What is Christmas without the beloved hymns of our faith…“Silent Night,” “Joy to the World,” “Away In a Manger,” and of course Mary’s “Magnificat”?
Yet, many Spanish-speaking churches around the world either have no hymnals, or those that they do have are very worn or incomplete.
Thanks to the faithful support of countless LHF donors across the nation, a new Spanish hymnal, called Himnario Luterano, is headed to the presses.
Himnario Luterano (a collection of more than 650 hymns, 3 orders of Divine Service, Psalms, the Small Catechism, collects, prayers and more) has recently passed doctrinal review by the LCMS and will become the standard Lutheran hymnal used across 18 countries. It’s a project more than 15 years in the making.
“A hymnal is one of the 3 books of the so-called triad of the Lutheran faith: the Bible, the Book of Concord, and a hymnal,” said Rev. Cristian Rautenberg, editor of the hymnal and former president of the Iglesia Luterana Confesional de Chile (Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile), a partner church of the LCMS. “The faith that is believed and preached is sung by the Church.”
“Hymnals teach the Christian faith and place Jesus and forgiveness of sins front and center,” said Rev. Ted Krey, LCMS regional director for Latin American and Caribbean missions. “Without a hymnal, we might drift into thinking that a service is chiefly about our worship of God, instead of our response to His acting amongst us.”
“We are very much looking forward to receiving the new Spanish hymnal,” said Rev. David Warner, an LCMS missionary to Spain who recently returned to the United States. “A good hymnal teaches, creates unity and can become the very best home devotional resource.”
“Currently, we print individual worship sheets for each service or use a seasonal book of hymns,” shared Caitlin Ramirez, LCMS deaconess in the Dominican Republic. “This works for worship, but it means that members remain ignorant of the fullness of hymnody the church has. We don’t get to study the hymns and learn from their theology.
“It is also limiting for the church workers not to have the richness of a full hymnal at their fingertips,” she continued. “Perhaps while caring for a shut-in at home, you desire to sing a hymn about the last days and our hope in heaven. However, we may currently be in the season of Lent, and the hymn booklet doesn’t contain the hymns about the end times. Those are found in a different booklet, which we won’t have printed for several months.”
Originally, LHF planned to print 10,000 copies of Himnario Luterano. However, as enthusiasm for the hymnal project has grown throughout Central and South America, the demand has increased to nearly double that amount. Thus, more financial support is necessary.
Rev. Rautenberg said he prays that as people everywhere celebrate the birth of our newborn Savior, hearts will be opened to give toward this important project.
“I ask God to allow me to sing my faith in Christ with my family and my church,” he said. “May this hymnal help to maintain the faith, in times so difficult for Christianity, and to bequeath to my children and grandchildren the same faith that we received in Holy Baptism.”
This Christmas, to help provide Spanish hymnals, go to LHFmissions.org/donate and select “Spanish projects” for funding, or use the enclosed envelope to mail your gift.
New Shipment of Spanish Bibles, Small Catechisms, Devotions & Children’s Bible Books Underway
In addition to Himnario Luterano, LHF has printed more than 55,000 Spanish copies of the Bible with Small Catechism, A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories, Luther’s Small Catechism and Jesus Never Fails.
These free resources are expected to arrive at LHF’s World Mission Center in Michigan in coming months; shipments are also on their way to 12 other countries.
“The Bible with Small Catechism is a critical tool for us,” said Rev. Joel Fritsche, LCMS missionary in the Dominican Republic (pictured above, center). “We carry them as we go around. The crucifix on the cover is always a conversation starter. One of the things we always say is that this picture tells us exactly what the Bible is about: Christ is at the center of the Scriptures.”