Friday, November 13, 2009

Matzke's reMarks: Theology Must Sing

Rev. Mark Matzke features a quote from hymn writer Martin Franzmann.  The quote begins "Theology is doxology.  Theology must sing."

A quick look at some hymns by Martin Franzmann will reveal that he lived up to this edict.


Let all our deeds, unanimous, 
Confess Him as our Lord
Who by the Spirit lives in us,
The Father's living Word.


In Adam we have all been one,
One huge rebellious man;
We all have fled that evening voice
That sought us as we ran.


From the cross Thy wisdom shining
Breaketh forth in conqu'ring might.
From the cross forever beameth
All Thy bright redeeming light.


Though some be snatched and some be scorched
And some be choked and matted flat,
The sower sows; his heart cries out,
"Oh, what of that, and what of that?"


Thou camest to our hall of death,
O Christ, to breathe our poisoned air,
To drink for us the dark despair
That strangled our reluctant breath.
How beautiful the feet that trod
The road that leads us back to God!
How beautiful the feet that ran
To bring the great good news to man!


What we sing matters.  What we sing teaches us about our faith.  Whether we sing, "I Am Jesus' Little Lamb" or "At the Lamb's High Feast We Sing," we are proclaiming in song that which we believe; we are proclaiming that which the church has taught from the beginning.  When choosing music for worship, one must ask, "Is this hymn proclaiming that which has been taught throughout the ages? Is our liturgy in line with those who have gone before?"

The Lutheran Reformation was not about uncovering something new, rather it was about restoring the historic teachings of the church.  The Confessions and other writings of the Lutheran reformers are filled with references not only to Scripture, but also to the Church Fathers, showing continuity between the first Christians and those of the present day.  As Lutheran Christians, we do not have a faith that dates back to 1517, but rather a faith that dates back to the ancient church, to the apostles, and to the forerunners of Christianity: the great prophets who foretold of the coming Messiah and all those who trusted in this promise.

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