Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

The Five Settings


If you ever looked in the front of the hymnal, in addition to the other services, such as Matins, Vespers, Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, etc. You’ll notice that there are five different settings of the Divine Service!  To understand these services, the basic pattern of worship is that it has both sacramental and sacrificial parts.

Sacramental means that in these parts of the service, God comes to us to give us His good and gracious gifts, especially His Holy Word, Holy Baptism, and Holy Communion!  Sacrificial means that in these parts of the service, we respond to God with prayer, praise and thanksgiving!  For us as Lutherans, these two parts of worship are a beautifully interwoven melody that runs throughout the Divine Service in perfect rhythm.

What is more, the Sacramental always comes first and predominates throughout the entirety of the Divine Service!  This keeps us from boasting before God and saying, as it were, “God, look at all I’ve done for you!”  Instead, we are brought to the place of celebrating, yes, celebrating, all God has first done for us in Jesus Christ.

These characteristics are present, uniquely present in all five of the settings of the Divine Service that are found in the Lutheran Service Book.  As this hymnal was developed, the committee that put it together wanted five settings so that every Lutheran would have a setting that felt familiar to them.

Here’s a little description of each of the settings:

Setting Three preserves the Common Service (1888), which was familiar to LCMS Lutherans as “page 15” in The Lutheran Hymnal. The music is a mix of old German Lutheran tunes with roots in the Middle Ages and four-part Anglican chant tones. The traditional language of the canticle texts comes from the Book of Common Prayer. In places where the words are not sung, they have been subtly modernized.
Settings One and Two have identical texts, but different music. These new versions of the Lutheran rite were prepared in the 1970s for use in a new hymnal. The settings include new canticles (“This Is the Feast,” “Thank the Lord”) and an expanded version of the Kyrie. The modern translations of the canticles come from an ecumenical committee.
Setting Five is based on Luther’s German Mass (1526), using classic Lutheran hymns in place of the canticles. The order of service is filled out so that it more closely resembles the other settings in LSB.
Setting Four is a simpler setting of the service, originally prepared for Hymnal Supplement 98. Following the example of Luther’s German Mass, it uses hymns in place of the canticles, though these are more modern hymns. As in Setting Five, there is no chant music provided for dialogue between pastor and people.

Recently, on the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, we used Setting Five.  It worked perfectly with both the guitars and the organ, in both the Thursday and Sunday traditional worship services. With all its hymns, it illustrates why the Lutheran church long ago was called the “singing church!”  Furthermore, the sermon, based on Jesus’ visit with Martha and Mary, sought to illustrate the balance and order between Sacramental and Sacrificial, portraying our hospitality as something that only flows out of all that Jesus has first done for us to bring us near to Himself through His suffering, death, and resurrection.  When we were but strangers He “welcomed us in” to the family of God, and we are forgiven and made new!  Truly, this is reason to celebrate, and we praise God that there is such a rich variety of ways to celebrate in our worship life together each week!

In Christ’s love,
Pastor Daryn
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