A boatload of academic, musical, and ecclesiastical obligations has prevented me from posting on URC Psalmody as often as I’d like. In lieu of a full-length article, today I’d like to point you to five interesting and important news items within the Reformed world, especially as they relate to psalmody, music, and the church. Much has happened since our last news digest at the end of January!
- New psalm versifications from a URCNA musician (2/4/13) – A member of a URC in Colorado has begun a “Reformation Psalter Project” with the goal of creating beautiful and appropriate, yet more contemporary, psalmody for congregational singing. Although her work intentionally departs from the style of the blue Psalter Hymnal, it may be a great blessing to newly reforming churches with contemporary music backgrounds which are even now entering the URCNA. (http://www.nequienttroll.com/?page_id=4329)
- Glenda Mathes shares the manifold beauty of the psalms (3/22/13) – Mrs. Glenda Mathes (Covenant URC, Pella, Iowa), who has been blogging on the psalter since 2009 over at Ascribelog, led the United Reformed Church of Wellsburg’s third annual women’s retreat on “Soul Poems: Experiencing God in the Psalms.” Read more in the May 1 issue of Christian Renewal or visit the URC of Wellsburg’s website, http://www.urcwellsburg.org/.
- John Piper’s Desiring God features podcast on “The Role of Psalms in the Life of the Church” (3/24/13) – “Authors on the Line” host Tony Reinke interviewed Old Testament scholar Gordon Wenham about his new book The Psalter Reclaimed: Praying and Praising with the Psalms (Crossway, 2013). Much of what Wenham says won’t be new to those who have grown up in psalm-singing churches, and we might even disagree with some of his statements. But coming from the well-known ministry of John Piper, this podcast will hopefully help to fuel a renewed interest in the psalter—a renewal that is already beginning to take place. (http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/authors-on-the-line/the-role-of-the-psalms-in-the-life-of-the-church)
- URCNA piano major tackles musical topics in Christian Renewal’s new column (4/10/13) – Shannon Murphy, pianist, organist, music teacher, and member of Messiah’s Reformed Fellowship (URCNA) in New York City, has begun a new series on church music in Christian Renewal. Her first column, “Studying music as a Christian” (April 10), relates her personal journey of striving to glorify God through music; the second, “Singing from the heart” (May 1), urges all congregants—even non-musical ones—to sing with all their might unto the Lord. I’m familiar with Shannon’s excellent work and am confident that this will be a superb series. –Christian Renewal, Vol. 31, No. 11.
- Rev. Danny Hyde explains psalm-singing (5/13/13) – Rev. Danny Hyde of the Oceanside URC in California just published an article briefly explaining “Why We Sing Old Testament Psalms.” His evaluation is thorough yet very succinct—perfect for any churchgoer who desires a simple understanding of this Biblical and historic practice. (http://www.oceansideurc.org/2013/05/why-sing-psalms/)
It’s probably going to be a busy summer for psalm-singing, especially in the URCNA, so stay close to URC Psalmody for all the updates!