Monday, November 22, 2021

What's in CWH?

I've just come into possession of a copy of Christian Worship: Hymnal, the new Wisconsin Ev. Lutheran Synod hymnal fresh out of Northwestern Publishing House in Milwaukee. Its title lends itself to confusion with WELS' previous pew book, Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal (1993) – which until now, I've always shortened to CW upon repeated references, but which I suppose will now have to be CWALH to distinguish it from CWH. I'm going to take the high road for once, and refrain from making any cheap quips about the progression of titles suggesting that WELS has gotten over the need for its hymnal to be explicitly Lutheran. (Alas, I'll never achieve the brilliance of the wag who described WELS' rebranding of its college in New Ulm, Minn. from "Dr. Martin Luther College" to just plain "Martin Luther College" as "stripping Luther of his doctorate.")

In my review of the book, which I intend to take in an as-yet-undetermined number of installments under the thread "Tacky Hymns," I don't intend only to lampoon the examples of "tackiness on holy ground" that I find therein. As with my previous series of posts on the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (see posts 81-88 on this thread) and The Lutheran Hymnal (67-80), please understand the following three "types" of comments for which I'm interested in singling out hymns for special mention. "Type 1" means I wish the editors had shown better taste than to include such-and-such in the book, because it clashes with the decor (i.e. doctrine and spiritual culture) of an intentionally Lutheran church body. "Type 2" is just a point of trivia that I want to raise, like "what an interesting choice of a tune to go with this hymn," etc.; not necessarily an example of tackiness, as such. "Type 3" is the reverse of tackiness: a hymn so marvelous that its appearance in CWH shows up other hymnals that don't include it.

Before we really dive into the hymn selection (where the numbering starts with 301), I'll just toss out a few brisk observations about the front part of the hymnal. First, the pew edition is a thick, substantial book with a dark blue cover embossed, on the front, with a silvery Chi-Rho (the first two Greek letters in the name of Christ) – similar to yet distinct from the design of CWALH. Almost directly behind that front cover, the first thing really worthy of note is the Introduction, which makes a clear statement of the confession the book aims to make. I'm a little less enthusiastic about the evidence it gives that NPH is following CPH (cf. Lutheran Service Book) in loading a lot of supplemental content into a proprietary "Service Builder" software-as-a-service package. Heigh ho.

Past that, there's a church year "calendar" that lists the Sundays and feasts with an indication of their liturgical color, which is handy for the altar guild. Then there's an list of lectionary years and dates that specifies which year of the three-year lectionary (A, B or C) goes with each church year from 2022-23 through 2051-52, complete with dates of the First Sunday in Advent, Ash Wednesday and Easter. That's so useful, I might stick a copy of it to my wall. The three-year lectionary goes on to list Scripture references for the three main readings of each service in parallel columns for years A, B and C; a one-year lectionary, another for minor festivals and another for "occasions" (like church anniversaries, confirmation, Mother's Day, etc.) follow that. It's nice to know one-year remains an option, even if it's the redheaded stepchild.

Next, there's a table of Psalm appointments for the one- and three-year lectionary. Since I've been skimming lightly so far, I just noticed for the first time that CWH has gone back to the Latin names of selected Divine Services, such as the Sundays in Advent (Ad Te Levavi, etc.), Lent (Invocavit, etc.) and Easter (Quaismodo Geniti, etc.) I'm for it, as you'll have guessed if you've flipped through my hymns for the Sundays of the church year. It shows a commitment to staying connected to the church of past generations that goes even further than TLH (which didn't preserve the Latin titles of the Advent services). It also points up very graphically what a difference 3-year vs. 1-year makes, with Transfiguration appearing three weeks earlier in the latter. You may also notice that CWH's 3-year lectionary follows LSB in designating the Sundays after Trinity as "Proper 1," etc., based on their range of calendar dates. One odd thing about this table is the header "Festival" above the names of the services, even though some of them arguably aren't festivals (e.g. penitential seasons and "normal time" or the "non-festival" half of the church year).

That's all prologue to the Psalms, whose numbering begins at 1 and goes all the way to 150 but doesn't hit every Psalm along the way. Each number apparently corresponds to the Psalm of the same number, of which it is either a hymn paraphrase or a chant setting or, in by far the majority of cases, one of the Marty Haugen type of Psalm settings with a catchy refrain repeated a few times between verses pointed for an Anglican chant type tone. Exceptions include 22, which samples a couple phrases from the Passion chorale "O sacred head, now wounded" for its refrain; 24, which does the same with the Israeli ditty "Welcome the King of glory" (I learned the version that goes "The King of glory comes"). Psalm 42 is represented by Martin Nystrom's ditty "As the deer"; 45 is a paraphrase by John Wainwright, set to the tune YORKSHIRE; 62 uses a Taizé refrain; 66 has a through-composed setting by Steven C. Warner; 72 has a refrain that samples a phrase from "We three kings," melody only; 78 gets a contemporary setting by Greg Scheer; 80 is a paraphrase set to ABERYSTWYTH; 111 is a paraphrase by Jaroslav Vajda set to an original hymn tune. 119 divides selected verses of the Bible's longest psalm into five segments that can apparently be done interchangeably with the same refrain and chant tone; 128 is a paraphrase by Stephen Starke, set to Stephen Johnson's lovely tune PUTNAM, which was also in LSB; 136 is a unique setting by Marty Haugen; 138 is a Herman Stuempfle paraphrase set to the chorale O WELT, ICH MUSS DICH LASSEN (a.k.a. INNSBRUCK); 139 is set as an Anglican chant canticle, like the Te Deum in TLH; 145 is a paraphrase set to Hubert Parry's tune JERUSALEM, which some people wish was the national anthem of the U.K.; 149 is a Hal Hopson ditty; and 150 is also a hymn paraphrase set to an original tune, with a "Halle! Hallelujah!" refrain.

The book's "Services" section begins, very significantly, with Holy Baptism. Heretofore I don't recall ever seeing Baptism put in what I now, suddenly realize to be its proper place in the liturgy section – the beginning. Usually, if it's included in the pew book at all, it's buried deep in the part of the book most people never turn to, well after the services the congregation uses every week. The service, which seems at least partly to be newly invented for this book, makes a good catechetical statement/confession about the need for baptism; I just wish it had followed LSB as far as including Luther's Flood Prayer.

"The Service," as CWH calls Divine Service, begins on p. 154 with Setting One. It's kind of a hybrid of the "old, old hymnal" liturgy with the "old, new hymnal" one, with two updated versions of the corporate confession and absolution, the type of Kyrie that alternates bids like "In peace, let us pray to the Lord" with "Lord, have mercy" (instead of the historic "Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy" and cut), but the Anglican chant canticle version of the Gloria in Excelsis pretty much straight out of TLH. Options for an Introit and Gradual are omitted. There are seasonal Gospel acclamations, which all begin and end with the triple Alleluia (except during Lent) but omit the "Glory be to You, O Lord" response to the announcement of the Gospel. ("Praise be to You, O Christ" after the reading is preserved.) The Nicene Creed uses plural pronouns ("We believe...") and both the Nicene and Apostles' Creed have updated language, but at least "descended into hell" was left as-is. The Prayer of the Church is rather precious, with the congregation reading parts of it responsorially.

Updated language continues in "The Sacrament" portion of the service, with the Sanctus mentioning "heavenly hosts" instead of Sabaoth, for example; otherwise quite similar to the setting in TLH. In the Prayer of Thanksgiving, CWH joins LSB in walking back a part of Luther's reform of the Mass and restores a eucharistic prayer between the Sanctus and the Lord's Prayer. There are two options for wording of the Lord's Prayer, so that at least in theory, WELS Lutherans need no longer worry about being able to rely on everybody saying the same words when they gather in prayer. The updated language of the Agnus Dei setting is just different enough to draw notice if you're used to the musically similar version in TLH.

I'm not going to go through Setting Two and Setting Three, which seem to be pretty much the same but with new music. This leads to Morning Prayer/Matins, which has some music in common with the TLH setting, alternating with some new chant melodies. The Te Deum setting is aggressively of the "scotch the last two stanzas" persuasion, not even leaving them in italics as LSB did for those who choose to keep them; also you have to be on your toes because Stanza 7 isn't where you'll expect to find it. Evening Prayer/Vespers is more as one finds it in Lutheran Worship and LSB than in TLH, with Phos hilaron moving onto Psalm 141 ("Let my prayer rise before you as incense"), two settings of the Magnificat, and that cute extended Kyrie that can be chanted with the liturgist's "let us pray to the Lord" overlapping with the congregation's "Lord, have mercy." CWH then follows LW and LSB in adding Compline to the congregation's repertoire of prayer services.

Page 235 kicks off a section of daily devotions with a page of introduction, followed by spoken offices of the hours (Matins, Laud, Prime, Terce, Vespers and Compline, by those and other names). There's a daily lectionary on pp. 248 ff., a schedule for praying through the Psalms, and four pages of personal prayers. Then, filed under "Rites," we get another Service of Holy Baptism, which this time does include the Flood Prayer; a "Service of Word and Prayer," apparently for any time of day; a wedding service; a funeral service; services of corporate and individual confession and absolution; the Athanasian Creed; Luther's Small Catechism, including the "six chief parts," Daily Prayers, Table of Duties and Christian Questions for those who intend to go to the Sacrament; and so, after a table of contents for the hymn portion of the book, which is literally p. 299, the hymns begin with number (and page) 301.

Skipping to the end of that part, for now (the last hymn is 958), we arrive at indices, including acknowledgments, copyrights, end credits for the book itself, an alphabetical index of sources (words and music all lumped together), hymn tunes by meter and then by title, and hymn text titles and first lines. The book's final numbered page is 992. And so, till next time, there I'll leave you.

No comments: