I recently ran across an article with a nugget so profound that I’m still thinking about it. And, it happens to be written by a very sweet, endearing woman: Carolyn Brinkley, an LCMS deaconess who devotes much of her time to helping Lutheran military and chaplains overseas have much needed Lutheran resources.
What’s so singular in this article? Did you catch it? “In essence hymns and devotions are the same. ”
My dear Deaconess Carolyn Brinkley may have been writing about hymns, but for me she has also recast devotional work. Sure, I knew devotions aims to build up with the Gospel, but I hadn’t considered the traditional tools that give rise and sustain that sentiment in the rich history of the church. Hymns can be ancient, but the same goals and accomplishments can be given through devotions as one type of modern adaptation.
I’m not sure which I’m more encouraged to write: hymns or devotions, but I really appreciate Carolyn’s succinct point and her persuasive common points. So, write . . .
- Based on the truth of Holy Scripture.
- Proclaim Law and Gospel.
- Teach an aspect of God’s plan of salvation.
- Teach who God is and who we are.
- Center on Word and Sacraments.
- Point to the cross and the forgiveness of sins.
- Make application to our lives today, and
- Express faith’s response to God’s mercy!
PS. By the way, Deaconess Carolyn Brinkley has a devotional book available. Back in the day, Albrecht Durer had a book titled, Small Passion, first published in 1511. It was a pocket devotional containing Christian poetry and 37 of his famously crafted woodcuts. Carolyn took a fresh look at the woodcuts, which allow us to view the Passion events as if they were happening right in front of our eyes, and combines them with Scripture and gems of hymnody for a new little treasure. Great for Lent or anytime.