Last Sunday, we attended the 11 am service at Rainier Avenue Church, a Free Methodist congregation in Seattle’s Rainier Valley. They were kind enough to lend me a copy of their hymnal, which I’ve been reading mainly during my commute this week. It’s not a tremendously notable or innovative or unusual hymnal; aside from a higher concentration of Wesley Brothers’ hymns, it could just as well have come from Hope Publishing. However, like virtually every hymnal I’ve ever seen, it has a few items in it that I’ve never run across elsewhere and that I like, or would like to see more widely known and sung. Here are three such:
Nos. 162-168 are seven texts (with five interchangeable 220.127.116.11 tunes) by Thomas Benson Pollock, dated 1870, each dealing with one of Christ’s 7 last words from the cross:
- Jesus, in thy dying woes
- Jesus, pitying the sighs
- Jesus, loving to the end
- Jesus, whelmed in fears unknown
- Jesus, in thy thirst and pain
- Jesus, all our ransom paid
- Jesus, all thy labor vast
The tunes are SONG 13 (CANTERBURY), SWEDISH LITANY, LITANY OF THE PASSION, LEBBAEUS, and HERVEY’S LITANY.
Sleep sweetly, wee Jesus
This (no. 132) is a Brazilian folk Christmas carol I’ve never seen before. Tune name REPOUSO TRANQUILO. ©1969 by the translator, Lois Kempton.
Father, let me dedicate
This text (no. 541, by Lawrence Tuttiett, 1864) is innovatively set to the gagaku-mode tune TŌKYŌ (Isao Koizumi, 1958). The only text I’ve ever seen set to this tune is せかいの友と (“Sekai no tomo to“) (“Here, O Lord, thy servants gather“), for which the tune was composed, but it works very well with this older English text IMHO. They have it categorized, incorrectly, under “NATION” rather than under the appropriate (and adjacent) “THE NEW YEAR”. The Cyber Hymnal™ gives two other tunes, but I like this one. It’s not a text I’d previously encountered.