Do you sing in church? Good on you. Those who sing pray twice. If you do not sing in church, what barrier could we break down for you? Do you not know the music? Or are you so lost in reading the text of the hymn that you never get with the rythym of the tune? Whether you fit into the singing or non-singing category, I have a suggestion for you that will enhance your hymn-singing forever. It's a thick little red volume called "Poems of Grace." Poems of Grace is simply the texts of The Hymnal 1982, the Episcopal Hymnal in current use.
Because the Text Committee of that hymnal, headed by The Rev. Marion J. Hatchett, was careful that each text could stand alone, we have a treasure here. If you pick up one of these hymnals you will find that the hymns are grouped into sections for the church year. They are also grouped into categories such as "Holy Eucharist", "Praise to God", "Jesus Christ our Lord", and "Christian Responsbility", to name a few.
Another aspect of Poems of Grace is that texts range from ancient to modern. We have texts that were translated out of Greek and Latin, and then we have hymns that were written by modern writers. I define "modern" as "writers who are still living." Beyond that we have "Contemporary Christian Music" which must be sung and lived with for a while before it gets established in an Episcopal Hymnal.
Side by side in Poems of Grace you will find "Christ whose glory fills the skies" by 18th century writer Charles Wesley; and "Morning has broken" by Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965). You will recognize this hymn from an old Cat Stevens recording. Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen are also fond of this text.
So, even if you don't "sing in church" you can let your spirit soar by reading the texts of The Hymnal 1982. You can find your own to purchase at www.churchpublishing.org. Truly, they are Poems of Grace.
The Rev. Linda McCloud
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek