Pulpit Book Review
An Excellent Resource for the One-Year Lectionary
Giertz, Bo. Translated by Clifford A. Nelson. Preaching from the Whole Bible. Fort Wayne, IN: Lutheran Legacy, no date. Reprint of 1967 Augsburg edition. 144 Pages. Paper. $15.00 www.lutheranlegacy.org (P)
Lutheran Worship (1982) only provided limited support for the Historic Lectionary. Lutheran Service Book has done much better in this regard, yet there is a more immediate need for more helps and resources for pastors and congregations (like many in the Wyoming District,) that use the One-Year Lectionary now.
This reprint of a classic Bo Giertz book is just what the doctor ordered. Many thanks to Lutheran Legacy for undertaking the reprint and to Augsburg Fortress for granting permission for it.
The original Swedish title would go something like this in English: What does God’s Word Say? The Hammer of God author Bo Giertz (1905-1998), serve as a bishop in the Gothenburg Diocese of the Church of Sweden.
There is a page and a half to two page devotion-like sermonic study for each Sunday in the Church Year and each major Feast based upon the appointed Holy Gospel. The left margin includes other Bible references or allusions, helpful for connections when preaching. Each study begins, “What the Bible has to say About…”
A review of the Contents page serves as a Church Year as well as a topical index. Find topics such as “Rewards,” “Learning How to Pray,” “Responsibility for the Gospel,” “Our Anxieties,” and “Being Stewards.”
In the concluding paragraph for the Fourth Sunday in Advent Bishop Giertz wrote: “These are the two great fundamental truths that Luther rediscovered when the Bible came into his hands. This is the center of all evangelical Christianity—that forgiveness of sins is granted to us by faith in Christ and that God’s Word gives us this faith when we allow it to be our guide. These two fundamental truths are too often forgotten and misunderstood in our time. That is why so many people imagine that they can be Christians without going to church if they only live a decent and honorable life every day. But this is not what God’s Word says to us. ‘And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?’ One becomes a Christian through the living Word of God that abides forever” (15).
Allow Pastor Giertz to be your guide through the next Church Year, and he might just talk you into making use of the One-Year Lectionary.
For congregations that already hear the Historic Lectionary on an annual basis, this brief book would be a great One-Year weekly devotion for the layman. For the pastor and preacher, this is an essential resource for the proclamation of the One-Year pericopes.
In addition, Lutheran Legacy has some impressive work already completed, with similarly ambitious goals: “The Lutheran Legacy website is an evolving online digital database of public-domain Lutheran documents. For the time being, we provide indexed page images (over 40,000 of them as of June 1, 2006). We are developing technology and support to provide transcribed text, translated text, and interactive web features. As translations become available, we will offer the most important titles in library-quality print form…
“We provide documents of all types from the Age of Lutheran Orthodoxy (dogmatic works, commentaries, hymnals, etc.). We are also seeking to provide documents from the Early and Medieval Church, early Reformation Lutheranism, and early American Lutheranism. All texts provided in this database are believed to be public domain and have been donated from various library collections” (Publisher’s website).
From the Archives: A Giertz Pulpit Book Review (LHP QBR 2.1, Christmastide 2007)