What Makes a Hymn Good

By Rev’d Christopher Esget, Senior Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church

Recently I made an off-the-cuff remark about a particular hymn: "I know I'm not supposed to like [this hymn], but I do." That led a parishioner to ask me what I meant by that. What makes a hymn bad, or good?

There is a subjective answer; some texts or tunes just resonate with us, or annoy us. At that level there is no bad or good, it's just a taste or style preference.

At another level, though, there are objective qualities to a hymn that we can analyze. Detailing all of those would require a long essay, or even book. But here are some of the things I look for:

Faithful to Scripture

If a text is ambiguous – or worse, teaches something false, that's a problem. On the other hand, if the text helps us understand a truth of Scripture better, that's one good reason to sing it.

An example that comes to mind is the Advent hymn Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending. The second line in the original reads, "Once for favored sinners slain." This suggests that the death of Jesus was only for some people (the favored sinners), and not for all. That's false doctrine. So we can't sing it - unless we alter the text. The version in Lutheran Service Book changes it to "Once for every sinner slain." That accords with the Biblical truth that Jesus died for all sinners, not just some.

Walk-in-Wednesday: 3rd Grade with Mrs. Anastasia Krumwiede

It’s time for our last “Walk-in-Wednesday” feature of the calendar year before we take off the next two weeks for our Christmas break!

Each Wednesday when we are in school, we have been sharing a sneak peek from one of our teachers, highlighting what a visitor might observe when walking into our classrooms. This week our “Walk-in-Wednesday” series is from our 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Anastasia Krumwiede. She shares a bit of insight into the special community formed by our 2nd and 3rd grade students as they share some time together each day.

Join us each week when we are in school for a Walk-in-Wednesday tour to see our students and teachers in action and experience a classical, Christian education at Immanuel. Stepping through our red doors, you will be welcomed by the joyful sounds of learning, from poems and jingles in the lower grades, to great discussions of literature or theology in our older grades. Throughout our building, the wonderful sights and sounds of students and teachers engaged in active learning can be witnessed in person, but if you haven’t yet had a chance to visit us, or you would simply like to get more of a feel for the learning in our different grades, we are now offering a weekly glimpse into our classes here on the ILS Blog.

We hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and we look forward to welcoming you back to our blog series (or for an in-person visit!) again in January!

Walk-in-Wednesday: Jr. Kindergarten with Mrs. Laurie Honig

It’s Wednesday, which means it is time to join us for a Walk-in-Wednesday tour, or if you can’t make it in person, to take another peek into our classrooms through our virtual “Walk-in-Wednesday” series on the ILS Blog!

During our school year, we offer families and opportunity to learn more about a classical, Christian education at Immanuel by visiting during one of our weekly Walk-in-Wednesday tours. The joyful sounds of learning will welcome visitors walking through our red doors, as students recite (and act-out!) poems and chant jingles in the lower school, and engage in excellent discussions of literature, history and theology in upper school students. Singing and music ring out from the music room, and the wonderful sights and sounds of students and teachers engaged in learning can be witnessed throughout our campus.

If you cannot visit us in person, or you’d just like to explore more of what you and your child might experience at ILS, we are sharing updates from our teachers highlighting what visitors may encounter when they step into an ILS classroom. Today, Mrs. Laurie Honig shares a delightful look at her days with our youngest ILS scholars, our 4 and 5 year-old Jr. Kindergarten students.

Please enjoy, and join us here on our ILS Blog each week as we share additional “Walk-in-Wednesday” features! (Curious to learn more? Visit us at an upcoming ILS Admissions Open House!)

Sermon for Grandparents Day Matins, Friday, April 27, 2018

Rev. Peter J. Eckardt, Associate Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church and School

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

We are blessed to have you grandparents here with us today. You are a blessing to your children and to your grandchildren. And I’m sure that the grandchildren who have grandparents here with them today feel that way as well. It’s such a blast to have Grandma and Grandpa come by. It’s fun and exciting to spend time with them. And grandparents are a blessing to you grandkids not just because they’re the ones who spoil you and maybe give you treats that your parents wouldn’t give, and play games with you, and spend extra time with you, but even more importantly, because they are examples and models for you. They model virtue and character, the wisdom that they have gained over many years. You children, should be watching and learning from your grandparents. And we ought to honor our grandparents; just as, God says, we ought to honor our father and mother, so also we honor the fathers and mothers of our father and mother.

God says in Proverbs, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” You grandparents have been a part of this training up, not only of your own children but of your grandchildren, in many and various ways, and by your examples and have thus blessed them.

Meet Us Monday: Pastor Peter Eckardt, 5/6 Grade Theology Teacher

Each week, we hope you will check back in for our latest "Meet Us Monday" update where we introduce a member of our faculty. Get to better know the outstanding teachers and administrators on the ILS team through their responses to our 10 fun questions. This week, Pastor Peter Eckardt, who in addition to serving as one of the Pastors at Immanuel Lutheran Church, also teaches 5th and 6th grade theology classes at ILS. Enjoy!

Six Questions with Pastor Esget

As we welcome our many new and returning families to another new school year, we wanted to introduce (or re-introduce in some cases) you to all of our talented and caring faculty members.  Through our Six Questions Series, our teachers and faculty members have a chance to share some of their own reflections on classical, Christian education and what they enjoy most about our ILS community.

Today, ILS Superintendent and Senior Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Christopher Esget, shares his responses to our Six Questions.