The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Music for seasons of life

Thanks be to God for poets, hymn writers, singers

I desire that all Christians cherish the lovely gift of music, a precious, worthy and costly treasure given by God to humankind. Next to God’s word, the noble art of music is the world’s greatest treasure.”

Martin Luther’s words express why we turn to music in the varied seasons of life to sing the faith and hear God’s promises.

Memories of my family nurturing me in the faith are inseparable from singing hymns. As a boy ready to play outside, I became restless when family devotions included Scripture, prayer and singing. Memorizing hymns for confirmation seemed like a chore. Yet these songs hold more than memories. They strengthen faith, bring joy, and unite my voice and heart with the saints across the ages.

When our children awakened in the night, my wife Ione and I took turns rocking them, quietly singing, “Children of the heavenly Father safely in his bosom gather.” Confirmands at a congregation I served sang that hymn when we gathered on a cold January day at classmate Laurie’s grave, who died at age 11. Holding hands with one another, we sang, “Neither life nor death shall ever from the Lord his children sever; unto them his grace he showeth, and their sorrow all he knoweth.”

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