Word spread quickly on Thursday when published copies of Lift Up Your Hearts: Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, the Christian Reformed Church's first hymnal in more than 20 years, arrived earlier than expected.
To celebrate the early arrival, a flash mob was organized in the atrium of the CRC's denominational office in Grand Rapids, Mich.
An impromptu hymn sing, including CRC staff and members of the CRC Board of Trustees, then broke out. The Board of Trustees is meeting through Friday in the building.
As the voices rang out, sounds praise filled the air.
“This is a hymnal of the church for the church,” said Rev. Joyce Borger, editor of the hymnal and Worship and Music Editor at Faith Alive, which put together and published the hymnal following extensive research.
Faith Alive also provides resources to the Reformed Church in America (RCA), which was involved in creating and compiling the hymnal.
Faith Alive conducted extensive research that included focus groups made up of RCA and CRC leaders, other denominational church leaders, worship leaders, and congregants of all ages.
In doing the research, Faith Alive found a continued strength in hymn singing, as well as the need to provide a wider variety of songs for use by all generations. Keeping the classics intact was also important.
Most hymnals currently in use in the RCA and CRC denominations, the Psalter Hymnal, Rejoice in the Lord, Hymns, Psalms and Spiritual Songs, for example, were released in the late 1980s and the early 1990s.
“So much has changed in the past 20 years,” said Borger. “With more focus on social justice issues, creation care, authentic emotions and global awareness, along with greater ethnic diversity, we are a different church.
“Songs need to be added to the existing repertoire of our churches to reflect these changes, while maintaining the timeless classics we’ve grown to know and love.”
Lift Up Your Hearts builds on the existing repertoire currently in use by the RCA and CRC by including many of the same songs but providing a breadth of music and variety of genres from classic hymns to contemporary world music.
It is divided into two main sections. The first section reflects the story of redemption from creation to the new creation and includes Christ’s life and the Christian Year.
The second section follows the traditional order of worship featuring songs for the opening of worship through the concluding blessing.
In addition to the hardcover pew edition of Lift Up Your Hearts, digital editions of the complete hymnal
and music and words for projection will be available at the end of August.
A spiral edition of the complete hymnal is due to release later in May.
“Our ultimate desire is that this collection be deep enough to give voice to our praises and laments, be both sung prayer and proclamation, and play a significant role in the faith formation of Reformed Christians old and young alike,” said Borger.