Least favorite hymns in the hymnal...

Started by LutherMan, September 24, 2015, 01:54:30 PM

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Charles Austin

You are, of course, right, Fr. Slusser and the knee-jerk response from certain others is just a thoughtless muscle spasm.
Naturally, we proclaim the gospel, uplift the joys of our faith at a funeral. I just don't like the idea that it is an "evangelism" event; namely the pastor thinks: "Hmm. There are people here who probably aren't church members. Got 'em as a captive audience. Maybe I can make this an occasion to set the hook and reel 'em in."
BTW, "dear friends," I'm about to be, as Gene Autry sang, "Back in the Saddle Again," the saddle being a regular pulpit and altar as I take on another interim pastorate, preaching, teaching, providing pastoral care and leading the parish at least through Advent and Christmas and into 2016 while they prepare to call a new pastor. Give you good feelings, doesn't it?
BTW again, I was interim in this parish for two years before they called the last pastor eight years ago. When that pastor took another call, they asked the bishop if I could come back. Humbles me. Warms my heart.


Iowa-born. ELCA pastor, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis. English major. Elitist snob? Probably.

Michael Slusser

Quote from: Charles Austin on September 25, 2015, 04:36:33 PM
You are, of course, right, Fr. Slusser and the knee-jerk response from certain others is just a thoughtless muscle spasm.
Naturally, we proclaim the gospel, uplift the joys of our faith at a funeral. I just don't like the idea that it is an "evangelism" event; namely the pastor thinks: "Hmm. There are people here who probably aren't church members. Got 'em as a captive audience. Maybe I can make this an occasion to set the hook and reel 'em in."
I think it would be unfair to accuse them of such a crass sentiment.

May God bless you in your new temporary pastoral responsibility.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

BrotherBoris

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on September 25, 2015, 01:08:07 PM
Quote from: BrotherBoris on September 25, 2015, 12:38:57 PM
I'm one of those rare individuals who really believes the funeral is primarily for the spiritual benefit of the departed and not primarily an event to celebrate the deceased's life or an evangelism opportunity for the unchurched.


What do you mean by "spiritual benefit"?

The most diplomatic thing I can say is that Protestants and Eastern Orthodox approach the subject of Christian funerals with different assumptions. (I would welcome Father Michael to offer us a Roman Catholic perspective as well, if he wishes.)

An Eastern Orthodox person is going to approach a funeral with at least the following assumptions:

1.  The deceased person's soul has now been separated from his/her body.
2.  The separation of the soul and body is traumatic, unpleasant, and disorienting for the deceased.
3.  The soul of the deceased is not immediately judged by God, although it will be eventually. We believe this is a process that takes time and set aside 40 days for it.
4.  The abode of the departed soul (either in Paradise or in torment) is determined sometime after death. However, the absolute eternal destiny of the soul will not be determined until the Last Day when the dead are raised and souls are reunited with their resurrected bodies and appear before the fearful judgment seat of Christ.  Only then will the full joy of heaven and the full torment of hell be revealed.

Without trying to argue with anybody, you can see that these assumptions certainly conflict with many modern Protestant and Evangelical assumptions and beliefs about the death of a Christian.  Certainly there is no "safe in the arms of Jesus" mentality among us that merely because the deceased was a believer in Christ that somehow, because of that fact, his/her sins are immediately forgiven.  Therefore our funeral services contain abundant requests for God to pardon the transgressions and forgive the sins, "both committed in knowledge and ignorance" by the deceased. 

In addition, a funeral to an Orthodox Christian is viewed as a Holy Sacrament.  It is part of the preparation for the next life.  And we believe it makes the transition to the next world easier and more pleasant for the person involved. So, while a funeral for us does admonish the living to a degree, it is viewed primarily and most importantly as offered for the sake of the deceased (without whom, by the way, there would be no funeral at all.)  And the last and most solemn act of an Orthodox funeral (before the actual burial) is the absolution granted to the deceased by the bishop or priest who leads the funeral service.  And we view this absolution as just as effective for the person's sins as it was when he/she was alive in the body.

I don't expect any of you to agree with me.  I respect our differences.  But suffice it to say we have different ideas about the purpose of funerals.

LutherMan

Wow, BB, that description of death sounds horrible...

DCharlton

God Is Here

"God is here! As we your people."

To whom does "your" refer?  Clearly it is to God, but God has just been spoken of in the third person.  It is awkward. 
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

RPG

I almost forgot about that one.  It's on the short of ELW hymns that get automatically nixed when I meet with the worship committee.   No one's asked to include it for a while.  :)

RPG+
The Rev. Ryan P. Gage
Eureka, SD

Donald_Kirchner

Quote from: Charles Austin on September 25, 2015, 04:36:33 PM
You are, of course, right, Fr. Slusser and the knee-jerk response from certain others is just a thoughtless muscle spasm.
Naturally, we proclaim the gospel, uplift the joys of our faith at a funeral. I just don't like the idea that it is an "evangelism" event; namely the pastor thinks: "Hmm. There are people here who probably aren't church members. Got 'em as a captive audience. Maybe I can make this an occasion to set the hook and reel 'em in."

Usual modus operandi... 

To support his outrageous comment he now states that he was responding to what no one hereon has stated or suggested, i.e., a straw man.   ::) 
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it's not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Charles Austin

Perhaps not "stated" or "suggested," Pastor Kirchner, but implied, to be sure.
Iowa-born. ELCA pastor, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis. English major. Elitist snob? Probably.

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Michael Slusser on September 25, 2015, 04:48:39 PM
Quote from: Charles Austin on September 25, 2015, 04:36:33 PM
You are, of course, right, Fr. Slusser and the knee-jerk response from certain others is just a thoughtless muscle spasm.
Naturally, we proclaim the gospel, uplift the joys of our faith at a funeral. I just don't like the idea that it is an "evangelism" event; namely the pastor thinks: "Hmm. There are people here who probably aren't church members. Got 'em as a captive audience. Maybe I can make this an occasion to set the hook and reel 'em in."
I think it would be unfair to accuse them of such a crass sentiment.

May God bless you in your new temporary pastoral responsibility.


I've heard it done. It was the funeral for a high school youth, held in the high school gym because the church building wouldn't hold the crowd. The pastor used it as an opportunity to chastise all who were not going to church because they could die in an accident and they needed to be ready.


In another state and town, when I was doing a funeral for a 19-year-old whose family had some Lutheran connections in the past, I had an adult query me if there was going to be anything like an "altar call." She thought inappropriate, but she'd seen it done at other funerals. I assured that that was not my approach. She thanked me afterwards for what I had done.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Brian Stoffregen

#84
Quote from: DCharlton on September 25, 2015, 05:45:46 PM
God Is Here

"God is here! As we your people."

To whom does "your" refer?  Clearly it is to God, but God has just been spoken of in the third person.  It is awkward.


Note that Psalm 23 makes the same shift. "The Lord is my shepherd." Then there are lines starting with "He" through v. 3, but then vv. 4-5 change: "For you are with me; ... you prepare a table ..., you anoint my head ...." Also the hymns, "The King of Love My Shepherd Is" and "The Lord's My Shepherd" and "Shepherd Me, O God," make the same grammatical transitions.


Psalm 25 jumps back and forth between God as second person, "you," then to third person, "he," then back to "you." The grammar is awkward, but they are scriptures, so we use them.


Quote from: RPG on September 25, 2015, 05:53:49 PMI almost forgot about that one.  It's on the short of ELW hymns that get automatically nixed when I meet with the worship committee.   No one's asked to include it for a while.  :) 


Do you also nix Psalm 23 or 25 when they come up for worship?
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

DCharlton

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on September 25, 2015, 07:26:55 PM
Quote from: DCharlton on September 25, 2015, 05:45:46 PM
God Is Here

"God is here! As we your people."

To whom does "your" refer?  Clearly it is to God, but God has just been spoken of in the third person.  It is awkward.

Note that Psalm 23 makes the same shift. "The Lord is my shepherd." Then there are lines starting with "He" through v. 3, but then vv. 4-5 change: "For you are with me; ... you prepare a table ..., you anoint my head ...." Also the hymns, "The King of Love My Shepherd Is" and "The Lord's My Shepherd" and "Shepherd Me, O God," make the same grammatical transitions.

Psalm 25 jumps back and forth between God as second person, "you," then to third person, "he," then back to "you." The grammar is awkward, but they are scriptures, so we use them.

Please note that "God Is Here" is not Scripture. 
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

George Erdner

I want Amazing Grace played at my funeral, on bagpipes. I don't care what anyone else says on the matter, that song as an instrumental on bagpipes always gives me goose bumps.

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: DCharlton on September 25, 2015, 08:08:51 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on September 25, 2015, 07:26:55 PM
Quote from: DCharlton on September 25, 2015, 05:45:46 PM
God Is Here

"God is here! As we your people."

To whom does "your" refer?  Clearly it is to God, but God has just been spoken of in the third person.  It is awkward.

Note that Psalm 23 makes the same shift. "The Lord is my shepherd." Then there are lines starting with "He" through v. 3, but then vv. 4-5 change: "For you are with me; ... you prepare a table ..., you anoint my head ...." Also the hymns, "The King of Love My Shepherd Is" and "The Lord's My Shepherd" and "Shepherd Me, O God," make the same grammatical transitions.

Psalm 25 jumps back and forth between God as second person, "you," then to third person, "he," then back to "you." The grammar is awkward, but they are scriptures, so we use them.

Please note that "God Is Here" is not Scripture.


But if the objection is over improper grammar, the same objections can be made with some of the psalms.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

DCharlton

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on September 25, 2015, 08:43:02 PM
Quote from: DCharlton on September 25, 2015, 08:08:51 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on September 25, 2015, 07:26:55 PM
Quote from: DCharlton on September 25, 2015, 05:45:46 PM
God Is Here

"God is here! As we your people."

To whom does "your" refer?  Clearly it is to God, but God has just been spoken of in the third person.  It is awkward.

Note that Psalm 23 makes the same shift. "The Lord is my shepherd." Then there are lines starting with "He" through v. 3, but then vv. 4-5 change: "For you are with me; ... you prepare a table ..., you anoint my head ...." Also the hymns, "The King of Love My Shepherd Is" and "The Lord's My Shepherd" and "Shepherd Me, O God," make the same grammatical transitions.

Psalm 25 jumps back and forth between God as second person, "you," then to third person, "he," then back to "you." The grammar is awkward, but they are scriptures, so we use them.

Please note that "God Is Here" is not Scripture.

But if the objection is over improper grammar, the same objections can be made with some of the psalms.

They can be made, but I don't make them.  I am no judge of Hebrew poetry.  As a native English speaker, I do make aesthetic judgments about hymns in English.   
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

RPG

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on September 25, 2015, 07:26:55 PM
Do you also nix Psalm 23 or 25 when they come up for worship?

Since you asked, no.

Actually, I don't appreciate the equation of the Sacraments with "symbols" in the second stanza, so that's why we don't use this one.  The aesthetic aspect that Pr. Charlton noted is secondary to me on this particular hymn, though I do agree with him on that point.  It's awkward.

RPG+
The Rev. Ryan P. Gage
Eureka, SD

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