Monday, December 28, 2015

Living with Luther by J. M. Weidenschilling

J.M. Weidenschilling was a master at summarization and brevity. He produced many short works on basic subjects for the Missouri Synod in the 1940's and 50's. Some of the most famous and widely used were: Our Bible; Our Church; and, Our Creed. Living with Luther is a slender 48 page booklet originally designed to be used in the classroom. It could also easily be used as an introduction or jumping off point for an adult study or a tract for anyone wanting a brief overview of the life of Martin Luther and the Reformation.

Living with Luther was published by Concordia Publishing House in 1945, was slightly revised in 1970, and reprinted numerous times. The illustrator was Gustav Koenig. The Lutheran Heritage Foundation also worked to have it translated into Lithuanian in 1996 (translator: Renata Ambrazeviciene).

Weidenschilling was working in the tradition of Gustav Just's Life of Luther to provide a concise, basic summary of Luther's life and introduction to the Reformation. The two works cover much of the same ground, often even in the exact same sequence and manner. The pictures in the older volume are again used in Weidenschilling's, though they are supplemented with additional illustrations.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

An Explanation of the Common Service

Note: Thank you very much to Rev. Mike Grieve of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Golden, IL for this excellent review of a true classic. Anyone wanting to know more about our worship service in the Lutheran Church truly ought to pick this book up. It can be purchased from Emmanuel Press. It was originally compiled and published by the General Council to teach people about the beauty and truth of the Common Service. What a blessing that it is still in print!

“An Explanation of the Common Service”:  Fifth Edition Revised and Enlarged; United Lutheran Publication House, Philadelphia, 1908; Reprinted in 2006 by Emmanuel Press, 1916 Ridgewood Ave., SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506

            The answer, “that’s the way we’ve always done it,” to the question of, “why do we do what we do in worship?” is not only unhelpful, but it’s also false. We do know “why we do what we do in worship.”  Sometimes we just don’t know where to find the answer to the question.  An Explanation of the Common Service helps give concrete answers to questions that would otherwise be left in abstract thought and speculation.  What would seem to be a daunting number of questions and answers (250) is eased by the reality that the book is just 120 pages in length, which includes a history of Christian hymnody; liturgical colors and their significance; and index and glossary.