Hymns are more than beautiful musical compositions; they provide us with a heightened language for praising and speaking to God, all while teaching us theology that reflects both the depth and complexity of Our Lord.
Sacred hymns in our day have given way to “fifth-rate poetry set to fourth-rate music,” as C.S. Lewis once remarked. At times, the music used in worship can make us feel as though the culture is usurping the Church rather than being transfigured by it. There is a clear and present need to resurrect those distinctively different songs with a distinctively different vocabulary for people who want to live distinctive lives as followers of Christ.
In these pages, Fr. George William Rutler introduces and reflects upon dozens of the greatest hymns written from the earliest years of the Church through the Twentieth Century. The text and composition of each hymn is included, as well as inspiring accounts of their authors and composers, fascinating stories and historical events connected with them, and notes on the significant contributions each one made to theology and music.
Fr. Rutler has recovered here a rich musical legacy that will help us to give glory to our God who is Lord of all.