Harmony of Difference

on a pilgrimage towards faith

The soundscape of Christian faith expands through Martin Luther not only into private homes and the streets, but from the 19th century also into concert halls. Thus, Lutheran continuity of tradition in the sense of the "Torgau formula"  - church and church culture as a space for a liturgy of encountering God through the revelation of God's word and the praying and praising congregation - are combined with Friedrich Schleiermacher´s expressivity of subjective religious experience.

Music as a narrative, contemplative, and imaginative medium connects the formative dimensions of the constituted church and the individual conceptions and experience of the divine beyond church walls. Furthermore, as a consequence of the Lutheran Reformation movement, poets and musicians, inspired by their religious practice, express personal religious experience and reflections on Christian faith through music for liturgies as well as in concerts. As a result, many Protestant hymns have retained a validity beyond congregational singing as personal narratives of faith from Luther onward into the 21st century. In addition to the poetic text of a hymn, it is precisely the connection with a melody popular in the respective time, that was able to lend these musical faith narratives an expressive power that transcended liturgical use.

Transformational experiences through music and within liturgy are key elements in shaping Christian identity. Luther and the Reformation movement enabled a richness of individual artistic interpretation of personal faith experiences which helped to create music and poetry outside of church walls which support a pilgrimage towards faith shaping Christian identity. Luther calls for walking with Christ (solus Christus) in learning from the full biblical revelation (sola sciptura) and seeking God´s grace on a pilgrimage guided by faith (sola fide), embracing the tradition and facing courageously and innovatively the future, with music and liturgical elements as pavement stones.


....both the content and form of the entire liturgical narrative must be related to and aligned with contemporary cultural and social narratives.

Transformative liturgies for the edification of all...

In conclusion, the Reformation movement, especially in the Lutheran tradition, promoted worship services that were consciously intended to enable cultural formation with the goal of deepening religious identity and to orient their liturgical identity according to the other identity-shaping factors in a society, most importantly music and song.


With this perspective on Lutheran liturgy as an embodied, communal retelling of fundamental ideas of Christian life and identity, it becomes evident, why constant transformation is one of the necessary traits of Lutheran liturgies and their music: Luther connected believers' identity to a crucial component of worldview formation by integrating it theologically within the framework, the corresponding biblical narratives of grace and justification. Therefore, both the content and form of the entire liturgical narrative must be related to and aligned with contemporary cultural and social narratives in order to be effective in forming Christian identity beyond church walls.


 

An essential precondition is the liturgical implementation of Luther's idea of the priesthood of all believers, for all worshipping participants constitute the “open doors” of a liturgy through which the liturgically inspiring (and religiously inspired) contemporary culture can be embodied, far from preconceived theological, aesthetic, or political agendas. Let it all be done for edification! ( (1 Cor. 14:26)

Thus liturgies are not only transformed, they transform themselves from within, from the Koinonia, the celebrating community of believers creating a "Harmony of Difference".