Useful Hymns by Lutheran pastor and poet Robin D Fish is now available in a second, expanded edition. It contains 200 hymns “for worship, prayer, and instruction in the Lutheran church, school, and home.” I look forward to seeing it and trying them out!
Rev. Fish blogs at A Fort Made of Books, so you can consider, in particular, his post “Are ‘Useful Hymns’ Useful?” (I am also thankful to see, in his latest post, that a music-only accompanist volume will come out, so that’s thoughtful and helpful—something to lie flat on music stands!)
In short, this particular collection of mostly original hymns is an attempt to supplement hymns for various practical uses. They are hymns that focus on Christ, glorify God, teach and confess the faith, and direct the troubled or afflicted to where God has promised to be, framing prayers that express real need when there isn’t always a good or known hymn to address it.
From his post:
In Useful Hymns, there are:
- Two “dedication” hymns, one of which more or less outlines my spiel about what makes a hymn useful;
- Three overarching hymns for entire seasons of the church year;
- 19 hymns for feasts of the church year;
- 58 hymns for the Sundays of the church year, on which I will say more in a bit;
- Five “liturgical hymns,” ditto;
- 25 “catechetical hymns,” ditto;
- 15 “scriptural meditation” hymns, commenting on or paraphrasing biblical topics or passages;
- nine “church and ministry” hymns, including a musical mission statement, a stewardship hymn, a hymn for calling a pastor, and a wedding hymn;
- 18 “heroes of the faith” hymns, relating key people in the Bible to aspects of Christian discipleship;
- 31 “comfort and encouragement” hymns, which I’ll get back to in a bit;
- 13 “care of the community” hymns, ditto;
- three hymns for children;
- nine translated hymns; and
- 12 hymn texts by other writers, to which I contributed original tunes.
So, check out Useful Hymns, and see what it can offer you as far as a Gospel tool in your life. I’ll let you know more when I’ve seen it myself.