding of the parts of the liturgy. Yet Kinnaman’s paucity of words allows the liturgy itself to be easily identified on the page. A beginner, young or old, could literally take this book with him or her to the Divine Service and participate in the liturgy.

At first blush, the book looks like a children’s book. Yet the sophisticated art and the confident writing combine to be appealing to an adult reader as well. I see this book in the classroom as well as beautifully displayed in the home. Its use in youth confirmation or with the adult convert to introduce them to the chief service of the Church seems a natural.

Of all the great artwork, there is one image that I found very arresting—it spans pages 38 and 39. Previously, I knew this image from description only, I have never seen it depicted. I have heard that, especially in the Swedish church, the communion rail was traditionally arranged in a semi circular, the point being that there is a full circle that is completed in eternity, and that in the liturgy of Holy Communion, “for a time the division between heaven and earth is gone. Heaven has come down to earth and all together stands around the throne of almighty God.” Kirchhoff has captured just this in his art. After my father died, Pastor comforted me by telling me that in the Lord’s Supper the barrier between the “now” and the “not yet” is torn down and that Dad and I will continue to commune together for eternity. Looking at this illustration I can almost picture Dad in the throng of saints—just over the pastor’s shoulder, who join with us each Lord’s Day in the marriage feast of the Lamb.

It is a great little book. And at the paltry price of $6.99 there is no reason not to buy several copies to give to those who you care about and who you want to see grow in their appreciation and understanding of this gift we have been given, the Divine Service

Title: Worshiping with Angels and Archangels
Author: Scot A. Kinnaman
Hardcover, 48 pages, full-color
Publisher: Concordia Publishing House
Price: $6.99


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23 June 2006
  My trip to the bookstore

Today I received my copy of the newly minted Concordia Commentary: Ruth. After seeing what they did with Philemon, I was afraid I might need a winch to carry the book upstairs to the library. But no. In comparison to many other of the volumes in the series, the book is modest at less than 500 pages. As I put the distinctive blue jacketed volume on my "to read" shelf, I was reminded that it had been awhile since I made a trek into the CPH bookstore. Suddenly my "to read" shelf is quite full.

Frankly, all my shelves are quite full and I don't know where all this is going to lead. While I was browsing I picked up Volume 44 of Luther's Works: The Christian in Society I. I don't have all the volumes in the American Edition yet, but those I do have already occupy space spanning over 2 shelves. While at the bookstore I learned that CPH is working to expand the American Edition by as many as 25 new volumes. I don't know where these new volumes are going to go--especially if CPH keeps up the pracice of publishing door-stop size Concordia Commentaries, for the shelf on which they currently reside will be at capacity next year.

And speaking of door-stop sized books have you seen some of the current theological titles? The reprint of Johann Reu's The Augsburg Confession is 538 pages long and 2 1/4 inches thick! This is topped, however, by Schmauk & Bente's tome The Confessional Principle and the Confessions of the Lutheran Church which weighs in at 962 pages, 3 inches thick and at over 4 lbs., which means it weighs more then my cat!

But back to my personal lament about expanding series and shrinking shelf space. Pastor McCain announced a short while back that the first volume of John Gerhard's Loci was now available. Having thoroughly enjoyed Matthew Harrison's translation of Gerhard's Meditations on Divine Mercy, I had to pick up this new book. The series is entitled Theological Commonplaces, and the first volume to appear is On the Nature of Theology and Scripture. (I love slitting open the plastic on a new volume and breathing-in the smell of a new book. It is intoxication in its own way. I used to like the mimeographed papers in school too -- breathing in the fumes of the chemical soup that was used to make them, it is a wonder anybody did well on tests.... but I diregess.) I have not read far into this new Gerhard yet I am already seeing the difference between the theological mind of the 16th/17th century and the relative wasteland that passes for theological argumentation and thought in the 21st century. The connections that classic Lutheranism was willing to make is refreshing, and frankly, I find myself thanking God that such a work as this is available to me and the Church in English.

But now the problem. I understand that this series in its Latin originals, can barely stand complete on the length of an 8' table. Where am I going to find space for the subsequent volumes of Gerhard given CPHs tendency to go from big to bigger to doorstop?

I guess the trip to the bookstore today will be best followed by a trip to Lowes tomorrow for another bookcase - maybe the kind with the reinforced shelves. Thanks alot CPH.

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22 June 2006
  Little Manhattan

Love Story, the 1970 tearjerker starring Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal left me cold. Its famous tagline, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” has irritated and confounded me to no end for these thirty-six years. If there is no “I’m sorry” spoken, then when will the “I forgive you be heard”?

Here’s a new movie to set things straight, Little Manhattan. There are no big time stars, and no illicit romances to draw fawning fans to ask for this little film. It has nothing more to offer than a simple tale of a young boy’s first-time love.

I won’t spoil the rest, but Little Manhattan is truly love put into practice. Gather the family and a bowl of popcorn — and look for those catechetical moments. Here is a wholesome movie done well.

Also posted at Quicunque vult…
 
19 June 2006
  A Beggar's Carnival
Pastor Alex Klages of A Beggar at the Table hosts Lutheran Carnival 26. As is our carnival custom, he also introduces an un(der)known Lutheran, Robert Barnes of England, martyred under Henry VIII.
 
07 June 2006
  Carnival XXV

Mrs. T. Swede of Journalistic Jargon has Lutheran Carnival XXV: Whitsunday on display.
 

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