The Bach Cantata Vespers at Grace Lutheran Church, River Forest, IL began its 51st season on September 26, 2021 with an in-person congregation as well as livestreamed participants at home. This is a full order of Vespers according to the use of Lutheran Book of Worship with a full Bach Cantata and a full homily. The cantata […]
Religion and the Arts
The Epiphany is a time of mystery with stories that are subject to a lot of interpretations: the visit of magi from the East to the infant Jesus offering strange gifts and all the characters in Matthew’s story being directed in their comings and goings by their dreams; the Baptism of Jesus by his cousin John with a dove descending and a voice from heaven heard only by Jesus; the miracle of Jesus turning water into wine (good wine!) at a wedding party in Cana of Galilee at the request of his mother, even as he protests that his “time has not yet come;” the infant Jesus being presented in the Temple by his parents who go through rites in which the Son of God is redeemed from being offered to God by the substitute offering of turtledoves and prophesied over by two elderly saints. It is a time in the church year that has inspired poetry, drama, art, and splendid worship.
This issue of Let’s Talk takes up the topic of art and religion: religious art and liturgical art.
“Eternity,” You Thunder Word
Johann Sebastian Bach Gwen GotschMark Bangert Edited by Frank Senn On November 24, 2019 (what for us contemporary Lutherans was Christ the King Sunday, a twentieth century Roman Catholic festival we adopted in 1978, but for the old Lutherans the Last Sunday after Trinity with its eschatological theme of the last judgment) the Bach Cantata […]
Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Season of Advent
Maxwell Johnson December 12, 2016 Professor Johnson invited Let’s Talk to use a version of his talk published in Church Life Journal. A journal of the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame. Tim O’Malley, the director of the Institute, immediately gave us permission to republish this article. For some Christian […]
Book Review: Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint
I read a lot of theology. This is not unusual for most of you reading this review. However, I have made an observation, in these years of reading, that books on theology usually make one of two impacts. Either a book is readily accessible and impacts a wider audience, or a book makes a powerful […]
On the Way: Called on Film
In a critical scene of Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront, Father Barry (Karl Malden) confronts boxer-turned-longshoreman Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) in a tavern. Malloy is holding a gun and seeking revenge for the death of his brother at the hands of the gangsters who dominate the local union. The priest pleads with him to give […]
As I See It: Clothed in Righteousness
I once received this email from a Lutheran pastor, who wrote: “In my present call I have inherited a ‘contemporary’ service. In the negotiations that are always necessary in these scenarios, I insisted on vestments (alb and stole) for eucharistic celebrations. A member expressed concern over the ‘pomp’ behind such vestments. My response revolved around […]
Masks for J.B.
The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from.”–Job 1:7a. (NIV) I was teaching a Bible study on the Book of Job. This was to be part of a longer series on Wisdom Literature. A readers’ theater version of chapters 1, 2, and 42 was presented in the second class. Various roles were assigned […]
A Lutheran Learns to Read and Write Icons
In 1988, for the thousandth anniversary of Christianity in Russia, I had the joy of leading a tour to Scandinavia and the Soviet Union, entitled “From Trolls to Icons.” I didn’t know then that the encounter with icons would so fascinate me and that after an almost mystical experience I would become a student of […]