24 August 2008

How to Make the Good Book Better

No, not that Good Book, but the excellent Lutheran Service Book could have been even better. The Reverend Dr. Paul Grime, who served as the project director for LSB, has quipped that work on the next new hymnal has already begun; not formally or officially, of course, but in the ongoing use and evaluation of the Lutheran Service Book. In that spirit, I offer a few basic ways in which it could have been a better good book, and maybe someone will take notes for posterity.

One simple thing: The response to the salutation throughout the book should have been, "And with your spirit." Not establishing that consistency was a mistake, which we'll have to live with and regret for the next couple decades now.

There shouldn't be any hymns in the electronic edition that aren't in the pew edition. The few Biblical canticles and the several good hymns (see below) that were relegated to the electronic edition only should be in the book, while the rest of the electronic-only songs should have been lost in some place where they would never be heard from again.

The entire Psalter should have been included in the pew edition. That was actually the first official decision of the Lectionary Committee (but we were men under other authorities).

The Collects for all of the Sundays and Festivals of the Church Year should have been included in the pew edition. My impression is that everyone realized that within months of publication.

In order to make room for the Collects and the missing Psalms, I recommend removing the following 100 hymns and replacing them with forty-eight other hymns that should have been included (below). These 100 hymns are not all bad (some of them are), but in my opinion they weren't necessary and could easily be done without; in some cases, we'd be better off without them. This isn't to say that all the other LSB hymns are excellent and most worthy. There's another few dozen that I'd be glad to let go, but I've tried to acknowledge the inherited piety of the Missouri Synod, as well as the ecumenical significance of certain hymns.

So here are 100 hymns that should have been left out of Lutheran Service Book (and, no, please don't put them in any electronic editions, either):

LSB 343 — Prepare the Royal Highway
LSB 354 — Arise, O Christian People
LSB 369 — Where Shepherds Lately Knelt
LSB 373 — See amid the Winter’s Snow
LSB 374 — Gentle Mary Laid Her Child

LSB 411 — I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light
LSB 445 — When You Woke That Thursday Morning
LSB 456 — Were You There

LSB 474 — Alleluia! Jesus Is Risen
LSB 477 — Alleluia, Alleluia! Hearts to Heaven
LSB 479 — Christ Is Risen, Christ Is Living
LSB 484 — Make Songs of Joy

LSB 502 — Holy Spirit, the Dove Sent from Heaven
LSB 506 — Glory Be to God the Father

LSB 535 — How Wide the Love of Christ
LSB 541 — "Away from Us!" the Demon Cried
LSB 542 — When I Behold Jesus Christ
LSB 547 — The Lamb
LSB 550 — Lamb of God
LSB 560 — Drawn to the Cross, Which Thou Hast Blessed

LSB 591 — This Is the Spirit’s Entry Now
LSB 595 — O Blessed Spring
LSB 605 — Father Welcomes

LSB 620 — Jesus Comes Today with Healing
LSB 626 — Come, Let Us Eat
LSB 638 — Eat This Bread
LSB 641 — You Satisfy the Hungry Heart

LSB 653 — In Christ There Is No East or West
LSB 654 — Your Kingdom, O God, Is My Glorious Treasure
LSB 660 — Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus
LSB 669 — Come, We That Love the Lord
LSB 678 — We Sing for All the Unsung Saints

LSB 695 — Not for Tongues of Heaven’s Angels
LSB 699 — I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
LSB 705 — The Man Is Ever Blessed
LSB 706 — Love in Christ Is Strong and Living

LSB 712 — Seek Ye First
LSB 721 — Lead Me, Guide Me
LSB 722 — Lord, Take My Hand and Lead Me
LSB 723 — The Lord Is My Light
LSB 727 — On Eagles’ Wings

LSB 739 — Precious Lord, Take My Hand
LSB 748 — I’m But a Stranger Here
LSB 749 — There Is a Balm in Gilead
LSB 751 — O God of Love, O King of Peace
LSB 763 — When Peace, like a River

LSB 767 — Jesus, Remember Me
LSB 771 — Be Still, My Soul, before the Lord
LSB 780 — O Lord, Hear My Prayer

LSB 781 — We Give Thee But Thine Own
LSB 786 — Lord of All Good
LSB 787 — The Temple Rang with Golden Coins

LSB 788 — Forgive Us, Lord, for Shallow Thankfulness
LSB 789 — Praise and Thanksgiving
LSB 795 — Voices Raised to You We Offer
LSB 796 — When in Our Music God Is Glorified
LSB 799 — Alabaré - I
LSB 800 — Alabaré - II
LSB 804 — O Worship the King
LSB 806 — Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart
LSB 807 — When Morning Gilds the Skies
LSB 808 — O Sing to the Lord
LSB 814 — O Bless the Lord, My Soul
LSB 817 — Earth and All Stars

LSB 826 — Hark, the Voice of Jesus Crying
LSB 827 — Hark, the Voice of Jesus Calling
LSB 829 — Christ the Eternal Lord
LSB 831 — "How Shall They Hear," Who Have Not Heard
LSB 833 — Listen, God Is Calling
LSB 835 — On Galilee’s High Mountain

LSB 840 — Christ High-Ascended, Now in Glory Seated
LSB 841 — O Son of God, in Galilee
LSB 844 — Lord of All Nations, Grant Me Grace

LSB 854 — Forth in Thy Name, O Lord, I Go
LSB 866 — Lord Jesus Christ, the Children’s Friend
LSB 867 — Let Children Hear the Mighty Deeds

LSB 871 — Greet the Rising Sun
LSB 873 — Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies
LSB 879 — Stay with Us
LSB 893 — Sing to the Lord of Harvest

LSB 911 — Lord, This Day We’ve Come to Worship
LSB 920 — Forth in the Peace of Christ We Go
LSB 922 — Go, My Children, with My Blessing

LSB 932 — Jesus Sat with His Disciples
LSB 939 — You Are God; We Praise You
LSB 943 — Kyrie-I
LSB 946 — Glory to God, We Give You Thanks and Praise
LSB 949 — Heavenly Hosts in Ceaseless Worship
LSB 951 — Alleluia-I
LSB 952 — Alleluia-II
LSB 955 — Let the Vineyards Be Fruitful
LSB 956 — Create in Me
LSB 958 — Our Father Who Art in Heaven - IIa (English)
LSB 959 — Our Father Who Art in Heaven - IIb (Spanish)
LSB 961 — Sanctus
LSB 962 — Agnus Dei-I
LSB 963 — Agnus Dei-II

LSB 964 — Lift Every Voice and Sing
LSB 965 — God Bless Our Native Land
LSB 966 — Before You, Lord, We Bow

Removing those 100 hymns would make room, not only for the Collects and the entire Psalter, but also for the following forty-eight hymns that should have been included in Lutheran Service Book. Most of these are hymns from TLH and/or LW, since the primary goal of the LSB project was to bring together the best of those two predecessor hymnals. Along with those, however, I've included a number of Paul Gerhardt hymns that have previously been published in other English-language Lutheran hymnals. Instead of letting go of Gerhardt hymns we already had, we should have been gaining ground and recovering more of that heritage.

So here are forty-eight hymns that should have been included in Lutheran Service Book; and then the good book would have been that much better. (I know that Susan has her own list, but this one's mine):

A PILGRIM AND A STRANGER (Gerhardt) (TLH 586)
ALAS, MY GOD, MY SINS ARE GREAT (TLH 317; LW 232)
ALL YE WHO ON THIS EARTH DO DWELL (Gerhardt) (TLH 581)
AND WILT THOU PARDON, LORD (TLH 322)

BEHOLD! BEHOLD! WHAT WONDERS HERE (Gerhardt)
(Ohio Synod's Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal #25)

BLESSED IS THE MAN (Gerhardt)
(Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #457)

CHRISTIANS, SING OUT WITH EXULTATION (TLH 100)
COME, OH COME, O QUICKENING SPIRIT (TLH 226; LW 165)
COME, RISEN LORD (HS 856)

DAY OF WRATH, O DAY OF MOURNING (TLH 607)

FROM CALVARY'S CROSS I HEARD CHRIST SAY (TLH 177; LW 108)

GO FORTH, MY HEART, AND SEEK DELIGHT (Gerhardt)
(American Lutheran Hymnal #645)

HALLELUJAH! JESUS LIVES! (TLH 188)
HARK! THE SOUND OF HOLY VOICES (TLH 471)

I DO NOT COME BECAUSE MY SOUL (TLH 379)

I STAND BESIDE THY MANGER HERE (Gerhardt)
(Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #129)

I WILL SING MY MAKER'S PRAISES (Gerhardt) (TLH 25; LW 439)
[now in the electronic edition only]

IF GOD HAD NOT BEEN ON OUR SIDE (Luther) (TLH 267)
IN ALL OUR GRIEF (HS 847)

IN THEE ALONE, O CHRIST, MY LORD (TLH 319; LW 357)
[now in the electronic edition only]

JESUS CHRIST, MY PRIDE AND GLORY (TLH 408)

LET NOT SUCH A THOUGHT E’ER PAIN THEE (Gerhardt)
(ELHB #506)

LO, JUDAH'S LION WINS THE STRIFE (TLH 211; LW 146)
LORD JESUS CHRIST, MY SAVIOR BLEST (TLH 353)
LORD JESUS, WHO ART COME (TLH 485)

MY SAVIOR SINNERS DOTH RECEIVE (TLH 386)

MY SOUL, AWAKE AND TENDER (Gerhardt)
(American Lutheran Hymnal #635)

NOW LET US COME BEFORE HIM (Gerhardt) (TLH 122; LW 184)

O BLESSED DAY WHEN FIRST WAS POURED (TLH 115)
O CHIEF OF CITIES, BETHLEHEM (LW 76)
O JESUS, KING OF GLORY (TLH 130; LW 79)

O LORD, I SING WITH LIPS AND HEART (Gerhardt) (TLH 569)
(the first half of the hymn, Rejoice, My Heart, Be Glad and Sing, LSB 737)

O LORD, LOOK DOWN FROM HEAVEN, BEHOLD (Luther) (TLH 260)

O THOU SWEETEST SOURCE OF GLADNESS (Gerhardt)
(Australian Lutheran Hymnal #126)

OH, ENTER, LORD, THY TEMPLE (Gerhardt) (TLH 228)

OH JESUS CHRIST! HOW BRIGHT AND FAIR (Gerhardt)
(Ohio Synod's Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal #339)

OH, SING WITH EXULTATION (TLH 217)

SUN OF MY SOUL, THOU SAVIOR DEAR (TLH 551; LW 488)

SWEET FLOWERETS OF THE MARTYR BAND (TLH 273; LW 188)
[now in the electronic edition only]

THAT EASTER DAY WITH JOY WAS BRIGHT (LW 147)

THE MYSTERY HIDDEN FROM THE EYES (Gerhardt)
(Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #405)

TO SHEPHERDS AS THEY WATCHED BY NIGHT (Luther) (TLH 103; LW 52)

WE SING, IMMANUEL, THY PRAISE (Gerhardt) (TLH 108)
WE THANK THEE, JESUS, DEAREST FRIEND (TLH 223)
WELCOME, HAPPY MORNING (TLH 202; LW 135)
WHEN MY LAST HOUR IS CLOSE AT HAND (TLH 594)
WHEN OVER SIN I SORROW (TLH 152; LW 367)

ZION MOURNS IN FEAR AND ANGUISH (Heermann) (TLH 268)

8 comments:

Scott said...

I am a Vicar at a church which uses TLH. We sang #408 this morning.

Sean said...

i concur. We'd buy you hymnal. We also need to recover key chorales not limited to:

O mensch bewein
Ich ruf zu dir, herr Jesu Christ
sei gegrusset, jesu gutig


oh, and also, what about "an aweful mystery is here", "O'er Jerusalem thou weepest" and Luther's Te Deum!

And a host of latin hymns WITH THEIR TUNES!

Brian P Westgate said...

Sean, Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary has 2 stanzas for O Mensch Bewein. Does that lovely chorale has any more stanzas?

Sean said...

Brian, I always forget about ELH and I have not explored it as fully as I should.

I would assume there are more stanzas, though I confess ignorance.

Brian P Westgate said...

As an update to this, Matt Carver translated the whole O Mensch Bewein for the Gerhardt Hymn Project. If I remember correctly, there's at least 20 stanzas.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Yes, Matthew is absolutely amazing, in his talent and his energy for this translation work. His contributions over the past two years have been extraordinary. It is not even possible for me to put into words the depth of gratitude I have for what he has done.

What I need to figure out is how to move forward with the Gerhardt Project, so it doesn't simply lag and languish on the vine. We're at the point where we really need other poets to be engaged in a critical assessment of all the translations, and musicians to be giving serious consideration to the music which is either missing or already available.

I've been so swamped with things for the past year that I've not been able to coordinate and oversee the project to the degree that I would like. But the fact is that I can't twist anyone's arms; and I don't have any money to "bribe" anyone (or pay anyone what they're worth, either). I'm convinced that, if we are able to continue and complete the work that has begun - which has progressed much further, much faster, than I would have dared hope - we'll have a ready market for a Gerhardt supplement (to begin with). But it won't happen without others with the right gifts doing what Matthew has done: giving their time and energy to the necessary work.

Thanks for the helpful reminder of what Matthew has contributed. And thanks to Matthew, if he's "listening," for everything he has done (and is doing).

Amberg said...

It's been two years. I can help this Summer, Pr. Stuckwisch.

That list of 100 hymns to get rid of is right on!

We're looking forward to seeing you in January.

revalkorn said...

Regarding the Gerhardt Project: I cannot translate, much to my chagrin. However, if you need help with taking rough English translations and setting them to verse, I can possibly lend a hand there.