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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Monday, June 18, 2007

Calling all liturgists!

Part of my normal Monday routine includes liturgy planning. This includes assembling an initial draft of the bulletin for the upcoming Sunday, and selecting hymns. I do not simply pick the music randomly. I read through the appointed lessons for the day, and then try to select music that coordinates with and reinforces the scriptural teaching therein.

In addition, there are constraints-- filters though which I work. A significant percentage of the hymns are not on the "A" list.

  • First, I try to skip the "dreck collection" that every hymnal contains (this is not unique to our denomination. Is there some quota system involved, do you suppose?)
  • Secondly, there are some hymns that might be possible to sing if one were supported by a sizeable choir. I'm sure the organists at Trinity, Wall Street love them. However, we do not have choirs here. If a hymn is beyond the capability of our small congregations, we skip them.
  • Then, a number of hymns are not programmed into "Miss Emily" -- the digital hymnal used by two of my churches. It is a limited list; but if they are not available, they are not available.
  • Finally, I cannot use anything beyond the ability of the musicians at my other two churches-- who are quite good, but who are not professional. This includes anything with 4 or more sharps or flats in the time signature.
Still, even given all that, it's usually not too onerous a task to come up with 5 hymns (processional, sequence, offertory, communion, dismissal). The Episcopal Church has a rich musical tradition, and several authorized resources offer ample choices.

Today, however, is a challenge. For some reason, nothing is striking my fancy. I feel a bit like I'm standing in front of a full closet, complaining I have nothing to wear; but there it is.

So, I'm taking requests. You can find the Sunday proper readings here: we are using Isaiah and Psalm 22, along with Galatians 3 and Luke (the Gospel is a bit tricky to coordinate-- we seem to have a dearth of drowning swine hymnody). And you can listen to a goodly number of options online, here.

Any suggestions?


Anonymous Mark J. said...

You're asking someone who has a congregation that seems a bit shy about singing... Even after running through "Eat This Bread" (a very simple, repetitive piece) during the offertory, then leading into it at communion, not a single soul sang.

But, that said, "Eat This Bread" is a pretty universal piece for communion. I don't know if it is in Miss Emily, but it can be lead a cappella easily enough. Of course, you might also be working under the "if it isn't in any authorized hymnal it isn't legal" constraint, and I use it from the Gather (RC) hymnal. Not that the lyrics aren't perfectly biblical. There's only about 15 words. :-)

We did use "See Ye First" (711) pretty successfully last Sunday here, and that is compatible with a wide variety of scripture.

Perhaps you could get the Virginia City Players to make a house call. :-)

June 18, 2007 12:11 PM  

Blogger Jane Ellen+ said...

Yes-- we sang "Seek ye First" last week, and it went well. However, I try not to repeat songs too close together if I can avoid it.

"Eat this Bread" is a possibility, too. Thanks!

June 19, 2007 9:57 AM  

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