Academic journal article The Hymn

From the Executive Director

Academic journal article The Hymn

From the Executive Director

Article excerpt

By now you are probably aware that an important plateau has been reached in this year of transitions for The Hymn Society: the search for a new Executive Director has been successfully concluded. No one could be more delighted than I am that Deborah Carlton Loftis will be taking up these duties on November 1. Deb's long association with the Society and her special constellation of gifts and experience promise great things in the years ahead. We are all much indebted to the members of the Executive Committee who have worked so diligently and conscientiously to bring about such a happy conclusion to this important search. But as is so often the case in life, reaching a decision is only the beginning of another chain of events. There is much that needs to happen between deciding and putting into practice.

Not surprisingly, this is an area where much hymnody connects with us. In the phrases of Isaac Watts, we all live somewhere between "ages past" and "years to come." How our faith moves us forward into the future depends greatly on the experience of God we have had up to this point. As I recently heard a preacher say, this is the essential difference between hope and optimism. Hope is grounded in experience, whereas optimism is simply a preference for the most positive outcome. He illustrated this point by recounting an interview of Archbishop Tutu, who was asked whether he was optimistic that Israelis and Palestinians would be able to reach a peace agreement. "No," the archbishop said, "I cannot be optimistic that these longstanding tensions can be resolved soon or easily. But," he continued, "as a Christian, I must hope and pray for peace between these factions - and all others, because our God is a God of peace."

Much of the experience of people of faith comes from their shared song. Like the photographs that capture and preserve family memories, sacred songs describe and perpetuate the story of a faith community and permit the faith journey of each individual to gain direction and purpose by comparison with and by assimilation into this corporate narrative. …

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