History of Missouri Synod Hymnals:
This was the first hymnal of the Missouri Synod in America after the immigration of German-Saxon Lutherans to St. Louis, MO via New Orleans and the Mississippi River in January of 1839. In 1847 the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod was formed and the Synod adopted this hymnal in the same year. As can be determined from the title, it is written entirely in German.
In 1912 the Synod saw the need for “transmitting the heritage of Lutheran liturgy and hymnody to a new generation and a new language.” The result was the first official English hymnal of the Synod. It is known as “the old green hymnal.” This hymnal has no musical notations, only words.
The Lutheran Hymnal (1941)
This hymnal has been affectionately labeled, TLH or “the red one.” It has been the standard Lutheran Hymnal in America for most of the 20th century. Many of you who grew up in a Lutheran Church probably worshipped with the page 5 and page 15 settings of Divine Service. Musical notations were added in this hymnal along with a rich treasury of hymnody.
Lutheran Worship (1982)
In 1982 Lutheran Worship (LW or “the blue one”) was written. This is the hymnal that is currently in Atonement’s pews, despite the fact that the congregation has an electronic version of LSB. The LW hymnal was created because Synod saw a need for an “update” to TLH due to new social and religious concerns. Revisions were made to some of the liturgies and new hymns were added that had not been written when TLH was published. Some of these hymns are “Thy Strong Word,” “At the Lamb’s high Feast We Sing,” and the hymn of praise in Divine Service, Setting II with which we are familiar, “This Is the Feast.”
Lutheran Service Book (2006)
LSB is yet another revision of the hymnals of our Synod, in many ways combining the best of TLH and LW. Other features were added to make it a more convenient hymnal for Sunday worship and to create a rich devotional resource for families. Even more hymns that weren’t available (or weren’t put in) when LW was published have now found their way into an American Lutheran hymnal. Some of these hymns are “Amazing Grace,” “On Eagles Wings,” “The Lamb,” and “Go My Children with My Blessing.” The arrangements of many of the hymns have also been improved to make them easier to sing and more pleasing to the ear. Many arrangements have also been restored to their original “4 part choral” setting distinctive to Lutheran hymnody.
Becoming Familiar with LSB:
Atonement currently has the electronic version of LSB, The Lutheran Service Builder. Prior to my ordination and installation at the end of July, 2011, the congregation was using orders of service from the new hymnal. Divine Service, Setting II was being used for worship on the first Sunday and fourth Sunday and the Order of Matins was being used on the second Sunday of every month. This is still being done through the Service Builder.
Due to the limitations of having the hymnal only in the electronic version, the congregation was not making use of its vast array of other features. The congregation is still unable to make use of these features with ease. Some of them include: Luther’s Small Catechism; Bible readings and services for family and personal devotions; prayers, the creeds, and the Lord’s Prayer all located within the front cover for the convenience of the member and visitor alike; sequential numbering of the pages for the ease of visitors; bookmarker ribbons attached to the binding for keeping one’s place; close to one hundred prayers arranged by topic; and a glossary to provide full explanation of terms used in Lutheran liturgical worship.
Furthermore, LSB contains a rich collection of hymns, combining the best of all of the previous hymnals of our Synod while adding many other new hymns. The congregation was not making use of this rich collection on a regular basis prior to my arrival. Rather, the hymns were being sung out of “the blue hymnal.” In September 2011, out of a desire to make greater use of this rich resource, I began regularly printing hymns in the bulletin from LSB using the Lutheran Service Builder. In summary, we have already been making use of some of the hymns and orders of service from the new hymnal on a regular basis.
It is my intention to continue using this rich resource to aid not only the congregation’s Sunday morning worship but also to encourage the daily devotional habit of the congregation. Also, it is my intention to be consistent with the resolve of the Synod throughout its history regarding its worship life: “To transmit the heritage of the Lutheran liturgy and hymnody—words and music—to a new generation.” For this to take place, it is in Atonement’s best interest to purchase copies of the pew edition of the Synod’s new hymnal, LSB.
 Carl Schalk, “A Brief History of the LCMS Hymnals (before LSB),” Worship Notes, Spring 1997. Pg. 2.
 Schalk, “A Brief History of LCMS Hymnals,” 3.
 Schalk, “A Brief History of LCMS Hymnals,” 2.