Martin Luther’s Reformation took wings when he realized the importance of hymns that would preach Lutheran doctrine to the people in their language. His hymns swept Northern Europe—and the countries that would become Lutheran: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden—almost as fast as they could be translated into the vernacular language by the respective reformers of each country, many of whom were students of Luther in Wittenberg.
Articles in this issue:
In the beginning God speaks six times on six days, and then stops. God rests. But each of these days also has a night. And God rests then too! God doesn’t talk all the time. In fact, Genesis doesn’t even start with a word. Genesis starts with the formlessness of the earth and with the Spirit of God brooding over the face of the deep. Then God speaks. You might almost say that at last God speaks. “Let there be light,” says God. According to Genesis, God breaks the cosmic silence with a creative word.
Reggie M. Kidd. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2005. 224 pp. $14.99. ISBN 0-8010-6591-7.
Pete Ward. Paternoster Press, 2005. 235 pages. $15.00.
Northern hemisphere visitors to New Zealand at Christmas and Easter frequently comment on how topsy-turvy it all feels down here. We sing, in the words of Shirley Murray, one of this country’s best known hymn writers, of an “upside-down Christmas” in which the traditional white Christmas of northern climes gives way to long summer days at the beach. And at Easter, the fresh scents and colors of the northern hemisphere spring give way to the muted colors and cooler temperatures of a southern hemisphere autumn.
What would President Benjamin Harrison have thought of an accordion and a mandolin playing during worship in his church? The former U.S. president probably wasn’t expecting that when he helped plan a new building for First Presbyterian Church in his hometown of Indianapolis, down the street from the house where he used to give campaign speeches on his front porch.
Like me, you’re probably sick of hearing about mergers and acquisitions. Every day, it seems, I have to learn a new name for my phone company or bank or Internet provider. Sometimes these unions are made in heaven, other times . . . let’s just say things were better as they were.
Nonethless, here’s my suggestion for a merger. A merger that needs to happen: getting the “flower people” and the “banner people” together.