Martin Luther was not only a lover of music, but a gifted writer of hymns and musical accompaniment. The German Mass he prepared for the new evangelical churches included hymnody by the congregation –something rarely used in Medieval Catholic churches. Luther believed that the recovery of hymnody was a teaching tool in which the power of the music and the words together would reinforce the teaching from the pulpit. Luther also urged parents to use hymns during their home devotions, and encouraged the use of hymns in schools, as well.
When our children were young, my wife, Joan, and I would include Christian songs in our devotions or time around the table. “Jesus Loves the Little Children” “Rise and Shine,” and others were among those we sang together, as well as Christmas carols during Advent. Sometimes we allowed the girls to choose the hymn for the day.
Once, as my wife was driving the girls somewhere, they were singing “I am Jesus’ Little Lamb.” Kate, our youngest said, “Some kids don’t know they are Jesus’ little lamb.” She felt sorry for those other children because she knew something they didn’t–something really important that everyone should know. That comment led my wife to begin a five-year practice of writing the Vacation Bible School programs for our congregation. That was a successful ministry that began with singing hymns as a family.
More to come ….
For more about Martin Luther and music see: