Concordia, Nebraska Presents Hymn Festival
Concordia University’s music department will present “Redeemed by His Grace: A Hymn Festival Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation” at 3 p.m., September 17, 2017 in St. John Lutheran Church.
Dr. Jeffrey Blersch, professor of music and University organist at Concordia University, Nebraska, will accompany the event. Senior Assistant to the President of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, Rev. Dr. Jon Vieker, will act as commentator and give historical and spiritual background to the hymns.
Concordia’s A Cappella Choir conducted by Dr. Kurt von Kampen, Cantumus Women’s Chorus conducted by Dr. Blersch, and the Male Chorus conducted by Paul Soulek will all perform along with Professor Andy Schultz on trumpet and Dr. Wendy Schultz on trombone.
The festival will include traditional reformation hymns such as “A Mighty Fortress” with a special arrangement by Blersch commissioned by Concordia Publishing House for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Other arrangements by Dr. Blersch, Dr. von Kampen, Paul Soulek and Professor Emeritus Dr. Charles Ore are included in the program. Dr. Blersch is especially excited to introduce, “a new hymn that was the winner of the LCMS’s Reformation hymn writing competition.
The festival is free and open to the public.
For Better or For Worse-Col. 3:14– 4:1
With the words, “for better or for worse” those that marry pledge their love and commitment. Solemn words, hopeful words said before God and those who have come to witness. Jesus said: “’God made them male and female.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”
God created this world in love so that we can live in community with the love of Christ in our heart giving and receiving love from each other. Is marriage and family a crucial part of God’s plan? What are the concerns, what threatens marriage and family and how is this precious gift protected and sustained?
Question: Why did Martin Luther, a former priest, decide to marry?
Answer: Luther understood that there is nothing in Scripture requiring celibacy. He taught, the Bible wants people to “be fruitful and multiply” and preachers should be married so they aren’t tempted to sin. At the age of 42 he married a former nun, Katherine Bora, 16 years younger than him. The wedding of Martin and Katherine was not done lightly, nor was it without controversy. Luther thought long and hard about whether he should get married. Melanchthon and others felt that Luther’s wedding would be scandalous and harm the cause of the Reformation. Ultimately, Luther came to the opposite conclusion. As he put it, there was “a battery of reason in favor of his proposal: his marriage would please his father, rile the pope, cause the angels to laugh and the devils to weep.”
Walk the Line Col. 3:1-11
Just get out there and do your best. Sound advice but is it helpful advice when living your life as a believer in Christ? Is our task in life to walk the line between good and bad, eliminating sin? Paul answers that question with a yes and a no. Yes, but it is not job alone. Raised with Christ from death of sin we can separate ourselves from the old ways, the natural desire to elevate ourselves into the place of God. Those old ways were buried with Christ and raised with Him we are washed clean ready to walk the line, empowered with the mind and heart of Christ. We walk the line in love, His love.
Paul, inspired by the Spirit paraphrased says, “Go out and do the best that is in you.” We are to walk that line but it is not by ourselves. Paul writes, “….you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is…” Col. 3:1 So you walk the line with “Christ who is your life”.
Question: Why did Martin Luther write the Small Catechism?
Answer: The Small Catechism is also known as Luther’s Little Instruction Book. Luther wrote it in 1529 as a guide for fathers in teaching the main points of the gospel to their children and servants. He had noticed that while the Protestant gospel had been preached for ten years, there was a lack of understanding of the gospel and the Christian life. Religious education in the family home was in a sorry state. In his words, “How pitiable, so help me God, were the things I saw: the common man, especially in the villages, knows practically nothing of Christian doctrine, and many of the pastors are almost entirely incompetent and unable to teach. The Small Catechism was written to fill the gap.