Warning: Possible inflammatory post.
Those who have the hymnal, have you noticed first of all that Steven Starke has more hymns in LSB than Luther? Didn’t Luther write a few hundred hymns? I like Steven Starke’s texts, but I wish they were set to more familiar tunes.
Secondly, have you noticed the severe lack of hymns dealing with staunch Reformation themes, such as the one by Luther: “O, Lord look down from heaven behold” (TLH 260). Look, I know many will say, “Don’t criticize the hymnal, it is great!” “Get over it! Deal with it!” Well, sorry to disappoint you. I don’t just “get over it.” Every hymnal has its weakness, and every hymnal has its strengths. This hymnal’s strengths are in its almost over-abundance of daily prayer options, its lay-out, and the Divine Services. Its weakness is definitely the hymnody. I’m not a staunch TLH Devotee either. I learned to love many of the LW hymns through seminary chapel and Kantorei, as well as Kantor Reuning’s Lutheran Worship class. It was LW that taught me my first lessons in Matins and Vespers. But this hymnal’s weakness is its hymnody, I’m sorry to say. I know not every hymn can be included that has ever been written. But when you consider some of the hymns that are in it, and some of the ones that didn’t make the cut…
For example, I don’t remember seeing the absolutely HORRIBLE hymn “Were you there when they crucified my Lord” in LW or TLH. This is an addition that weakens the hymnody of this service book. There is not one word of Gospel in this hymn. Not even Law, really. Same thing with that deplorable hymn, “Now the Silence” (LSB 910). A bunch of images, and that’s it. “Now the pow’r, Now the vessel brimmed for pouring, Now the Body Now the blood” does not proclaim or teach anything at all, whatsoever, even in the least bit. It’s not even as good as some of the “praise music” I’ve heard. And that’s not saying a lot.
Anyway, as I said, there are strong points in this hymnal. I love the options for daily prayer, the nice selection of collects and prayers, the expanded Psalter, the addition of some good hymns, the Divine Services. But that hymnody is the Church’s song, and take away from the Church’s lips good, solid hymns about the Holy Ministry, and add hymns that should never be sung, and that’s unfortunate. Lord help us ever to retain, the Catechism’s doctrine plain, as Luther taught the Word of Truth, in simple style to tender youth.”
By the way, in the last post I mentioned the small section on Ordination/Installation. How many hymns do you think fall under the “Mission/Witness” section? Eighteen! “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi” my friends.