Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Non-Negotiable Hymns

There are certain hymns we sing every year on a certain day. For example, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" is every Easter. Not Saturday night at Easter Vigil, not the next week for Thomas Sunday. But Easter morning. Same thing for "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today."

Every Christmas Eve we get "Silent Night" whether we want it or not, because some people really really want it. Every Christmas is "Joy to the World"; I betcha most people would be upset if they came to church and didn't sing that one. I had thought "To Shepherds As They Watched by Night" was one of those non-negotiable Christmas-morning hymns here, but it shockingly went missing this year. It's probably nigh onto impossible to celebrate All Saints without "Behold a Host" and "For All the Saints," but some of the other top-choices might be skipped every now and then. And what's the likelihood that a Lutheran congregation would celebrate Reformation without singing "A Mighty Fortress"?

So what are the non-negotiables at your church? I'm not asking what your favorites are, but what hymns seem to be part of the Easter service or Christmas service without the pastor deciding to include them (because their spot on the hymn-board is already a foregone conclusion).


  1. Easter: certainly Jesus Christ Is Risen Today and I Know That My Redeemer Lives. I think Christ has Arisen! Alleluia! has nearly entered that category.

    Christmas Eve - likewise Silent Night, but also From Heaven Above and All My Heart.

    Christmas Day - O Come all Ye Faithful MUST be entrance hymn and we have to sing Angels We Have Heard on High.

    Epiphany without O Morning Star is unthinkable.

    Transfiguration without O Wondrous Type! is unthinkable.

    Palm Sunday without: All Glory, Laud and Honor at entrance and No Tramp and Hosanna, Loud Hosanna and closing with Ride On, Ride on - unthinkable.

    Pentecost MUST have Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord.

  2. Epiphany! Of course! We've never skipped "O Morning Star."

    Now that you mention it, I think "O Come, All Ye Faithful" is always sung as a distribution hymn on Christmas morning here.

    We didn't sing "All Glory, Laud, and Honor" or "Hosanna, Loud Hosanna" last week. Though not distressing, it felt a bit odd, as it was unthinkable to have a Palm Sunday without them in our previous congregation.

  3. From the Cantor's lips to my fingers . . . .

    First Sunday in Advent: Savior of the Nations, Come

    John the Baptist Sunday: On Jordan's Bank, the Baptist's Cry

    Fourth Sunday in Advent: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

    Lessons & Carols (which we do on Christmas Eve): Once in Royal David's City (beginning) and O Come All Ye Faithful (after last reading) and Joy to the World (recessional)

    Candlelight Communion: Hark the Herald Angels Sing & Silent Night

    Christmas Day: Of the Father's Love Begotten

    New Year's Eve: O Rejoice Ye Christians Loudly and Now Greet the Swiftly Changing Year

    Epiphany: O Morning Star, Brightest and Best, We Three Kings

    Baptism of Our Lord: To Jordan's River Came Our Lord

    Transfiguration: Jesus on the Mountain Peak; O Wondrous Type; 'Tis Good Lord to Be Here (end of service)

    First Sunday in Lent: A Mighty Fortress

    Fourth Sunday in Lent: God Loved the World So That He Gave

    Fifth Sunday in Lent: My Song is Love Unknown

    Palm Sunday: All Glory, Laud and Honor; Hosanna, Loud Hosanna; No Tramp of Soldiers' Marching Feet

    Maundy Thursday: O Lord We Praise Thee; What is This Bread?

    Good Friday: A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth; Sing, My Tongue, the Glorious Battle; O Sacred Head, Now Wounded; Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted

    Tenebrae: In Silent Pain the Eternal Son

    Easter Vigil: First Song of Isaiah (not a hymn, but always sung outside as the Paschal candle is lit); All Ye Works of God Bless the Lord; Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds

    Easter: Jesus Christ is Risen Today; Come Ye Faithful Raise the Strain; I Know that My Redeemer Lives; Christ Has Arisen, Alleluia

    Second Sunday of Easter: O Sons and Daughters of the King

    Third Sunday: With High Delight

    Fourth Sunday: The King of Love My Shepherd Is; The Lord's My Shepherd, I'll Not Want; Our Paschal Lamb that Sets Us Free

    Ascension: A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing; Alabare

    Pentecost: Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord; O Holy Spirit, Enter In; Choir always sings Veni, Creator Spiritus

    Trinity Sunday: Holy, Holy, Holy; Holy God, We Praise Your Name; Halle, Halle for the Alleluia Verse

    Mother's Day: Now Thank We All Our God ("Who from our mother's arms has blessed us on our way")

    Reformation: A Mighty Fortress; Salvation Unto Us Has Come

    All Saints': For All the Saints; Jerusalem, My Happy Home

    Christ the King: Crown Him With Many Crowns; Wake, Awake, For Night is Flying

    Thanksgiving: Sing to the Lord of Harvest; Give Thanks; We Gather Together

    Probably more info than you wanted, but there you go! Phillip says these are the things that people expect, that have become so customary that he would hear about it if one of them were missing

  4. (Am I showing my age??) I find it interesting that you both mentioned hymns that have been available only since LSB came out. I guess I would have thought that five years would be too new to have determined that it's a permanent annual fixture. Apparently not! :-)

  5. Hmmm, interesting. I wonder if some of them were in the hymnal supplement prior to LSB? Or maybe they were some that we previously got copyright permission for and printed into the bulletin.

  6. Thought of one more: Go, My Children for Confirmation.

  7. This is off topic, but it's also non-negotiable that much of the congregation cries during For All the Saints. The only hymn that gets me more choked up than that one is Lord Thee I Love with All My Heart. I don't think I've ever sung the last stanza of that hymn. Can't do it.

  8. We'll tag-team it, Meghan. I usually have a harder time with the second stanza of LTILWAMH than with the last.