03 February 2011
A friend of mine...
...commented on another forum about how our hymnal was filled with hymn that are hard to sing and quite depressing (referring to the tunes). This honestly amazes me. I have to ask if that is how others have experienced Lutheran Service Book? It is categorically NOT how I've experienced it. It is true that there are somber tunes in the book - and they often are attached to somber texts dealing with the day of judgment, the confession of sins, the suffering of afflictions and cross-bearing. But there are also a multitude of hymns that dance for joy: "God's Own Child" and "Thine the Amen" dance in both text and tune. The thing that strikes me about our hymnal is that it encompasses the whole range of the Christian experience. There are hymns for when the sun shines and things are going swimmingly in your life; hymns for the tragic and unutterably sad moments; hymns for when life's a drudgery; hymns that pull us out of ourselves (like Pr. Hess pointed out recently 880 does: "and we this marvel seeing / forget our selfish being/ for joy of beauty not our own" as we behold the stars at night); hymns that celebrate every single facet of our Lord's life from conception through death; from resurrection through Ascension; from the session at the right hand to the Appearing in glory. Hymns to celebrate the gifts of Baptism, Holy Absolution, the Eucharist. Hymns for praising; hymns for thanking; hymns for morning and for evening. Tunes tend to match the joy or sobriety that each of these call forth. I love my friend, but I think he is dead wrong about his characterization of our hymnal. It's a treasure trove of hymns that can be learned and loved and will see you through life and through death, singing as you go: "In thee is gladness, amid all sadness, Jesus, sunshine of my heart!"
Posted by William Weedon at 8:26 PM