The ACELC exists "to give a united voice against errors that are officially adopted in convention, tolerated, and/or promoted in the LCMS.”

 

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Lent begins on Wednesday, February 14. As an organization which seeks to encourage and support rich, faithful, historical worship, the ACELC offers the following note concerning a Lenten practice observed throughout the Church. Thank you Pastor Van Hemert for this good reminder about the penitential nature of Lent and the anticipation of Easter joy! If you would like to learn more about the ACELC's emphasis on worship, we encourage you to read our 7 Theses on Worship.

 

“FAREWELL, ALLELUIA”

 

The hymn “Alleluia, Song of Gladness” (LSB #417) is perhaps the most bittersweet hymn in our hymnal. In some circles it is referred to as a “Farewell” to Alleluia. Traditionally, and regardless of whether your congregation is using the 1 Year or 3 Year Lectionary, it is the last hymn sung on Transfiguration Sunday. The Festival of the Transfiguration of our Lord marks the end of the Epiphany season and the beginning of our Lenten journey. After the Transfiguration, we turn our faces toward Good Friday and to the cross of Jesus.

 

In the 1 Year Lectionary, we begin our journey with small steps. The three Sundays after Transfiguration, called Gesimatide or Pre-Lent, take on the character of Lent, but mildly. This season ends with Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent. In the 3 Year Lectionary, the change is more abrupt. The Transfiguration of our Lord is followed by Ash Wednesday and then the account of Jesus’ temptation on the 1st Sunday in Lent. In either Lectionary the change is from the manifestation of Jesus’ glory in miracles, signs, and authoritative proclamation to the glory of the suffering servant who gives Himself as the redeeming sacrifice for His fallen creation.

 

The hymn “Alleluia, Song of Gladness” is bittersweet because it foreshadows the character of the coming seasons of Pre-Lent or Lent. The phrase “alleluia” is a joyous phrase which means, “Praise the Lord.” Yet, for a time, we forgo the joyous character of alleluias in the Liturgy. This is because Pre-Lent and Lent are seasons meant to order our hearts and minds, not only upon the terrible cost of the Lord’s gracious sacrifice on our behalf, but also on His willingness to be our Savior and to reconcile us to His Father. Thus, the third stanza of Hymn 417 is called to mind,

 

Alleluia cannot always

Be our song while here below;

Alleluia, our transgressions

Makes us for a while forgo;

For the solemn time is coming

When our tears for sin must flow.

 

Our tears for sin flow as we begin a more intense focus on our sin and the price Jesus paid to win our salvation. But the day is coming when alleluias will once again be songs upon our lips. Soon also is the day coming when tears will be no more, sin will be no more, and death will be no more. Soon will come the day when the Church will sing, “Alleluia, Jesus is Risen!”

 

Rev. Thomas Van Hemert

St. John Lutheran Church

Center Point, Iowa

Conferences

Save the date 

ACELC Conference – June 18th & 19th – Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Kansas City, MO

The Conference Theme: A Fraternal Conversation: The State of Our Synod in 2024

Past Conference Presentations:

  The Aim of Our Charge, 2023

Catechesis and Synodical Unity, 2022

Ecclesiastical Supervision, 2021

The Church's Mission & Evangelistic Task, 2019

Unionism & Syncretism, 2018

The Order of Creation, 2017

Dispute Resolution, 2016

Unbiblical Removal of Pastors, 2015

Office of the Holy Ministry, 2014

The Divine Service, 2013

The Lord’s Supper!, 2012

Addressing Error in The LCMS, 2011

ACELC Video

This video serves as a great discussion prompter for congregations, gatherings of circuit pastors, districts—all who care about the spiritual well-being of our brothers and sisters in Christ within the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. It spells out clearly the issues of doctrine and practice that continue to cause division within our synod and threaten our ability to walk together. It also shows our desire assist in the return to faithfulness within our synod.

We encourage you to watch this video, and use the study guides, as we together seek to deal with such issues, guided by the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. We pray that these resources, and others available through the ACELC website, will be a blessing to you and our synod. We welcome your feedback.

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