Always a Singing People

17 05 2011

by PETER JUDD,
Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Presiding Evangelist David Brock lifts his voice in song.

From our earliest days, singing hymns and songs has helped express our movement’s faith. We sing what we believe, and we believe what we sing. The two are intertwined.

As part of the committee that selected hymns for the 1981 Hymns of the Saints, I was aware we were living in a time of change. The texts and tunes of the 1956 hymnal no longer were adequate to express current understandings. Some 30 years later and still a people of change, we again need to update our hymnody to express who we are today.

The hymnal in preparation (due for release in 2013) recognizes we are an international church. While remaining an English-language resource, its contents represent our diversity of languages and cultures. Yet this hymnal will be unifying, as members in many nations sing its rich variety of new and old hymns.

As I have visited congregations in several English-speaking countries, I have been heartened to see Hymns of the Saints in the pews. This quickly reminds me I am in “my” church. This is reinforced as we sing together for worship.

As 2013 draws closer, congregations will want to plan to buy this exciting resource. It will bear our name: Community of Christ. It will witness of who we are and who we are becoming.As yet untitled and covered in a color still undecided, this hardbound book of about 600 hymns and songs will cost no more than $25. Consider how much use our members and friends will get from this modest expenditure—surely many times what we usually get from a book of similar cost that is read once and then shelved or discarded. And what a potential to witness of who we are as Community of Christ!

Plan to buy enough copies to fit your dreams of growth. Include this cost in your congregational budget, or challenge each active member to buy two copies: one for the congregation plus one to keep at home. Please visit http://www.CofChrist.org/hymnal for more details about congregational budgeting and project description.

This will be the fourth major hymnal representing a significant journey from the time I learned to play the hymns from the 1933 Saints Hymnal as a child. I can’t wait to play the new hymns in 2013, and even more to sing them together in worship!

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2 responses

17 05 2011
Gary Piper

I am so glad the Psalmist made reference to “make a joyful noise” the manner in which I lift my voice in song because I have a roller coaster voice and could not carry a tune with a fork lift! But sing I do. There are times when I think we really need to think about the words we sing rather than worry about how we sound or if we’re singing the right tune because our hymns make some pretty powerful statements concerning how we conduct our lives.

I am really looking forward to the new hymnal and plan on lifting my voice to the Lord! I suspect when I get to heaven I’ll not make the heavenly choir but they’ll know I’m there! Sing ’em out Community of Christ God is listening!

I remember Evangelist Harold Hastings saying, “We’ve got 4 standard books in the Community of Christ not 3 because the messages in our hymnal are just as necessary.” I agree!

Grace and PEACE,
Gary Piper

17 05 2011
William L. Raiser

I notice Br. Brock singing in the all to familiar “saintly” style — head down, singing to the floor. 😉




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