Hymn singing is vital to Christian worship—if you take the time to glance over many of the Psalms, you’ll notice that we are repeatedly directed to “come unto his presence with a song”. Through song we connect to each other during worship and it carries us forward as we depart on our separate journeys.
This Sunday, during the offertory anthem, we’ll learn a new hymn (maybe familiar to a few!) We The Lord’s People found on page 51. The hymn’s melody was composed by Richard Dirksen, the long-standing music director of the Washington National Cathedral. Dirksen’s nearly four decade tenure at the Cathedral not only fostered centuries of Anglican music, but expanded the national church’s acceptance of challenging newly-composed music.
The text of We the Lord’s People provides a glimpse of our lives as Christians-heart and voice uniting, praise him who called us out of sin and darkness; an image of what church is- home of all his people, […] refuge for the sinner […] all find a welcome; homage to the liturgical year-day of resurrection, day of the Spirit, sign of heaven’s banquet; as well as a summary of the Eucharist- to all his people, his own life imparting, food everlasting. My philosophy as a church musician is to provide a full-circle image of the compassion and creativity of God through music, and this hymn is a powerful vehicle of that philosophy.
I encourage you all to sing with all your hearts this Sunday as well celebrate not only “new” hymns, but melodies and texts that are precious to us.