In the previous article, Ron Rienstra tells how this Christmas carol was “retooled” for an Advent service led by students. Since the more familiar form of this song is available in many hymnals, we are providing the arrangements for piano (below) and guitar (p. 29), which may be played together, as prepared for that student service.
Some weddings are primarily a dialogue between the wedding couple and the presiding minister, but it needn’t be so. Inviting the gathered wedding guests to sing “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” provides a corporate opportunity to express musical praise for God’s love to us, to offer sung prayers for the wedding couple, and to encourage everyone to practice the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and love.
In crafting a series that explores the richness of the Psalter for the life of prayer, I considered two approaches. The first was to spend one week on each of the main types of prayer in the psalms—for example, lament, songs of praise, enthronement psalms—choosing one psalm from each category to be that type’s model and the focus for the preaching and worship of that week’s service.
Again in this issue at Reformed Worship, we offer a glimpse at the forthcoming Psalter Hymnal Handbook, a large project that is nearing completion at long last. You will be hearing much more about it in the next issues of RW!
The three songs in this issue are all built on short repetitive refrains. None are in the typical hymn structure; two are simply refrains, and one is intended for leader and congregation.
One of the appeals of short refrains and choruses is that they are easily committed to memory. All three songs are short enough so that most worshipers will find themselves singing them during the week, long before the month is over. All three will also be included in Songs for LiFE, the new children's hymnal to be published this fall by CRC Publications.
The school gym where I worship is normally bright and bustling before a service. On this Thursday night, however, it is dim and quiet, dozens of small candles providing the only light. In place of the usual rows of chairs there are rows of tables, snaking back and forth to form a single continuous line. At the head table a prominent array of thirteen candles symbolizes Christ and his disciples, whose last supper together this Maundy Thursday service will commemorate.
During the last several decades the Christian community has witnessed a vast explosion of hymnody. Some of these new songs are produced by gifted authors, people like Timothy Dudley-Smith or Margaret Clarkson, who write hymns that build on the heritage of Christian hymnody. But a larger part of this "hymn explosion" is Scripture songs—actual scriptural texts or paraphrases of Scripture set to music, often in a popular style.