20101104

I have some reaction now to the new hymnal Songs for Worship and Praise by Taylor Publications.

I think I appreciate this hymnal. I appreciate that it goes way back and remembers some of the old songs I remember from my youth. One such song, for example, is "His Eye Is On the Sparrow." The book includes all of the songs that have become near canonical in the church. It also includes many of the more recent songs from the '80s that are very pretty and have good messages. I refer to the number of songs by Twila Paris and by William and Gloria Gaither. Finally, it includes a number of very recent songs that are typically very short and unfamiliar (to me). As I muddle through the music and words I find they have nice melodies and the words are appropriate.

I stumbled upon a song called "I Feel Good." I didn't like the words. They don't really seem scriptural. It has to do with feelings being the evidence of the Spirit of Christ in a person's life. I'm all for feeling good about Christ; but I'm also aware that feelings are very deceptive with regard to one's relationship with God. Christianity is a life of reason. Upon humming through it, it appears to be an old Negro spiritual. Knowing the history of the American Christian Negro with all its desperate reliance on God, it makes perfect sense. I like it.

There is a number of "Christ's Birth" songs and a couple "Patriotic" numbers I could do without.

No songbook has everything I want. This one is missing "O God of Infinite Mercy" by Tillit S. Teddlie. I also wish it included these songs from the old Sacred Selection days:

Our King Immanuel
The Soul's Sweet Home
The Kingdoms of Earth Pass Away One By One

It really seems this book attempts to be The Paperless Hymnal in book form. Nevertheless, it does step forward as a hymnal useful for many types of worshipful occasions.

Any songbook can be inappropriately used by a novice or crass songleader. This book is no exception. Many songs can be used out of context to the worship event.

Another songbook is in the works for publication later this year. The publisher will be Sumphonia. Given its tradition it will probably be more "trustworthy" (in the hands of a novice songleader) than the Taylor offering. It will probably include the songs I mentioned above as missing; but it will omit many of the nice songs that are included in the present volume. It will include a lot of songs written by people associated with the compilation of the Sumphonia book. It's their prerogative. If there are many of them and they aren't very good I probably won't like it much. I'm still interested to see how it turns out.