23 May 2008

An Ecumenical and Catholic Core of Hymns in the Lutheran Service Book

It continues to be the case that my personal interest in hymns, my pastoral responsibility for the selection of hymns for my congregation, and my scholarly study of hymns and hymnals, often intersect in some discovery or another. I suspect that all of these things will remain with me a lifelong pursuit and learning experience, and I'll be glad if that proves to be so. I am convinced that hymnody is, on the one hand, a primary means of pastoral care and catechesis, and on the other hand, one of the most difficult challenges of the pastoral ministry. There are those who do not perceive such things to be a pastoral prerogative; I've even been told of people who regard me as an oppressive ogre for supposing that it is up to me to choose the hymns my congregation sings. Oh, well. Given that I have been called and ordained to the Ministry of the Word, and that I am held accountable by the Lord for my pastoral care and catechesis of His people in this place where He has stationed me, I shall have to persevere according to my conscience and not be dissuaded by the consternation of naysayers. Precisely because hymns are one of the best and most important ways of preaching and teaching the Word of the Lord, they belong to the responsibility of the pastoral office. Of course, pastoral wisdom will take into account the knowledge and abilities of the congregation, and will rely upon the input of church musicians, as also upon the guidance of the church catholic, past and present. It is a tall order indeed, and thus a perennial challenge.

Over the past two years, in particular, I have been spending a good deal of time on the hymn corpus of the LSB. I've endeavored to identify a core body of the most significant and essential Lutheran hymnody (Kernlieder), and then to ensure the regular and consistent usage of those hymns. I've also worked hard to identify and use a cycle of catechetical hymns, taking into account the various and sundry factors that contribute to hymnody as catechesis. Although I continue to tweak these and adjust these considerations in my pastoral practice, I have by and large been very pleased with what I've learned and been able to employ.

There is yet another area of hymnody that presents a serious pastoral challenge, namely, the piety and past experience of the people. Hymnody confronts them not as an intellectual or academic enterprise, but as an aspect of the Church's faith and life that touches them deeply and emotionally. That's one of the reasons that hymnody is such a powerful means of implanting the Word of God in both the mind and heart of those who hear and sing it. But it also means that, when people have grown up on certain hymns, they are understandably reluctant to give them up, even if it can be rationally demonstrated that this or that hymn may be lacking in substance or even heterodox in its confession. That often results in a volatile situation, which is frustrating to pastor and parishioner alike, as each contends for the faith once delivered to the saints.

It is has been one of my primary goals to catechize the younger members of my congregation in a solid Lutheran hymnody, including, of course, the hymns of the church catholic of all times and places. That effort seems to be working rather well, and to be producing good fruits. The young people of Emmaus, including the littlest children, have a great love for the meatiest and best of hymns (and, by the same token, my youth especially resist the use of less than stellar hymns). I'm very pleased by those developments. At the same time, I do sympathize with the older members of the congregation, who grew up being catechized by and with a different body of hymns. They miss some of those hymns when they aren't being sung so often anymore, and they are often challenged by the heftier hymns that we are now singing more frequently. For the most part, really, the dear older people of Emmaus have been quite patient with their pastor, and have done remarkably well in learning a larger and richer repertoire of hymns. But sometimes more than others their hearts cry out for the "old favorites" they grew up with. How does a pastor address those concerns responsibly and lovingly? That is one of the big questions I continue to ask myself, and which I am constantly seeking to answer. The goal, after all, is not to insist upon the best hymns for their own sake, but to serve the people of God with the Gospel.

For those who have learned to enjoy and appreciate a more substantial hymnody, many of the "old favorites" are schmaltzy, tedious, boring, or otherwise lacking. There are days when I feel like the selection of hymns is simply a no-win situation. No matter what I choose, someone is made unhappy, whether they patiently bear with it or vent a bit about it. It's not possible to please all of the people all of the time, nor is that the proper approach to pastoral care, anyway. Instead, I have made every effort to explain the way in which hymns serve and support the Word of God, and to select hymns with that purpose deliberately and transparently in view. There are really four ways that works: (1.) with reference to the appointed readings of the day; (2.) with reference to the season of the church year; (3.) with reference to the liturgical location of a hymn in the order of service; and (4.) with reference to basic catechetical hymns, which review and rehearse the fundamentals of the faith in a clear and consistent fashion. These are the criteria I use in choosing hymns. For the sake of the older members of the congregation, I have looked for opportunities to use their "old favorites" when they meet these criteria.

Recently, I have come across data that may prove helpful in my efforts to meet the challenges involved in selecting hymns for my congregation. A number of different scholars have compiled satistics identifying the hymns most firmly and widely established among American Protestants over the last two hundred years and among Roman Catholics within the last fifty or sixty years. I have found these lists intriguing, not only because I have a propensity for making lists of my own, but because they provide an objective analysis of hymns that have found a place among Christians of diverse confessions of the faith. Thus, it is interesting to consider those hymns that overlap between Protestants and Roman Catholics, and to notice those hymns that are unique to one group or another. I am all the more interested in those hymns that others share in common with us Lutherans, and those that have not found a place in any of our hymnals. There are reasons for these similarities and differences, which are sometimes obvious and sometimes less discernable.

In attempting to get a handle on all of this data, I compiled a comprehensive list of these broadly "ecumenical" and catholic hymns (for which I am using quotation marks and a lower-case "c" on purpose). From this master list of some 300-400 hymns, I've removed all those that are not found in the Lutheran Service Book. Notably, that reduces the list by more than half, so that fewer than 150 hymns remain. Similarly noteworthy is the number of definitive Lutheran hymns that are nowhere to be found in many (or any) Protestant and Roman Catholic hymnals. But what I'm dealing with here are those hymns that we evidently shared with those other confessions, at least within our published books.

I've arranged the resulting list of hymns both alphabetically and by their LSB number and category. I've used the LSB nomenclature in every case, even though some of these hymns have been published under a variety of titles. It makes for a long blog post, I realize, but I'm including both arrangements here for the sake of anyone who may find this helpful.

It should be understood that this is not a list of the best hymns available. There are a large number of outstanding hymns not included in this list, many of which are stronger than the vast majority of those that are included. For example, only three hymns by Luther and two hymns by Gerhardt are found here. By the same token, a fair number of the hymns on this list are among those that I have termed "mediocre" in the past, and my assessment of those hymns has not changed. I'm certainly not going to suggest that all of these hymns should be used a lot; though I should say that many of them are very good hymns which should be used regularly. Perhaps others will also find some surprises, as I have, in examining this list.

I'm not sure, frankly, how I will make use of this information. My thinking, however, is that these hymns have objectively obtained a certain right to be called "old favorites." Although they vary in substance and quality, they are likely to be among the hymns that many older members grew up hearing and singing (whether in the Lutheran Church or elsewhere). That goes also for the better and stronger hymns included on this list, which may assist pastors in knowing how to play to the strengths already in place among the people. In any event, it seems to me that a relatively short list, such as this one (less than 25% of the total LSB hymn corpus), presents a more manageable amount of material to consider in addressing the challenges of hymn selection. Thus, along with a basic Lutheran Kernlieder (such as I have blogged about in the past), and together with the Hymn of the Day and a deliberate use of catechetical hymnody, perhaps this list can be a reference for potential hymns that might be used on any given Sunday.


An Ecumenical and Catholic Core of Hymns in LSB


Alphabetical Listing

A mighty fortress is our God (LSB 656)
Abide with me, fast falls the eventide (LSB 878)
Alas! And did my Savior bleed (LSB 437)
All glory, laud, and honor (LSB 442)
All hail the pow’r of Jesus’ name (LSB 549)
All my heart again rejoices (LSB 360)
All people that on earth do dwell (LSB 791)
All praise to Thee, my God, this night (LSB 883)
Alleluia! Sing to Jesus (LSB 821)
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound (LSB 744)
Angels from the realms of glory (LSB 367)
Angels we have heard on high (LSB 368)
As with gladness men of old (LSB 397)
At the Lamb’s high feast we sing (LSB 633)
At the name of Jesus (LSB 512)
Awake, my soul, and with the sun (LSB 868)
Away in a manger (LSB 364/365)

Blessed Jesus, at Your Word (LSB 904)
Blest be the tie that binds (LSB 649)
Break forth, O beauteous heav’nly light (LSB 378)
Brightest and best of the stars of the morning (LSB 400)

Christ is made the sure foundation (LSB 909)
Christ the Lord is ris’n today (LSB 469)
Come down, O Love divine (LSB 501)
Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest (LSB 498/499)
Come, let us join our cheerful songs (LSB 812)
Come, my soul, with ev’ry care (LSB 779)
Come, Thou almighty King (LSB 905)
Come, Thou Fount of ev’ry blessing (LSB 686)
Come, Thou long-expected Jesus (LSB 338)
Come, ye thankful people, come (LSB 892)
Come, you faithful, raise the strain (LSB 487)
Creator of the stars of night (LSB 351)
Crown Him with many crowns (LSB 525)

Eternal Father, strong to save (LSB 717)

Father most holy, merciful and tender (LSB 504)
Father, we praise Thee (LSB 875)
Father, we thank Thee who hast planted (LSB 652)
Fight the good fight (LSB 664)
For all the saints who from their labors rest (LSB 677)
From all that dwell below the skies (LSB 816)
From heav’n above to earth I come (LSB 358)

Glorious things of You are spoken (LSB 648)
Go, tell it on the mountain (LSB 388)
Go to dark Gethsemane (LSB 436)
God moves in a mysterious way (LSB 765)
God of grace and God of glory (LSB 850)
Good Christian friends, rejoice and sing (LSB 475)
Guide me, O Thou great Redeemer (LSB 918)

Hail thee, festival day (LSB 489)
Hail, Thou once despised Jesus (LSB 531)
Hail to the Lord’s anointed (LSB 398)
Hark the glad sound (LSB 349)
Hark! The herald angels sing (LSB 380)
Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face (LSB 631)
Holy God, we praise Thy name (LSB 940)
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty (LSB 507)
Holy Spirit, light divine (LSB 496)
How firm a foundation, O saints of the Lord (LSB 728)
How great Thou art (LSB 801)
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds (LSB 524)

I know that my Redeemer lives (LSB 461)
I love Your kingdom, Lord (LSB 651)
If thou but trust in God to guide thee (LSB 750)
Immortal, invisible, God only wise (LSB 802)
In the cross of Christ I glory (LSB 427)
It came upon the midnight clear (LSB 366)

Jerusalem, my happy home (LSB 673)
Jerusalem the golden (LSB 672)
Jesus Christ is ris’n today (LSB 457)
Jesus, priceless treasure (LSB 743)
Jesus, Savior, pilot me (LSB 715)
Jesus shall reign where’er the sun (LSB 832)
Joy to the world (LSB 387)
Joyful, joyful we adore Thee (LSB 803)
Just as I am, without one plea (LSB 570)

Let all mortal flesh keep silence (LSB 621)
Let us all with gladsome voice (LSB 390)
Lift high the cross (LSB 837)
Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates (LSB 340)
Lo! He comes with clouds descending (LSB 336)
Lo, how a rose e’er blooming (LSB 359)
Look, ye saints, the sight is glorious (LSB 495)
Lord, dismiss us with Your blessing (LSB 924)
Lord Jesus, think on me (LSB 610)
Lord of all hopefulness (LSB 738)
Love divine, all loves excelling (LSB 700)

My faith looks up to Thee (LSB 702)
My hope is built on nothing less (LSB 575)
My song is love unknown (LSB 430)

Not all the blood of beasts (LSB 431)
Now, my tongue, the myst’ry telling (LSB 630)
Now thank we all our God (LSB 895)

O come, all ye faithful (LSB 379)
O come, O come, Emmanuel (LSB 357)
O day of rest and gladness (LSB 906)
O dearest Jesus, what law hast Thou broken (LSB 439)
O gladsome Light, O grace (LSB 888)
O God, our help in ages past (LSB 733)
O Jesus, King most wonderful (LSB 554)
O little town of Bethlehem (LSB 361)
O Lord, throughout these forty days (LSB 418)
O Morning Star, how fair and bright (LSB 395)
O sacred head, now wounded (LSB 450)
O sons and daughters of the King (LSB 470)
O splendor of God’s glory bright (LSB 874)
Of the Father’s love begotten (LSB 384)
Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing (LSB 528)
On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry (LSB 344)
Onward, Christian soldiers (LSB 662)
Open now thy gates of beauty (LSB 901)

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven (LSB 793)
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (LSB 790)

Ride on, ride on in majesty (LSB 441)
Rock of ages, cleft for me (LSB 761)

Savior, again to Thy dear name we raise (LSB 917)
Savior of the nations, come (LSB 332)
Silent night, holy night (LSB 363)
Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle (LSB 454)
Sing praise to God, the highest good (LSB 819)
Son of God, eternal Savior (LSB 842)
Songs of thankfulness and praise (LSB 394)
Soul, adorn yourself with gladness (LSB 636)

Take my life and let it be (LSB 783)
The advent of our King (LSB 331)
The Church’s one foundation (LSB 644)
The day of resurrection (LSB 478)
The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended (LSB 886)
The Head that once was crowned with thorns (LSB 532)
The King of love my shepherd is (LSB 709)
The King shall come when morning dawns (LSB 348)
The strife is o’er, the battle done (LSB 464)
This is the day the Lord has made (LSB 903)

Wake, awake, for night is flying (LSB 516)
What a friend we have in Jesus (LSB 770)
What child is this, who, laid to rest (LSB 370)
What wondrous love is this, O my soul (LSB 543)
When I survey the wondrous cross (LSB 425)

Ye watchers and ye holy ones (LSB 670)
You are the way; through You alone (LSB 526)


Listing by LSB Number and Category

Advent

331 — The advent of our King
332 — Savior of the nations, come (Luther; Ambrose of Milan)
336 — Lo! He comes with clouds descending (Wesley)
338 — Come, Thou long-expected Jesus (Wesley)
340 — Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates
344 — On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry (Praetorius tune)
348 — The King shall come when morning dawns
349 — Hark the glad sound
351 — Creator of the stars of night (Latin; Sarum plainsong)
357 — O come, O come, Emmanuel (Latin)

Christmas

358 — From heav’n above to earth I come (Luther)
359 — Lo, how a rose e’er blooming (German; Praetorius setting)
360 — All my heart again rejoices (Gerhardt; Crüger tune)
361 — O little town of Bethlehem
363 — Silent night, holy night
364/365 — Away in a manger
366 — It came upon the midnight clear
367 — Angels from the realms of glory (Montgomery)
368 — Angels we have heard on high
370 — What child is this, who, laid to rest
378 — Break forth, O beauteous heav’nly light (Johann Rist; Bach setting)
379 — O come, all ye faithful
380 — Hark! The herald angels sing (Wesley)
384 — Of the Father’s love begotten (Prudentius)
387 — Joy to the world (Watts; Handel tune)
388 — Go, tell it on the mountain
390 — Let us all with gladsome voice (German)

Epiphany

394 — Songs of thankfulness and praise (Wordsworth)
395 — O Morning Star, how fair and bright (Nicolai)
397 — As with gladness men of old
398 — Hail to the Lord’s anointed (Montgomery)
400 — Brightest and best of the stars of the morning

Lent

418 — O Lord, throughout these forty days
425 — When I survey the wondrous cross (Watts)
427 — In the cross of Christ I glory
430 — My song is love unknown
431 — Not all the blood of beasts (Watts)
436 — Go to dark Gethsemane (Montgomery)
437 — Alas! And did my Savior bleed (Watts)
439 — O dearest Jesus, what law hast Thou broken (Heermann)

Holy Week

441 — Ride on, ride on in majesty
442 — All glory, laud, and honor (Theodulf of Orleans)
450 — O sacred head, now wounded (Gerhardt; Bernard of Clairvaux)
454 — Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle (Fortunatus; Schalk tune)

Easter

457 — Jesus Christ is ris’n today (Latin)
461 — I know that my Redeemer lives
464 — The strife is o’er, the battle done
469 — Christ the Lord is ris’n today (Wesley)
470 — O sons and daughters of the King (tr. J. M. Neale)
475 — Good Christian friends, rejoice and sing
478 — The day of resurrection (John of Damascus)
487 — Come, you faithful, raise the strain (John of Damascus)
489 — Hail thee, festival day (Fortunatus; R. V. Williams tune)

Ascension

495 — Look, ye saints, the sight is glorious (Thomas Kelly)

Pentecost

496 — Holy Spirit, light divine
498/499 — Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest (Rabanus Maurus)
501 — Come down, O Love divine (Bianco da Siena; R. V. Williams tune)

Holy Trinity

504 — Father most holy, merciful and tender (Latin)
507 — Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty

End Times

512 — At the name of Jesus (R. V. Williams tune)
516 — Wake, awake, for night is flying (Nicolai)

Redeemer

524 — How sweet the name of Jesus sounds (John Newton)
525 — Crown Him with many crowns
526 — You are the way; through You alone
528 — Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing (Wesley)
531 — Hail, Thou once despised Jesus
532 — The Head that once was crowned with thorns (Thomas Kelly)
543 — What wondrous love is this, O my soul
549 — All hail the pow’r of Jesus’ name
554 — O Jesus, King most wonderful (Bernard of Clairvaux)

Justification

570 — Just as I am, without one plea
575 — My hope is built on nothing less

Confession and Absolution

610 — Lord Jesus, think on me (Synesius of Cyrene)

The Lord’s Supper

621 — Let all mortal flesh keep silence (Liturgy of St. James)
630 — Now, my tongue, the myst’ry telling (Thomas Aquinas)
631 — Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face
633 — At the Lamb’s high feast we sing (Latin)
636 — Soul, adorn yourself with gladness (Franck; Crüger tune)

The Church

644 — The Church’s one foundation
648 — Glorious things of You are spoken (John Newton; Haydn tune)
649 — Blest be the tie that binds
651 — I love Your kingdom, Lord
652 — Father, we thank Thee who hast planted (Didache; Bourgeois tune)

The Church Militant

656 — A mighty fortress is our God (Luther)
662 — Onward, Christian soldiers
664 — Fight the good fight

The Church Triumphant

670 — Ye watchers and ye holy ones
672 — Jerusalem the golden (Bernard of Cluny)
673 — Jerusalem, my happy home
677 — For all the saints who from their labors rest (R. V. Williams tune)

Sanctification

686 — Come, Thou Fount of ev’ry blessing
700 — Love divine, all loves excelling (Wesley)
702 — My faith looks up to Thee

Trust

709 — The King of love my shepherd is (Irish tune)
715 — Jesus, Savior, pilot me
717 — Eternal Father, strong to save
728 — How firm a foundation, O saints of the Lord
733 — O God, our help in ages past (Watts)
738 — Lord of all hopefulness (Irish tune)

Hope and Comfort

743 — Jesus, priceless treasure (Franck; Crüger tune)
744 — Amazing grace, how sweet the sound (John Newton)
750 — If thou but trust in God to guide thee
761 — Rock of ages, cleft for me
765 — God moves in a mysterious way

Prayer

770 — What a friend we have in Jesus
779 — Come, my soul, with ev’ry care (John Newton)

Stewardship

783 — Take my life and let it be

Praise and Adoration

790 — Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
791 — All people that on earth do dwell
793 — Praise, my soul, the King of heaven
801 — How great Thou art
802 — Immortal, invisible, God only wise
803 — Joyful, joyful we adore Thee
812 — Come, let us join our cheerful songs (Watts; Crüger tune)
816 — From all that dwell below the skies (Watts)
819 — Sing praise to God, the highest good (Johann Schütz)
821 — Alleluia! Sing to Jesus

Mission and Witness

832 — Jesus shall reign where’er the sun (Watts)
837 — Lift high the cross

Society

842 — Son of God, eternal Savior
850 — God of grace and God of glory

Morning

868 — Awake, my soul, and with the sun
874 — O splendor of God’s glory bright (Ambrose of Milan)
875 — Father, we praise Thee (Gregory the Great)

Evening

878 — Abide with me, fast falls the eventide
883 — All praise to Thee, my God, this night
886 — The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended
888 — O gladsome Light, O grace (Greek; Bourgeois tune)

Harvest and Thanksgiving

892 — Come, ye thankful people, come
895 — Now thank we all our God (Crüger tune)

Beginning of Service

901 — Open now thy gates of beauty (Schmolck)
903 — This is the day the Lord has made (Watts; Crüger tune)
904 — Blessed Jesus, at Your Word
905 — Come, Thou almighty King
906 — O day of rest and gladness (Wordsworth)
909 — Christ is made the sure foundation (Latin)

Close of Service

917 — Savior, again to Thy dear name we raise
918 — Guide me, O Thou great Redeemer
924 — Lord, dismiss us with Your blessing

Canticles

940 — Holy God, we praise Thy name (Latin)


In the interest of full disclosure, the following nine LSB hymns also appeared on the lists of Protestant and Roman Catholic hymns that I have discovered in my research; yet, for a variety of reasons, I would not willingly have any of these nine sung by my congregation. (Which is not to say that I would necessarily choose to have my congregation sing all of the others, above, either, but I would be willing to entertain at least the possibility of using those.)

Come, we that love the Lord (LSB 669)
I heard the voice of Jesus say (LSB 699)
In Christ there is no east or west (LSB 653)
O worship the King (LSB 804)
Stand up, stand up for Jesus (LSB 660)
Were you there? (LSB 456)
When morning gilds the skies (LSB 807)
When peace like a river (LSB 763)
You satisfy the hungry heart (LSB 641)

9 comments:

Anonymous Lutheran said...

I see "Just As I Am" made your list. I remember quite a while back it made another list of yours, of disfavored hymns, so I was a little surprised to see it here. ;-)

I don't recall whether I mentioned this at time, but I'll mention now that strange as it may seem, my church's selection of this hymn was a pivotal moment in my becoming a Lutheran. It was the context that struck me: Our church sings it during Communion. The use of the classic altar call song during Communion taught me more than anything else I ever read or heard, about what Lutherans believe about Communion.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

You are correct, of course. And "Just as I Am" is not the only example. I haven't counted them up, but I would guess there may be as many as several dozen hymns on this list that were also on my list of "mediocre hymns." It may seem like a contradiction, but it's not really.

My point in identifying the "mediocre hymns" this past fall was not to suggest that they should never be used. Some of them should simply not be used, in my opinion, but many of them would be fine if used sparingly, with special care and discretion. My theory was (and is) that the overuse of such mediocre hymns wearied people, because those hymns are simply too simplistic (in text and/or tune) to sustain interest, too thin and superficial to nourish and nurture faith. That's a generalization, but that was my main argument.

Now, with this list of "ecumenical" and catholic hymns, I'm attempting to identify the "old favorites" objectively. I'm not suggesting that these are the best and greatest hymns; some of them are great, but many of them are mediocre by a straightforward evaluation of their text and/or tune. Yet, for whatever reason, they are hymns that have established themselves among many, many Christians for many, many years, and which have struck a chord also among many of our own Lutheran congregants. Your anecdotal story about "Just as I Am" is a case in point. There are lots of those kinds of stories. I have my own, actually, concerning hymns that I can now examine and find lacking. But the emotional tug of those "old favorites" can be very powerful, and that is not always a bad thing.

Emotions aren't a foundation for faith. Yet, emotions cannot so easily be separated from our reception of and response to the Word of God. They can serve and support that Word -- or get in the way of it. They contribute to and become a part of our piety. They are especially a component in our reactions to hymnody, as I have said before. I am sympathetic to that emotional connection to the "old favorites," and I would much rather build upon that piety, even if it is somewhat lacking in various ways, than to despise it and flail against it fruitlessly.

What I am always aiming toward is a balance between the piety of the people, as it is, and the ongoing catechesis of the Word of God, which transforms their piety more and more into the image of Christ the Crucified. Great Lutheran hymns will accomplish the latter, much better than mediocre hymns ever will. But some of those mediocre hymns, I warrant, can serve and assist to some degree along the way. That's what I'm searching for in this case.

I was struck by how few of our great Lutheran chorales were found on the lists of Protestant and Roman Catholic hymns that I've been studying these past few weeks. And again, I was struck by what a small percentage of those Protestant and Roman Catholic hymns are included in our hymnals (my general impression has been that there were more of them in TLH than there are now in LSB). Given those observations, it has seemed to me that those hymns which have found a place both among us and among other Christians may have something of merit to consider. At any rate, it lends objective data and support to the cry for "old favorites," which gives me pause for pastoral assessment and discretion. If that makes sense.

Susan said...

1. I am skeptical as to whether most of the items on this list can be considered "old favorites." Some of those hymns by Ambrose and Niccolai and others are probably not the songs that your older members have been missing. There are quite a few hymns on that list that don't have the "sound" that makes up "old favorites" of the generation a little older than me.

2. Anonymous Lutheran commented about the discrepancy of this list with a list from last fall. I didn't think this list was favorites or non-favorites or anything of Pr S's opinion whatsoever. Just a list of where LSB intersects with those other lists of widely used hymns in other denominations.

3. You wrote, "Precisely because hymns are one of the best and most important ways of preaching and teaching the Word of the Lord,..." Yeah... My poor pastor has been stuck with a woman who has been missing some of her TLH hymns, or struggling with missing stanzas or word-changes in LSB. While he has said [quite rightly] that God is not silent just because I don't have those words in my hymnal anymore, there's one big problem. Those words preach. And they preach in the laundry room and in the car and in the kitchen and in the shower and in the garden and even during the night in one's sleep. What the pastor says is limited to several hours a week. But what's in the hymns may be preaching for hours and hours daily. (At least, that is the pastor's hope, and why he wants the hymnody to become part of his people's lives.) This has big ramifications for both a) what they pastor chooses to instill in his people, and b) realizing how important his people's hymns are to them, even if those hymns are less than stellar.

Family of Michael & Jen-Yi Paul said...

Pastor Stuckwisch: Thank you for all your helpful work with this and for taking the time to present it here!

Cheryl said...

Thanks for all your work, Pastor! I think you are even more of a hymn addict than Susan! :-)

If you have time, I would be interested in a follow-up post outlining your objections to the hymns at the bottom of your list (the ones you say you would never use).

Paul Buckley said...

Pastor Stuckwisch, I'll echo Cheryl and say that I'd love to see a follow-up on those nine hymns/songs that you want to avoid altogether.

As always, thank you for your thoughtfulness on things liturgical.

TruthQuestioner said...

Me too. I'd be very interested to see your explanations of the "objectionable" hymns.

{minor note: older Lutherans aren't the only ones who long for "old [if slightly erring] favorites". Youth may just be less vocal, or more flexible, or more understanding as to why certain hymns should be used/avoided.)

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

I'm honestly not ignoring you all. I'm flattered that you're interested in what I might have to say. I'm also a little bemused that the greatest interest appears to be in those nine hymns that I wouldn't willingly choose to use. (But I understand what that is.)

Anyway, I'm not ignoring you, but it will have to wait until after my Beanie's wedding before I can give any more of my attention to these things. Then I'll do my best to respond. Thanks.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

For those of you who asked, I've finally offered my rationale for not wanting to use the nine LSB hymns I noted at the end of this post. You can find it at:

http://sword-in-hat.blogspot.com/2008/07/mein-nein-to-nine.html