11 January 2009

A Survey

So, how many of you (who celebrated the Baptism of our Lord) this weekend used Dr. Luther's Baptismal hymn? And how many used the old tune? New tune? I confess that I chickened out and decided to sub the Starke hymn on our Lord's Baptism and even then to sub the familiar Hyfrydol - for which I was suitably chided by my wife. "How can they learn it if we never sing it?" Sigh. Smart woman. Next year! But in the meantime - what did you guys do who observed Baptism?


Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

We sang Luther's hymn, using the "old" tune. We sing it at least five or six times a year, and have been using it regularly for many years now. The singing was robust this morning, which is generally what has happened once the grand Lutheran chorales have been learned and become familiar. It helps that the children love those sturdy tunes and meaty texts, and they all sing with spirited joy.

We sang the Starke hymn, as well, during the distribution, and its given tune is already familiar to us (from "Sing with All the Saints in Glory," a favorite here that we use regularly). I like the tune, and it fits well, but I do wish that a sturdy new tune could have been provided, rather than doubling up a tune that is already wedded to another text.

I should say that we have several factors at Emmaus which have served us very well over the years: First, the patience and gumption of the congregation in learning new hymns. Second, the blessing of an outstanding organist who is both a fine musician and theologically astute, as well as fully supportive of her pastor. Third, a large percentage of young children, who learn the old Lutheran hymnody with ease and sing it with relish.

Where there aren't such conducive conditions to work with, a pastor has to be patient and persistent and willing to move slowly and carefully, one good hymn at a time. But even then, it can be done. We really ought to make every effort to recover and retain our Lutheran hymnological heritage, which is one of the richest and most profound contributions of Luther's Reformation and of subsequent Lutheran generations.

Susan said...

We sang the same as at Emmaus -- the old tune for Luther's, as well as Starke's for one of the distribution hymns. Last year Pastor tried out the new tune for the Luther baptism hymn, and boy oh boy, the words in stanza 6 clash somethin' awful with the brightness and cheeriness of the melody.

Our opening hymn was the one I thought to be mega-cool today. LSB 405 has the same tune as "Ride On, Ride On In Majesty." If you hear (in your mind) the words to the Palm Sunday hymn kinda as a "transparency" over the words your mouth is singing about baptism, ohhhhhhh, you get a lovely lovely picture of the connection between Jesus' baptism and passion week. That was just really great ... and brought an [dare I say it?] inspiring perspective to the Gloria in Excelsis, the Agnus Dei, the Sanctus, and some of the prayers.

Anonymous said...

We sang LSB 407 ("To Jordan Came the Christ, Our Lord" -- that's the newer one I guess?) The first four stanzas as the Hymn of the Day and the last three stanzas as our final distribution hymn.

594 ("God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It") was our closing hymn. I don't think we'd ever used it before. It looked easy to sing but the congregation still had troubles with it.

Pr. H. R. said...

We're learning LSB 407 as the hymn of the month for January so we're learning it for years to come.

Meantime, #405 was the HoD.


Anonymous said...

We sang 406, the Luther hymn with the original melody. I really dislike the melody for 407. The original tune is wonderful, but it is certainly tough. I've been hear nearly ten years and we have just started to learn it in the last year or two.

Reformationalist said...

We observe Boy Jesus in the Temple on average of two times out of three years. This being the third year, we used the Baptism of Our Lord, noting that it is being transferred from the Octave of the Epiphany -- that is, 13 January.

We used the all of the following:

405, 403, 406 (the Luther hymn to original tune), 404, and 600.

Though we only use The Baptism one-third of the time, we preach on Baptism often and use several of these hymns on each such occasion, so the congregation was comfortable with them all.


Rev. Fr. Robert W. Schaibley, SSP
Falcon, Colorado

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

We sang Starke's hymn, but I'm in the middle of Oklahoma, so we sang it to the tune of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" instead of the tune in the hymnal that gave our organists confused looks.

wmc said...

Let's go to the videotape and see how we did:

Choir: "The Baptism Carol" (good piece!)
HOD: LSB #405 - To Jordan's River Came Our Lord
#602 - The Gifts Christ Freely Gives
#596 - All Christians Who have Been Baptized
#401 - From God the Father, Virgin-Born
Close: #394 - Songs of Thankfulness and Praise

Sermon Text: Mark 1:1-11

We also had a Baptism and welcomed some new members.

All in all, a great day, though falling short on the Luther-O-Meter.

Rev. Jacob Sutton said...

Here in North Texas we used 405 - but only because we have not taught the congregation 406. The school children have learned 406, and well. I told them that if they can sing "Wir glauben all" they can sing "To Jordan Came" by Luther. They knocked it out of the park.

Since 406 was not in TLH, and our congregation went from TLH straight to LSB, 406 never made it into their repertoire. It will by God's grace with patience.

I do not like that a choice was given with the new tune - I think (know!) 406 is doable if taught. I do not think the 407 tune handles the Baptismal text well. I also think that since 406 is a Catechism hymn of Luther, it is important to keep the text and tune wedded if possible. But I know why they gave the choice - to encourage some use of the Luther hymn.

The new tune, "Elvet Banks", handles better (I didn't say "best") the Luther hymn at 823/824. I'd prefer to use the choice there and not on the Baptism hymn, which is the more important hymn.