Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Hymns and The Hymn of the Day
God’s people have been encouraged to sing their prayers, praise, and thanksgiving to God. Why do we sing? Psalm 98 gives us the reason.
Oh sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
The Word of God not only creates faith but teaches us, His children, His gracious will toward us. God has freely given us His own righteousness. In our hymns we respond to this Good News with singing, reciting back to Him the great acts of our salvation in thanksgiving and praise.
Taking cues from Scripture’s own songbook, the Psalms, the Church’s hymns give us a variety of ways to thank, praise, and proclaim the God who has done all good things for us. In the Divine Service, our singing is related to the readings from Scripture. Hymns enable everyone to join together in proclaiming the scriptural truths read at the lecturn, preached from the pulpit, and spoken before the altar.
Within the Divine Service, congregational hymnody relates to the Scripture appointed for each Sunday. The Hymn of the Day is the principle hymn of the Divine Sercice and relates to, and reflects on the theme of the day, most often set by the Holy Gospel.
Our Lord sent His apostles into the world to preach that forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are found through Him. In the preaching of the Sermon, that apostolic Word is proclaimed among us today.
sermon: The pastor’s proclamation, usually based on the Scripture readings for the day.
The Sermon is dependent on all that has gone before it in the Divine Service—the liturgy, the hymns, and the readings. Therefore the message of the Sermon is the fullest expression of the theme of the day. The Sermon is the pinnacle of the Service of the Word. It is the Word studied, explained, and expounded through the pastor, the one called by the congregation to preach.
In the Sermon the pastor speaks God’s words of judgment and grace to the current situation. In this way, the Sermon also prepares the hearer for the celebration of the Service of the Sacrament. Like the Absolution, the Sermon delivers the forgiveness of sins earned by Christ on the cross. The Divine Service, then, becomes for us grace upon grace (John 1:16).
1 Corinthians 1:18
For the word of the cross is . . . the power of God.
Lutherans believe and confess that preaching from the Word of God is a means of grace. That is, that the power of God to forgive sins is available and received through the Word of God proclaimed by the preacher. The sermon is placed in the service of the cross, and as in the Absolution and the Sacraments, the hearer is engaged in a person encounter with the living God who is strong to save.
means of grace: The means by which God gives us the forgiveness life, and salvation won by the death and resurrection of Christ: God’s Word, Absolution, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper.
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