WELS Hymnal Project

Thematic Sundays

Thematic Sundays are a chief feature of the new lectionary. For example, rather than a series of continual readings through an epistle, the second reading will fit the theme for each Sunday. But what about all the other appointments? In the lectionary published in 1993, the appointments for the Prayer of the Day, the Verse of the Day, the Psalm of the Day, and the Hymn of the Day often lacked any connection to the appointed readings.

In the new lectionary and accompanying resources, the Scripture Committee will provide new appointments that match the Sunday theme. Consider this example:

Proper 15, Year A (The Sunday that falls between Aug 14-18)
Matthew 15:21-28 The Faith of the Canaanite Woman; even the dogs get the crumbs
Isaiah 56:1, 6-8 God will bring foreigners to his holy mountain; a house of prayer for all nations
Ephesians 2:13-22 Gentiles are fellow citizens with God’s people in the Church

The readings proclaim, “The Church is for all people.”

Our past lectionary (PEN 13A) offered a psalm, Verse of the Day, and Prayer of the Day that had no connection to the thrust of the Gospel. It appointed as Hymn of the Day, "When in the Hour of Utmost Need," which certainly speaks of the woman’s plight, but fails to capture the theme of the Sunday.

The new appointments seek to stay on theme:

Prayer of the Day
Gracious God, in Christ you bring people from near and far into the fellowship of your Church. Open our eyes to your saving plan and move us to embrace all who seek your salvation so that we may rejoice together at the banquet of your love; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Psalm of the Day
Psalm 67. May your ways be known on earth; your salvation among all nations.

Gospel Acclamation (Verse of the Day)
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Hymn of the Day
The Church’s One Foundation. This hymn offers clear ties to all three readings.

We hope that thematic appointments of these resources will encourage their frequent use.

About Jonathan Schroeder

Rev. Jonathan Schroeder is the Scripture Committee Chairman of the WELS Hymnal Project. Schroeder currently serves at Faith in Sharpsburg, GA. Schroeder is an at-large member of the WELS Synodical Council, moderator of the Institute for Worship and Outreach, consultant for both the WELS School of Worship and the WELS School of Outreach. Jon and his wife, Jenny, have three children, Keith, Justin, and Emily.


Other Recent Articles

Catch up on the latest writing from the WELS Hymnal Project.

Get the blog delivered straight to your inbox.
Join our mailing list and you'll receive timely updates, interesting insights, and invitations to participate in the research and development of the new hymnal.