the Assembly - Songbook
[ Back to Songbook ]
[ Preface to the Assembly Songbook ] [ Song - "May Your Breath of Love" ] [ Maggie Hamilton ] [ Assembly Songbook Pricing ]
of Hope and Reconciliation
to the New Assembly Songbook
by the LWF General Secretary, Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko
Christians gathered around the table in order to eat, celebrate,
witness, pray and be strengthened in Christian faith.
"Agape," the title of the songbook to be used at the 21–31
July 2003 Tenth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF),
refers to these fellowship meals, these love feasts. The Assembly
offers participants an opportunity to gather around the table in
order to eat, praise and share their experiences of love and healing.
word "agape" (literally "love") describes
the universal, all-embracing love which flows from God. It is not an
abstract concept. Rather, it refers to a way of life, characterized
by justice, compassion, mutual respect, hospitality, service,
reconciliation and hope. The primary location of agape is koinonia—the
community of the faithful—sustained by God’s love.
is not grounded in the endearing nature of the one who is loved.
Rather, it is love based on self-sacrifice and self-giving. It
presupposes a radical change in one’s way of relating to God, to
one another, to oneself and to nature. It involves a change in one’s
way of seeing, tasting and hearing. The songs contained in this
collection encourage and promote varied ways and expressions of
seeing, crying, tasting and praising. Love is expressed not only in
holy words of wisdom or in the language of the angels. It is also
whispered, murmured and cried out in the language of the poor, needy
and oppressed. I believe that the variety of expression is vital to
us as a communion. Through this kind of sharing and exchange we
become truly ourselves. These songs of praise and lament from around
the world help us to reconcile and break down social, cultural,
economic, gender and racial barriers. They are not only about
healing but are healing in themselves.
songbook is a Lutheran contribution to the ecumenical and liturgical
movement. It is my hope that after the Assembly it will be used
worldwide at Lutheran and ecumenical gatherings as well as in local
multicultural settings. The songs have been collected and selected
by a number of representatives from the LWF member churches and
ecumenical organizations. I would like to thank this group and the
Oxford University Press for their contribution to the life of the
Tenth Assembly of the LWF.
LWF General Secretary
Assembly Home] [Links]