Academic journal article The Hymn

And Every Breath a Song

Academic journal article The Hymn

And Every Breath a Song

Article excerpt

And Every Breath a Song by Delores Dufner, OSB. Chicago: GIA, 2011. ISBN 978-1-5799-9857-8. $29.95

Delores Dufner, OSB, has been creating compelling hymns for the singing church for the past three decades. The Glimmer of Glory in Song, a collection of seventy-five of her hymns, was published by GIA in 2003. With this latest book we have a followup collection of Dufner's creative output.

Dufner is a member of St. Benedict's Monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota. Her texts are chiefly Christocentric. They provide ways for people to unite as a family of faith and celebrate the gospel message. Some of these hymns were written in the mid-1980s; others, a few years ago; many, in the years between. So, the collection offers access to Dufner's lifelong artistic and spiritual insight. Here one finds hymns for all of the church seasons and celebrations, through which Dufner reveals a deep trust in Christ and encourages a commitment to live faithfully.

Perhaps the hymns in this collection is "Day of Delight," an Easter hymn that is also suitable for the opening of worship. The joyful, uplifting text has already found a cherished place in the standard hymn repertoire.

"Pervasive, never-absent One" explores who God is using language both expansive and invitational. In addition to the hymn's deft first line, God is addressed as Mystery, Hov'ring elusive One, Indwelling, ever-present One, and Future -transforming One. This hymn, commissioned by a Unitarian congregation, could be sung by a diverse ecumenical gathering. Morning hymns are presented: "Again the night has run its course" and "Like a bird that spreads her wings." Also, there are several lovely evening hymns: "When evening falls and labors cease" and "As evening falls." Memorable phrases include: "The pledge and seed of lasting joy," "Here in this unlikely place, Jesus grew in age and grace"; and "Gentle healer, seek and find those who see and yet are blind. …

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