Sunday, May 2, 2010
The State of Hymns
What are we to do with the state of hymns today -- thinking beyond our local Missouri purview and seeing across the wide aisle of the Christian landscape? I for one am happy that LSB (the Missouri hymnal of 2006) has seen the wisdom of letting the ancient hymns stand without trying to update or modernize or make them fit contemporary cultural values. We can sing a thee or thou without passing back in time to another era. We are not completely stupid and can figure out what words like Ebenezer mean. But the press of contemporary Christian music, the use of Gospel music heard on the radio, and the slow diminishing of congregational song in favor of performance music are a challenge we will inevitably face for a long time. We may not have always sung the same words to A Mighty Fortress as has the rest of Christendom but as time goes on the whole hymn may be foreign enough to a significant number of folks in every tradition.
It reminds me of the older awful movie, Blue Lagoon, when the shipwrecked children tried to celebrate Christmas but could only remember the first few words to nearly every carol... and in time of distress could recall only the first petition or so of the Our Father... is this what it will come to? Yes, unless we do something to stop it...