In 2006, with the publication of Evangelical Lutheran Worship, a trajectory of worship renewal that had begun generations earlier and had already become quite clear with Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) continues. Among the primary markers of this path are a renewed emphasis on the sacraments in general and baptism in particular; encouragement of shared leadership in worship, including prominent roles for laypeople; the recognition that music in worship—and especially song—needs to belong at heart to the worshiping assembly; and a recovery of the Three Days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter as the very center of the church's year. These last two points, particularly, find expression in this collection of music for Lent and the Three Days.
The core of this collection resulted from a gathering of composers in the summer of 2008. They were charged with writing music specifically for the liturgies as set out in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, using, in most cases, the texts that are there. The pieces were to have assembly involvement. The musical styles were left up to the composers (and range from chant to blues), but they needed to be accessible. The results are on display within these covers. Even though the pieces were written for the Evangelical Lutheran Worship services, they promise to prove useful also in the worship of other churches and faith traditions, especially those that are also celebrating or rediscovering the riches of the liturgies at the heart of the year. Supplementing the newly written pieces are some previously composed ones that seemed well suited to use in these services.
This book is a companion piece to a helpful planning resource for these same times, the Worship Guidebook for Lent and the Three Days (Augsburg Fortress 2009). There may be found the texts of the services surrounded by commentary on how these services can be brought to life in a wide variety of worshiping communities. Included in the notes are many suggestions for musical leadership of these services, with frequent references to the contents of this Music Sourcebook.
An essential resource for music planning, content from Music Sourcebook for Lent and the Three Days (Augsburg Fortress, 2010) is available for instant download in the Prelude library.
Blessings to you and your music ministry during this time and throughout the year.