Yesterday a middle-aged couple came up to me after the Divine Service to compliment me on the music at Bethany. One of our choir members, Elise B. Calhoon, had sung parts of the liturgy and provided some of the attendant music, and so I was expecting to discuss her beautiful singing. However, the wife instead focused on the hymnody. They reported that they were not Lutheran, and had come for the baptism held at the service. They had visited several other Lutheran churches with their relatives in the past but had never liked the music. But she thought the hymns we sang were great!
What did we sing? "O Holy Spirit, Enter In" (Entrance Hymn), "If Christ Himself Be For Me" (all 10 stanzas, Hymn of the Day); "Have No Fear, Little Flock" (Hymn before the Rite of Holy Baptism); "I Know My Faith Is Founded" (Offertory Hymn); "Saints, See the Cloud of Witnesses" (just the last two stanzas as a closing hymn).
Let's see: 3 chorales, and 2 modern hymns that are probably unique to Lutheran hymnals. Folks, our hymnody isn't a problem. It's a blessisng! People can sing our hymnody - provided, like any hymnody, that it be ably led. And there are no better texts to be found!