Perplexed by LSB

I want to say something about Lutheran Service Book. I truly appreciate the attempt made to make everyone happy and to have the same hymnal in all LCMS pews.

I am, however, perplexed and disappointed that strides made in Lutheran Worship were simply reversed. I’m not talking about big things, but some things that simply put us back into “church language” that is no longer American language. This surely was done only to please people who just want things like they’ve always been.

Two examples:

(1) We’ve been singing “Holy God, We Praise Your Name” for more than 20 years, and now we are supposed to sing “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name.” I’ve long been cognizant that originally “thy” was the familiar form. It has now become a “spiritual form,” and people are too timid to say “you” to God, for it sounds disrespectful, or at least not as reverent. Thus, the restored “thy” language in LSB is exactly the opposite of its original meaning.

(2) The same thing has happened with “Christ, the Life of All the Living,” which now again contains the older-form pronouns “Thee” and “Thyself.” Twenty years of singing thrown out to serve the past.
I know there’s nothing that can be done about this now, but I believe the Missouri Synod needs to be alert to its declining population and seek to talk to the unchurched world, not keep things as we’ve known them just for the sake of tradition, familiarity, and comfort.
John W. Krueger, D. Min.
Tempe, Ariz.

Dr. Paul Grime, executive director of the Synod’s Commis-sion on Worship, understands Dr. Krueger’s point. By way of response, Grime says the commission, in preparing LSB, strove to distinguish between archaic and obsolete language. “While we updated words that were hard to understand or which have dropped out of usage,” he says, “we kept others that made sense or which never needed to be changed in the first place.” Sometimes, he says, “older phrasing simply is more beautiful or easier on the tongue, and certainly just as understandable as more modern phrasing. Consider, How Great Thou Art.’ I wonder how many Letters to the Editor we would have received had we changed that one to , How Great You Are’? ” – Ed. 

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