If you check out the account of my presentation to the CI gathering this past October, you will notice mention of my concern that the hymnody of the Reformed Church in America, including texts by the Livingstons, George Washington Bethune, Denis Wortman, and Daniel Meeter, may not survive into the next generation. There is very little of it in Lift Up Your Hearts, our new denominational hymnal, and even less in other books. While much is available in older sources and/or on-line, most worship planners do not tend to look beyond the hymnal in their pews. A generation from now, people may not know there ever was a “Searcher and Savior of my soul.” In two generations, “God of the prophets” (especially in its original form) may just be a memory.
If you cannot guess where I am going, read the title of this post. Would it be wise to create a repository of hymnody of the RCA, collecting it somewhere where people could see it and learn from it and maybe make use of bits from time to time (including many hymns that bring a perspective on unique RCA theological perspectives)? If so, what sort of media would we use?
I could see, wherever it would be, some short biographical sketches, along with a bit of analysis of the texts (I am starting to contemplate possible sabbatical projects).
Or would it be best to let theological evolution take its course, and to allow all of this to slip away for a millenia or three?