Monday, October 22, 2018

Hymns of praise


We attend the traditional service at our Lutheran church (NALC) in Upper Arlington, Ohio.  There are two other types of services—one I call “happy clappy” which I’m guessing is mostly post-1960s songs and praise music without liturgy and the other “clangy bangy” with very loud guitars and drums, and we have two locations for one congregation. Right now we have a total of five services, but I can remember a time when we had 10, trying to suit all the tastes in worship style and preaching. Our traditional service at Lytham Road has a choir and the other two have praise bands with perhaps a quartet to lead the music.  The pastors rotate, so we all eventually hear the same sermons by the same pastors. Right now we’re in a study called “Gathered,” which is about worship.  Last week was on music (song) with sermon by senior pastor Steve Turnbull and yesterday was the sacraments by Aaron Thompson who is director of the high school ministry.  Lutherans have two sacraments—baptism and communion, but for 1500 years the Christian church had six sacraments, but Martin Luther cut them to two, and today many Protestant and Bible and non-denominational churches have no sacraments, only memorials.

So this all leads to the opening hymn of praise, “Praise the Lord! O Heavens. I always read the information about the hymn writers at the bottom of the page (I don’t like to read words on a screen, because I like to see the music so I can practice my dwindling ability to read music.) This one said, Text: The Foundling Hospital Collection, London, 1796.  One of the beautiful things I appreciate about the Internet is I don’t have to wait long to satisfy my curiosity. An antiquarian book dealer, Simon Beattie of London had one for sale and was discussing its history. You can go to his website for further explanation of the institution and its collection, and also  The hospital has a fascinating history which includes Dickens and Handel.

The Foundling Hospital, Britain’s first children’s charity, had been established by Thomas Coram in 1739.  ‘The Hospital chapel, in use by 1749 and officially opened in 1753, soon became well known for its music as well as for its elegant architecture and adornments …  The singing of the children at ordinary Sunday services was a great attraction to fashionable London and became an important source of income to the Hospital through pew rents and voluntary contributions.  Music was specially composed and arranged for the Hospital chapel, and the success of the singing led to a demand for this music, which was met by the publication of a book called Psalms, Hymns and Anthems; for the Use of the Chapel of the Hospital for the Maintenance and Education of Exposed and Deserted Young Children.  It is generally known more informally as the Foundling Hospital Collection’ (Nicholas Temperley, ‘The Hymn Books of the Foundling and Magdalen Hospital Chapels’, Music Publishing & Collecting: Essays in Honor of Donald W. Krummel (1994), p. 6).  [from Beattie’s blog)

This hymn is in the 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship and the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal of 1958, which notes the text is by John Bacchus Dykes, 1823-76, which wouldn’t work with the copyright of 1796.

No comments: