A Door for the Word: Thirty-Six New Hymns, 2002-2005

By Wolz, Larry | The Hymn, Spring 2007 | Go to article overview

A Door for the Word: Thirty-Six New Hymns, 2002-2005


Wolz, Larry, The Hymn


A Door for the Word: Thirty-Six New Hymns, 2002-2005 by Timothy Dudley-Smith. Oxford: Oxford University Press/Carol Stream, IL: Hope Publishing Co., 2006. 76+xiv pp. ISBN: 1-933710-00-4. U.S. $9.95.

Readers of THE HYMN may have assumed that with the publication of the collected edition of his hymns in 2003, A House of Praise (reviewed in the July, 2004 issue of this journal), Timothy Dudley-Smith was marking the end of his hymn writing career, but as he so engagingly explains in the introduction to this collection, it was only a prudent step to assure that he himself would see through the press the final large collection of his hymns. His plan was to follow that collection with supplements as needed. This is the first of those supplements, and we can hope for more to come.

Little introduction to Timothy Dudley-Smith (b. 1926) and his work should be necessary. He has been writing hymn texts for over forty years and was one of the founding fathers of the Hymn Explosion movement in Great Britain during the last quarter of the 20th century. He was named a Fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada in 1997 and has since been named an honorary vice-president of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland and was awarded an OBE by the Queen of England "for services to hymnody." His hymns have been published in more than 250 hymnals worldwide. Remarkably, sixteen of his texts appear in the recently published Lutheran Service Book (Concordia, 2006)-second only to Martin Luther and Paul Gerhardt and one ahead of Isaac Watts.

The tide of this collection is drawn from Colossians 4:3 (.RSF): ". . . pray for us also, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ. . . ." As he explains in the Foreword (which should be required reading for hymnwriters everywhere), these new hymns have been written for many reasons. There are the Christmas hymns that he creates every year for the family Christmas card, but also hymns for other seasons or festivals of the church year. …

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