Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Initial Cut List. . . Wisconsin Synod is working on a new hymnal and has put out a preliminary cut list to let people know the hymns intending to be removed from the hymnal corpus.  Some represent texts set to more than one tune, effectively choosing one tune and eliminating another.  Others represent a real loss to the hymnal tradition (even thought we do not yet know what might replace them).

Among them so far:
Come, O Precious Ransom, Come
Jesus, Your Church with Longing Eyes
 Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending (cf. CWS 704)
Rise, Arise
O Lord of Light, Who Made the Stars
When Sinners See Their Lost Condition
Now Praise We Christ, the Holy One
To Thee My Heart I Offer
When Christmas Morn Is Dawning
Rejoice, Rejoice, This Happy Morn
Once in Royal David's City
I Am So Glad When Christmas Comes
Help Us, O Lord, For Now We Enter
The Old Year Now Has Passed Away
O Lord, Our Father, Thanks and Praise
To God the Anthem Raising
In His Temple Now Behold Him
Hail, O Source of Every Blessing
O Jesus, King of Glory
A Stable Lamp Is Lighted
Jesus, Once with Sinners Numbered
Behold the Lamb of God
Enslaved by Sin and Bound in Chains
Come to Calvary's Holy Mountain
Deep Were His Wound
I Am Content! My Jesus Lives Again
Morning Breaks upon the Tomb
See, the Conqueror Mounts in Triumph
In Silent Pain the Eternal Son
If Christ Had Not Been Raised from Death
Scatter the Darkness, Break the Gloom
Hail Thee, Festival Day
Holy Spirit, God of Love
Jehovah, Let Me Now Adore You
Father Most Holy, Merciful, and Tender
Jerusalem, Thou City Fair and High
Forever with the Lord 
Jerusalem, My Happy Home
Come, Let Us Join Our Cheerful Songs
Come, Rejoice before Your Maker
This Day at Your Creating Word
Now the Silence
Lord of My Life, Whose Tender Care
Holy Spirit, the Dove Sent from Heaven
Some are older hymns once identified with The Lutheran Hymnal.  Others are newer hymns barely two generations old.  Some are being dropped because their usage has dropped and others because they never really caught on in WELS.  Some may be reconsidered if WELS folks raise enough noise.

Part of the move out is to be able to move in newer hymns.  For that the WELS hymnal group has set forth some guidelines:
Because textual content is key, the first thing the Hymnody Committee did was sit down and agree upon a set of core principles that would guide our picking and panning. Here they are:
Hymns considered for inclusion in the successor volume of Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal should . . .
  1. Be centered in Christ.
  2. Be in harmony with the scriptural faith as confessed in the Lutheran Book of Concord.
  3. Be rooted in the church year with its emphases on the life of Christ and the Christian’s life in Christ.
  4. Be drawn from classic Lutheran sources and deliberately inclusive of the church’s broader song (including so-called international or global music.)
  5. Be superlative examples of their genre in regard to both textual content and musical craft.
  6. Be accessible and meaningful for God’s people at worship in both public and private settings.
  7. Be useful for those who preach and teach the faith.
  8. Be parts of a body (corpus) of hymns that will find wide acceptance by the vast majority of our fellowship.
I am not sure anyone in Missouri is interested in the topic of a new hymnal but then the WELS has an older book than we do.  It is interesting to watch from afar.


Ted Badje said...

That they're planning to cut 'Come to Calvary's Holy Mountain' is a shame, because the hymn shows our sinfulness, and our need for a Savior.

John Joseph Flanagan said...

As a fan of southern Gospel music and some hymns not necessarily Lutheran, I wish we could add some of them to the Lutheran Hymnal as well, but I know many would not agree with me. After all, some very good hymns were written by devout believers who were not members of a Lutheran body. And for what it's worth, the choirs of Heaven probably do not sing exclusively from the Lutheran Hymnal.

Unknown said...

Cut anything not written by Lutherans or pre-Reformation authors. That means no Methodist hymns, no Anglican hymns, no Baptist hymns.

Anonymous said...

It would be a much smaller hymnal, anonymous.

George said...

The best thing, I think, would be to see what hymns are good for. At Mass, people should use "sung scriptures": introit, gradual, tract or alleluia with bible verse, offertory antiphon, communion antiphon from the gospels. Save for the processions and recessions, songs are not competent. In the divine office (evensong and matins), the hymns comes only after the psalms.

To fit in the 8 categories you mention, a hymn must have marinated a couple of centuries in the Church. When St Ambrose of Milan wrote Veni Redemptor gentium, for instance, that song was only sung in the streets, not in church, and it took 600 years to fit in a hymnal. I don't say that 600 years is a norm, but still...

When somebody writes a poem, that poem may doubtless still be marked by the brokenness and sinful wounds of the writer. It is only through grace, that the hymn (or EP or simple prayer) will be amended by other people, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.