I’m beginning to wonder why congregations only sing one doxology throughout the year, year after year. Is it because of habit? Because in Protestant churches that sing “Praise God from whom all blessings flow” that’s how it’s done? Or because that’s one more thing the minister and music director have to think about?
I admit, as the minister at First Universalist Southold, it never dawned on me to change their doxology or even switch it up now and then. Once as a lay worship leader in Saratoga, we did it for a seventh principle service, but we made a big deal about the change for the one week.
Yet day by day, I’m discovering beautiful lyrics (and even ones I’m not in love with but still appreciate) that, while not appropriate for every week, would be great for some weeks. Like this one, another anonymous verse:
In greening lands begins the song
which deep in human hearts is strong.
In cheerful strains your voices raise,
to fill the whole spring world with praise!
I admit that this might be insensitive to use right now, given the fires out west and the lack of green in hurricane-ravaged areas. But that’s not always the case, and what a lovely springtime doxology to sing. This one feels right to me in Old Hundredth, although I admit I’m probably not giving Vom Himmel Hoch enough credit, as I’m not as familiar with it.
Anyway. Maybe it’s time we think about the doxology in our services in a different way – even if we never let the liturgical element go, maybe we switch up the words?