Richard Resch has devoted his life to the Lutheran church, and to music. He is an accomplished musician and professor at Concordia Theological Seminary, and he’s combined his two loves, music and the church, to produce a documentary on the origins of Lutheran music. ‘Singing The Faith’ is designed for use by pastors and bible study groups but the story it tells is fascinating for laymen and clergy alike. It begins in the 16th century with Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. Luther felt music cold be an important tool in spreading the gospel, so he began writing hymns to emphasize specific Bible readings. The practice caught on.
“Luther actually spread the whole word of the Reformation was through the singing of the people,” Resch says. “He knew that was how you could get it into the hearts and minds of all ages, really even children.”
Among the early Lutheran hymnists were some very gifted men. But it was Johann Sebastian Bach in the 18th century who elevated Lutheran music to heavenly standards with his organ preludes and cantatas. This was the Golden Age of Lutheran music. It is followed by a long slump in hymn writing but there’s a revival in hymn composition right now. ‘Singing The Faith’ explains the roots of that movement and where liturgical music may be headed today.
“It’s not just studying history but that whole story of the church’s song is not over,” Resch says. “God continues to give his church poets and theologians who can express this anew.”
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