Here are my completed Hymnals:
Presbyterian 1955 Hymnbook: http://amzn.to/2zSRdpL
Episcopal 1940 Hymnal: http://amzn.to/2DEOl1H
Broadman 1940 Hymnal: http://amzn.to/2C1WuwK
Lutheran 1941 Hymnal: http://amzn.to/2zUmYi2
Methodist 1939 Hymnal: http://amzn.to/2CfJ1Wq
Pilgrim 1935 Hymnal: http://amzn.to/2DDvbJC
Now Sings My Soul, New Songs for the Lord by: Linda Bonney Olin: http://amzn.to/2DQ6gUy
Here are my new projects:
Choice Hymns of the Faith 1945 http://amzn.to/2Dx97nA
J S Bach Riemenschneider 371 Harmonized Chorales http://amzn.to/2DSy5f9
Dictionary of Hymnology: http://amzn.to/2BxPabk
Over the weekend I recorded my 3000th hymn. It has been a wonderful trip of discovery as I have taken very deep dives into the groans which words cannot express of so many parts of the Body of Christ these past few years.
As Paul says in Romans 8:26 “but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Music, I believe, is the utterances from our souls for which words are inadequate. Even for those rapidly sinking into the abyss of dementia, hymns and songs of their youth can enliven a mind otherwise lost. The songs and hymns which come to represent the various traditions, or maybe a better way to express it, the various parts of the Body of Christ are the very embodiment of their varied perspectives on our relationship to our God and each other. For some parts, corporate worship takes precedence over individual expressions of faith and struggle. In traditions with a strong sense of the larger institutions of the Church you rarely find hymns which speak to personal struggles which is common in the hymns of Fanny Crosby and to a lesser extent Frances (Fanny) Havergal.
Conversely, churches with weaker connections to larger structures and organizations will fill their hymnals with hymns which deal with our personal relationship to Jesus and the Holy Spirit and fewer dealing with God and a sense of corporate worship. It is out of this tradition, a couple of generations after Fanny Crosby that the “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs (I can’t dignify them with “hymns”) rose in prominence.
In talking with people from various traditions, as an outsider to all of them, I have heard all too often the hand saying to the foot: “You are not like me, so you don’t belong to the Body.” Again from Paul in 1 Corinthians: “12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
The hymns of the Anglican Church can speak and evoke the majesty of God like few hymns from other traditions. But we are called to have a personal relationship with our God and our faith faces its hardest challenges in the daily grind of our lives far from the soaring cathedral. The revivalist hymns of mid-19th century America are about personal and direct as you can get. They speak to the challenges of our daily lives which is still effective today. However, they often miss the transcendence of the Creator.
To forgo the Anglican hymn because it speaks in a corporate language or a Fanny Crosby hymn because it is far too intimate is the hand not even trying to understand the foot.
It is said that Sunday is the most racially segregated day of the week, that segregation goes far beyond race. I am not suggesting some great musical ecumenicalism. Far from it! I personally have no interest in subjecting myself to the latest 20 year old CCM hit being pushed by the Worship Music Industrial Complex. But that is this hand not being able to understand the foot, not the way things ought to be! But it is not a matter of the hand acting like the foot, for that would mean the body is greatly disabled.
Having taken a deep dive into 7 ½ hymnals from across the Body of Christ, I have seen the triumphant, the sublime, the mediocre, and the horrible from each book. Each tradition has had some real “how on Earth did THAT make it past the editors?” and some “what a lost gem!”
It is very easy to stick with what is familiar, but the Baptist can learn a lot from the Anglican about our corporate experience of the Grace of God and the Lutheran can learn to be more open and truthful about the daily struggles they face with their faith from the Revivalist. Being open to other music traditions doesn’t mean the long dead horse of CCM vs traditional battle, but rather looking for the deep and truthful hymns from the entirety of the Body of Christ. CCM may think of itself as the torso with the occasional appendage attached, but you lose out on hundreds of years of work throughout the body for the sake of a finger!
So what was No. 3000? This rather obscure hymn I found in Choice Hymns of the Faith, 1945.
Guilty and Chained I Helpless Lay by: Alfred Mace and the tune by: Elizabeth Hayes Simpson https://youtu.be/KblHzxsq9t8
1 Guilty and chained I helpless lay,
A willing slave to sin a prey;
The Savior saw my lost estate,
And came my soul to liberate.
Now washed and cleansed from every stain,
I wait for Him to come again
When from sin’s presence I shall be free,
And joy in Him eternally.
2 He did for me, I died with Him,
My sins are gone, tho’ sin’s within,
From its dominion I am free
To live to Him who died for me.
3 Sanctified no by His own blood,
Justified too, and bro’t to God,
His shout of power I soon shall hear,
The glorified His likeness bear.
4 Come then, O blessed Savior,
Lord, fulfill to us Thy parting Word,
And take us to the Father’s home;
Lord Jesus, Savior quickly come.