Saturday, October 10, 2009

Shouldn't we stand? LSB 602, The Gifts Christ Freely Gives

This evening I was asked to play LSB 602, "The Gifts Christ Freely Gives" in a worship setting.  In previous hymnals, the pastor or organist (or both) would decide on the trinitarian nature of the final stanza, then the organist would play an interlude, and the congregation would stand.

With the introduction of Lutheran Service Book, though, the trinitarian final verses have triangles next to them, which takes out some of the guesswork.

The structure of the hymn is this:
  • Stanza 1: Gifts are for the Church
  • Stanza 2: Gifts in Baptism
  • Stanza 3: Gifts in Absolution
  • Stanza 4: Gifts in God's Word
  • Stanza 5: Gifts in the Eucharist
  • Stanza 6: Glory, praise and thanks to the triune God
The author of the text is Kantor Richard Resch of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN.  It would seem that he intended for the final verse to be trinitarian/doxological in nature.  Yet there is no triangle next to the last stanza.

Had we been using HS98, LW or TLH, I would have gone ahead and played the interlude and if the congregation observed this tradition, they would stand.  However, there was no triangle.  I am wondering if the hymnal committee specified the three-in-one names be detailed as "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" instead of simply "triune God."

Back when Hymnal Supplement 98 was in use, I once cued the trinitarian stanza for "Now Greet the Swiftly Changing Year."  I was told that this was not a stanza in which we would stand because it was prayer-like in nature and not praise-like in nature.  But alas, in LSB this stanza got the the triangle and "The Gifts" did not.

Lets discuss this here first, then I will attempt to contact a member of the hymnal committee or perhaps even Kantor Resch.


  1. Seminarian Josh Osbun from Ft Wayne had a review of this hymn and the doxological verse issue on his blog Holy Holy Hymnody. This is what he says:

    "And I have it on good authority from the author himself that stanza 6 was to have one of the little triangles next to it (signifying a stanza of Trinitarian doxology). I remember him talking about that in class one day. What puzzled me, though, was when I looked in my hymnal there was a triangle next to the stanza."

    By the way, good job on the blog!

  2. Hey, Chris, thanks for looking this up, and thanks for the affirmation.

    Seminarian Osbun continues "...My beloved wife penciled one in, and she did such a good job of it that it took me a few moments to realize that it didn't belong."

    BTW, a warm welcome to Chris, who some of you may know as Lutheran Kantor

  3. I was able to email Kantor Resch, and he confirmed that this was intended to be a doxological stanza, but does not remember handling it in hymnody meetings.

    I will try to reach another member of the committee for comment, although that may be complicated if the matter was handled at the subcommittee level.

    This one might remain a mystery! If you observe the triangles in LSB, just put a note in the bulletin to stand. OR, get out the Bic pens and organize a triangle party in the sanctuary. Of course, coffee and cookies will be served in the church basement :)


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