Saturday, January 30, 2016

Closing in on the Magic Number

The expanded edition of my "Useful Hymns" book is shaping up quickly. The number of original hymns I have been aiming for all this last year is 200, double the number I initially published at the beginning of 2015, and that isn't counting hymns that I translated and existing hymns (translation included) for which I supplied original tunes. I may also, when all is said and done, work into the book my melodic setting of Luther's Small Catechism and a Divine Service setting that I wrote almost 15 years ago.

But for right now, I'm just excited to have a specific plan for each of the remaining 17 slots in the main sequence of hymns - hymns for which I now have titles, topics, and in some cases, tunes picked out, though I have yet to write their texts. Here are my plans for hymns 184-200, in no particular order:
    • Abraham: For Justifying Faith
    • Jacob: Wrestling with God
    • Moses: Strength in Weakness
    • Joshua: For a Devout Heart
    • David: The Gift of Penitence
    • Isaiah: For Christ-Centered Ministry
    • Minor Prophets: Warning and Promise
    • Women of the Faith
    • Timothy: For Faithful Youth
    • Onesimus & Philemon: Honor in Humble Service
    • Seven Churches of the Apocalypse: For Perseverance
    • Intercession for the Sick
    • For the Despised and Rejected
    • For Troubled Families
    • For Healing of Division
    • For Courage
    • For a Cheerful Heart
With my plans for the remainder of this book so clear, I can all but taste the completion of the project. As for the hymns for which I haven't chosen a tune in advance, I'm thinking about asking my friends in one or two hymn-writers' discussion groups to contribute their original tunes. Perhaps they'll agree to an exchange, in lieu of royalties, in which I will let them make free use of my work if they let me use a bit of theirs. I think it would be good to stir into my book a few tunes that aren't either old unsung masterpieces or my own original work; call it creative diversity.

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