by Rev. Erwin Goedicke
Glory to God. That’s the title of the new hymnal in our pews this morning. Published in 2013, it replaces the 1990 edition of The Presbyterian Hymnal, and contains 249 more hymns and songs. This includes most of the traditional hymns in our blue hymnal as well as additional classics like Rock of Ages, and It is Well With My Soul. New also are many contemporary praise songs, a set of contemplative Taize songs (pronounced “tuh – ZAY”), more African-American spirituals and a number of global songs from 6 different continents.
Did we need a new hymnal? You might think not. We have many music resources available to us for our worship, including online through Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI). We’ll continue to use those. But this new hymnal is definitely an improvement over the old one – in content, layout, and feel – and it is the very generous gift of Chris and Lori Wallhausser.
It’s convenient to have the words to songs projected up front. But singing from a hymnal has benefits for our worship and our spiritual formation. If you’re interested, music minister and blogger Jonathan Aigner lists 15 Reasons We Should Still be Using Hymnals, in an article on Patheos.com. I can give you a personal reason: I can’t hit many of the notes in the melody line of many hymns and songs. But I can sing most of the bass notes, and using a hymnal allows me to join in more fully. Our new Glory to God hymnal also includes a brief biblical-theological and/or music intro for each hymn which contributes to the use of the song.
May this new hymnal help us live out our Core Value of being Grounded in Worship. And thank you Chris and Lori!