Academic journal article The Hymn

From Glory into Glory: Reflections for Worship

Academic journal article The Hymn

From Glory into Glory: Reflections for Worship

Article excerpt

From ¿lory into glory Reflections for worship by Susan Palo Cherwien. St. Louis: Morningstar Music Publishers, 2009. 381 pp. ISBN 978-0-944529-48-5. US $24.95.

Hymnist, poet, and singer Susan Palo Cherwien has given us a beautiful set of conversations. They are conversations with our forebears who took on the hymnwriting mantle. In the book's prelude, she says, "I have always attempted to compose these reflections in such a way that we who then sing the hymns will see their words and hear their truths in a new way." Her attempt is completely successful. The book emanates a deep love of hymnody and its potential for spiritual transformation.

The book contains 204 reflections grouped by subject, and meant to be the connective tissue between die hymns selected for hymn festivals. Ms. Cherwien says that they are not poetry, but are lined as such, and meant to be read slowly in "thought phrases." The subjects range through the church year and through the major themes of scripture with a heavy emphasis on incarnation.

One set of reflections is about the Ufe and work of Paul Gerhardt. Another is about the role of poets, prophets, and priests. She quotes a great variety of sages of the church, ancient and modern, in ways that bring their words to Ufe just as the reflections bring the hymns to Ufe.

An index gives a basic form for a hymn festival, and then lists the hymns upon which each reflection is based; hence, the book serves a double purpose: it can be a template and an encouragement for those who put together hymn festivals, but it can also be a readyto-use work of art. …

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