Last Sunday afternoon, September 23rd, a crowd of worshippers at Normandale Lutheran Church experienced the musical richness of the  old Augustana Synod liturgy–a heritage brought to America by Swedish Lutherans.  First, a hymn sing through the church year–Advent (When Jesus Comes in Glory), Christmas (When Christmas Morn is Dawning), Lent (Sweet the Moments, Rich in Blessing), Easter (Praise the Saviour!), Pentecost/Trinity (Jesus, in My Walk and Living), Trinity (My Jesus I love Thee), Trinity (Nearer, Still Nearer, Close to They Heart), Last Judgement (When He Cometh, When He Cometh).  Then the singing of the opening sentence :  The Lord is in His Holy Temple, the Lord is in His Holy Temple, Let all the earth keep silence, Let all the earth keep silence before Him.  Keep silence, keep silence, before Him*.  and the opening hymn.  And then the liturgy began–the rich liturgy, in four part chorale–music from the mid-sixteenth century.  The Kyrie and the Gloria in Excelsis are from Bjurakers Handskrift, prior to 1550.  Such a gift of musical richness through all these centuries to Lutherans gathered in worship.  It is, indeed, singing the faith–from generation to generation to generation.

This is the music Alma Christina Lind Swensson played on the organ for the congregation at Bethany Lutheran Church in Lindsborg, Kansas. Like hundreds of organists who played the Augustana liturgy throughout this country beginning in the 1850’s, Alma was a partner with the pastor as he intoned the liturgy, and with the congregation in singing their response.  Such a heritage of musical richness.  From generation to generation to generation.  Thanks be to God!