Sunday, September 15, 2013

Create in me a clean heart

During my brief period as an LCMS Lutheran, I grew to love The Lutheran Hymnal (1941). Like Hymnal 1940, the hymnal was a brilliant integration of many streams of music that served faithful Christians for decades during the postwar era, until revisionists took ahold of the liturgy and “improved” it.

One thing to admire about TLH was the simplicity of the service music: there were no alternative variants, but a standard text and tune at every point in the service. For example, morning prayer (which our parish did semi-monthly) comprised pp. 5-14 of TLH.

On pp. 12-13 was a simple 17th century tune that followed the sermon, with the text “Create in me a clean heart”:
This morning, I was reminded of that tune when a parishioner read this passage from Psalm 51:
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
(I’ve shown the KJV text available in 1941, but this morning we used the ESV).

The tune is no longer part of the LCMS liturgy with the Lutheran Service Book (2006). However, as a sop to the blue-haired faithful, it is reprinted (with the same harmonization) as Hymn #956.

TLH didn’t offer credits for service music, but LSB helpfully notes
Text: Psalm 51:10-12
Tune: Johann Georg Winer, 1583-1651, adapt.: setting, The Lutheran Hymnal, 1941
Schaffe in Mir, Gott
Our gradual used this text, but a much more contemporary setting attributed to Keith Green. I was able to find a few versions on YouTube, but the official Keith Green version seems to be more plodding and schmalzy than what our praise band did. Still, if they had asked me, I’d request the Winer version.

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