One of the tricky things about writing hymns these days is that we are as likely as ever to be well-versed in hymns from before us. And, I don’t know, how many Doxologies can exist without repeating other hymns?
Does that mean we drop references to the Three-and-One and One-in-Three? Um, no. It may mean we readjust our expectations a little.
There are expressions you may want to use in a hymn and it may have been written before. Does that mean you need to get a doctorate in copyright law before writing it down? I don’t think so. We should try to give credit where credit is due, but a few words or expressions is not fatalistically determined for one use only. Especially in the Church, where the mission and lifeblood is Christ’s Words of everlasting life.
So, sometimes there’s borrowing and always has been. Sometimes your new creation, well, isn’t altogether new.
What do you think about that? Is it important to you that your work be “new” or in some way unaffected? Think about it.
A doxology is a liturgical formula of praise. A doxological stanza typically invokes each Person of the Triune God in praise. Through thousands of years (not even counting the ageless experience of the angels!), liturgical formulas have rung out, in praise to God and in encouragement toward others to join that praise. That’s amazing! Even for writers, who may want to craft the words themselves.
My progress towards a new hymn is jolted at best. But you know what? Whether doxologies are few or many, there is a lot to be thankful for!
Glory be to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and always will be. Amen!