Academic journal article The Hymn

A Treasury of Faith, Lectionary Hymns Series A

Academic journal article The Hymn

A Treasury of Faith, Lectionary Hymns Series A

Article excerpt

A Treasury of Faith, Lectionary Hymns Series A by Gracia Grindal. Colfax, NC: Wayne Leupold Editions, 2006. 104+vii pp. ISBN: 1-881162-16-8. U.S. $12.95.

Gracia Grindal is professor of rhetoric at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, a poet, a hymn writer, and a teacher of hymn writing well known to The Hymn Society. A Treasury of Faith contains 69 new hymn texts, for each of the Sundays and festivals of lectionary year A. They were written "in real time," as Grindal relates in the introduction: each Saturday night for a year she read the following day's scriptures and began writing a text. She heard the lessons and her pastor's sermon on them the next morning, then revised and completed each hymn by the end of the week.

Grindal has based most of the hymns on the gospel lessons (Matthew or John, plus three passages from Luke), or on the gospel and the epistle; two Old Testament passages (Genesis 1 and Psalm 51) are also represented.

"Watch! Be ready! Christ is coming soon" is the first line of the book's first hymn, for Advent 1, and such directness is typical. "The Baptist Cries, 'Prepare the Way,' " is the second hymn. For Easter, Grindal offers "Rejoice! The Stone Was Rolled Away," and an Ascension hymn begins, "'Why are you gazing up into the skies?' the angel said."

Third person writing dominates these texts, but there is also a heartfelt, even searing first person: "I freely bound myself to sin/and let the devil take me in,/and then I was not free"; or "Lord, strip my righteousness away/and dress me in your grace,/for I cannot endure my pride/while looking at your face."

Grindal has a good ear for slant rhymes, and a commendable willingness to leave a rhyme scheme for the sake of what she wants to say. …

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