Hymn Blog – September 15, 2019

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 15, 2019
Luke 15:1-10; I Timothy 1:12-17

MV 28 – God of the Bible  (1995)
The text is by Shirley Erena Murray, a New Zealand hymn poet who’s beautiful and thought-provoking texts appear frequently in Voices United (12 texts) and More Voices (6 texts). Murray’s texts have also appeared in more than 100 collections worldwide and have been translated into several languages. She has been an editor with the New Zealand Hymnbook Trust and received international acclaim for her writing, including being made a Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music (2006) and becoming a Member of the NZ Order of Merit (2001) for services to the community through hymn writing. She is the first citizen to be so honoured. Shirley has been the Erik Routley Fellow (PCUSA) in 1996 and her hymns have been included in the worship of the World Council of Churches’ Assemblies. She was named a Fellow of the Hymn Society in 2009.
Composer Tony Alonso is a Catholic composer of contemporary liturgical music. In addition to five published collections of liturgical music with GIA Publications (Chicago, Illinois), Tony’s music appears in several compilations and hymnals throughout North America.  A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in choral conducting, Tony currently serves as the Director of Music for the Campus Ministry Team at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.

VU 360 A Woman and a Coin – The Coin Is Lost  (1980)
American Lutheran pastor Jaroslav Jan Vajda was of Slovak descent.  Vajda began writing poetry at the age of eighteen and began doing translations from Slovak three years later. His original and translated hymn texts have appeared in most denominational hymnals in North America published since 1969, and he received many commissions for hymn texts. He was also the world authority on Slovak hymnody and translated most of the poetry in An Anthology of Slovak Literature (Riverside, CA, 1976).  In the preface to one of Vajda’s hymn collections, his frequent collaborator Carl F. Schalk perceptively identifies three aspects of Vajda’s hymn writing that set his texts apart from others: his ability to identify a new image or to reshape a familiar one, his affinity for less common poetic forms and meters, and his strong theological thrust.  This text is based on the three parables in Luke 15, about the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost (or prodigal) son. The compilers of Voices United chose to use this hymn from a Lutheran hymn book but were not greatly impressed with the Carl Schalk setting.  Fred Graham, consultant to the committee, left the meeting room as the matter was being discussed, and in a matter of an hour or so, returned having composed this lovely setting, LIFE RESTORED.

MV 161 – I Have Called You by Your Name  (1995)
This wonderful hymn of commitment assures us of God’s love and hope for God’s people.  It is inspired by Isaiah 43:1. The text, and its tune, KELLY, were written by Dan Damon.  Damon is an internationally published writer of hymn texts and tunes. He is pastor of First United Methodist Church, Richmond, California and serves as adjunct faculty in church music at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. He is an active member of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada and was made a Fellow of the Hymn Society in 2016.  Dan plays jazz piano in clubs in the San Francisco area.

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