Saturday, September 01, 2007

Hymn of the week, collect of the week

This post represents my breaking down and admitting that there are things that can't be done with group blogs that I still want to do. But first, hurray for the new group blog on the block, What's Wrong With the World, and all my colleagues over there. (Hi, guys!)

But one thing I just do not feel I can do over there is to associate my friends there directly with my rather unusual passion for Protestant hymns. The collects from the Book of Common Prayer would be okay, and I expect to put up a post or two there mentioning my evangelical friends and music, but not just saying, "Hey, isn't this a great hymn?" when it's so very, very low.

So I'm breaking down and starting here a feature, which perhaps scarcely anyone will read (unless I advertise it elsewhere), called "Hymn of the week" which will sometimes also include Collect of the Week.

The collect of the week for this week is actually the collect for last week, Trinity XII:

Almighty and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve; Pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.

The hymn of the week. Gosh, there are so many that are so good. But you have to start somewhere. So this week it's "God Leads His Dear Children Along." (I warned you. I love "A Mighty Fortress." But everybody knows "A Mighty Fortress." And I'm fortunate enough to be at a church where they don't butcher it, so I don't have to write about the horrible mess the revisers made of it. So the hymns I'm more likely to talk about are the Baptist kind that they don't sing at my church.) Here's the first verse and chorus:

In shady green pastures so rich and so sweet
God leads his dear children along.
Where the water's cool flow bathes the weary one's feet
God leads his dear children along.


Some through the water
Some through the flood
Some through the fire
But all through the blood.
Some through great sorrow
But God gives a song
In the night season and all the day long.

See, if you just read the verse, you'd think it was just a "feel-good" song, wouldn't you? The other verses make it even clearer that it isn't, but the chorus always does. And a good, singable tune, too. Next week, maybe I'll make it "Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone."

Hey, this personal blogging isn't so bad...


William Luse said...

Definitely not a feel-good song, but it does what a good hymn should do, offer hope and praise.

I liked Onward Christian Soldiers as a kid, but haven't heard it in years. It's too militant for the pacifist, gender-neutered Catholic liturgists. I still like it today, not so much for the sound as the sentiment.

Also, Lift High the Cross. And others. I even like country gospel and the old Negro spirituals. I don't suppose this is the place to bring up Gregorian Chant.

Lydia McGrew said...

There are several lovely hymns that have been made from Gregorian chant. The most famous is "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," which even the least liturgically-minded evangelicals know. In the 1940 Anglican hymnal we have several others from chant that have been made quite singable: "Humbly I Adore Thee" and "Sing, my Tongue." (There are words for this latter for the Eucharist and also for Good Friday, both translated from Latin.) There are others from chant, too, but I can't recall them off the top of my head.

I suppose "Rise Up O Men of God" is gone from the Catholic hymnal now, too? Or perhaps it's "Rise up O Friends of God" :-). Paul directed me to Tony Esolen's posts in which he was going over some of the mutilation of the hymns in the most recent Catholic hymnal. One more reason for me to be thankful for St. Patrick's and the 1940 Anglican Hymnal.

Still and all, I get a yen for the Baptist hymns that aren't included.

In fact, that's why I started hymn sings at my house. Every other month. I have 31 copies of "Great Hymns of the Faith," edited by John W. Peterson in the late 1960's. It was the hymnal of my childhood and hasn't been messed with. Has everything from "Onward Christian Soldiers" to "O Sacred Head" to "Power in the Blood"--militant, super-traditional, and Baptist revival-style. Most of the people who come to hymn sing are home schooling families (some of them _very_ large families), but Tim's graduate students--the Christian ones--also show up and enjoy it immensely. Our record number of people so far is 80, I believe, including all the babies.

I play the piano for it with a portable keyboard that goes out in our living room. It's a blast, and all the kids are learning these hymns.

Wish y'all could be there.

William Luse said...

Sounds like fun.

The "Men" are definitely gone, from songs and sometimes they even kick us out of the scripture readings.

You'd think Zippy would find a minute to stop by here and say hello, wouldn't you?

Lydia McGrew said...

Ah, yes, I think I heard something about some wretched new Bible "translation" being forced upon the laity in the lectionary at Mass. Fr. Neuhaus was talking about it a couple of years ago. Sheesh.