Lutheran education has sung from the beginning. While we also have a rich visual and textual tradition, we’re probably best known for communal singing, not performance singing but regular, all-in, worshipful, messy, as-loud-as-possible, kind-of-in-tune singing. The ACLE2022 worship planning committee is beavering away on one of the most challenging tasks in Lutheran education – trying to please everyone with the song choices for ACLE worship. They can’t win as it is such a passionate topic of debate but that’s fine as we will gather on the mountain anyway (Isaiah 2) and sing with one voice on the many paths we walk with Christ.
Writing about 16th century Lutheran schools, Brown says “The pedagogical ideals of musical and religious self-sufficiency, embraced by both clergy and laity, were taught and practiced in the [Lutheran schools]. There, music was used to convey Lutheran teaching to the students and, in turn, the students supported the public musical life of the town through their performance in church services and other public rites of the town, both civil and religious. Thus equipped, the boys and girls of [the town] would, it was hoped, grow up not only into cultured amateur musicians, but also into mature Christians who both understood Biblical doctrine and were able to apply its comfort to themselves and to their households.”
At this time of year, Australian Lutheran schools and early childhood services are especially present in the public musical life of local communities. The many lessons and carols services and end of year celebrations join us in song, all singing the gospel and sharing the comfort of Jesus Christ who came into the world for us and for our salvation.
Our lives are saturated with music these days but it is usually in isolation through earbuds rather than music making together in community. After almost two years of varying degrees of isolation, separation and fragmentation, the familiar tunes of carols connect and fuse us in the body of Christ, born for us. Whether inside or outside, masks on or off, as you come together in song, may peace, joy, hope and love be with you.
Brown, Christopher Boyd, Singing the Gospel: Lutheran Hymns and the Success of the Reformation, Harvard University Press, 2005
Assoc Prof Lisa Schmidt
Lutheran Education Australia