Wren, Brian: In God Rejoice!
Hymns & Psalms 2009–2012
If ordering from USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand please contact Hope Publishing.
This, the ninth of a series of books begun in 1983, contains Brian Wren’s 36 most recent hymns (2009 to 2012). It is nicely presented and laid out in a user-friendly way. The hymns are divided into five thematic sections: Jesus from Cradle to Cross; Easter Hymns; Church and Mission; Praise; and Metrical Psalms. This last section, rooted in (though not bound by) the Old Testament, is often influenced by Isaac Watts and will be of more use to some than others; it concludes with a tremendous rendering of Psalm 8; a paean of praise which all will love, set to a stirring tune.
Each section is prefaced with a single page introduction listing the contents and, in some instances, giving an interesting insight into Brian Wren’s theology and thinking which provides food for contemplation. Each hymn is printed in words format with all the necessary information for inclusion in an order of worship. Every hymn is also printed with full score music for accompaniment interlined with the words. The book is slightly larger than A5, and there are various useful indexes.
The tunes range from ancient to modern, some very familiar, including Candler (better known as Ye Banks and Braes). A number are of a metre where alternative tunes are available. Those tunes which are new vary in ease of use; some will be readily picked up, others would prove challenging for occasional use in a small congregation but could be used as music group items.
These are hymns which need to be read as a whole and require thought. The words are chosen with care and notable as much for those not used as those included e.g.: ‘Christ, untameably alive,/ breathe your life upon us – / Compass, Governor and Guide, / with us and beyond us,/ Sky and Sunlight, / spreading Vine./ Spring of Living Water,/ Truth and Wisdom, Way and Word,/ here, and then hereafter.’ These hymns will be useful in worship as either sung or read pieces, and will also prove an invaluable resource for private devotion.
Robert Canham, Reform