Reflection on a Church Hymn

Theology is a Church activity, not merely an academic discipline, and Christian doctrine is Church doctrine. The goal of this assignment is to help you draw connections between the categories of theology and actual Christian practices — between the doctrine we have been learning in class, and the Christian practice that goes on in the worshiping Church.

Your assignment is to write a theological meditation on a hymn sung in Christian worship. Appreciate and/or critique the song of your choice at the Christian worship service, even the chapel service, of your choice, drawing on course materials as applicable to make your points.

Please include the lyrics with your paper so I can follow along. If possible, include the name of the author and the date it was written.

Obviously, a big part of this assignment is simply finding and using the right song. Choose it carefully!

If you want to use a 'contemporary' 'praise chorus' or 'worship song,' I recommend that you run it by me first. Many recent songs used in churches are theologically thin, and sometimes downright wrong. I have nothing against recent worship music; I do have something against poor worship music. The old songs are still with us not because older things are always better, but because they have stood the test of time — a test new songs have not yet passed.

You may find it helpful to consult a hymnal. You should consider using a hymnal from your own denomination. Most are arranged according to the Christian year, and therefore according to the story of Jesus, as well as other theological and practical themes.

Here are other tips to selecting a good song and analyzing it well:

Look at:

The song's use at a particular liturgical occasion (either a particular holiday or a particular place in the Sunday service). How might this be theologically significant?

Look for:

Please keep your paper three pages, double-spaced, and follow the directions in my handout for writing papers. If you are using Harvey, focus on the chapter you have had the most trouble with so far. Remember, I want to see proper style, clear writing, a thorough answer to the question, and explicit citations of course materials.

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