Focus questions

Contemporary society shows through a widely connected global economy and the emphasis on information technology and digital media new aspects of nomadism in many parts of the world. How can liturgies and music reflect these aspects of mobility – freed from fixed church spaces and their inventory of instrument and distinct acoustics? In the light of catastrophic events, are there rites of healing and of mourning which connect to nature – even within nature (open-air worship services in nature, in the forest, in public spaces...)? The recent devastating Tsunamis, Tornados, Hurricanes, wildfires and floods call for new liturgies of mourning and healing – perhaps more suitable within nature than in church spaces.

With the human-caused destruction of natural resources, humanity destroys an important source of inspiration for the arts and a trigger of spiritual experiences – the complex and ambivalent “beauty and ugliness” discovered in nature.  For example, how can Christian responses through music and rites/liturgies look like in lamenting this loss of complex beauty but still expressing hope to overcome the current condition? Since lament alone or the blank support of political agendas are obviously not sufficient from a standpoint of Christian discipleship, can a focus on beauty in all its transcendental qualities be an answer here, and, thinking with Luther, coming closer to God through the adoration of the creation?   In practical terms, perhaps by liturgies which are rich of music and rites centering on the beauty of nature and inspire its loving and hopeful protection and integration in daily life? Can these liturgies even help to inspire a freedom to act responsibly in society for justice and peace?

In which ways can rites within liturgies integrate words and music which come from an outsider perspective? A critical/creative perspective on religious doctrine often evokes new myths on core Christian themes independent from the teaching of the institutional church. Can these “new myths” provide a momentum of pilgrimage towards faith, serving Christian discipleship? How can these often more universalistic and interreligious standpoints be found in religiously inspired contemporary music or poetry resonate with liturgies of worship?

In order to draw from these vast fields for Lutheran Hymns and Rites 2024, they are looked upon through the lens of Christian identity formation in the Lutheran tradition and are gathered under the thematic headings of pilgrimage, freedom and belonging.

Proposed content

SECTION I: Hymns from the seven regions of Lutheranism


I.    Pilgrimage: Between longing and belonging


II.   Freedom: Discipleship in action


III.  Belonging: Celebrating a "Harmony of Difference"


IV.  Luther´s musical heritage: traditional hymns in contemporary settings
interwoven with thematically suiting Rites of Gathering (opening oneself for: listening, contemplation, prayer); Rites of Celebrating Creation (the life in us and on earth and the cosmos)
Rites of Sending (blessings, strengthening oneself for: sharing, discipleship, action)

SECTION II: Liturgies from the seven regions of Lutheranism
V. Selected liturgies including some of the General Assembly 2023

SECTION III: Resources
VI.  Liturgical and Musicological Reflections on the content of Lutheran Rites and Hymns 2024
VII. Results from Conferences and Consultations
VIII. Appendix of Hymnbooks and global resources