Hear the Angels Sing
Hymn text collection
Editors Richard Leach, David Schaap
Released October 2005
Catalog no. 125-325 (Soft-cover, stay-flat binding, 80 pp.)
Price $15.00 (U.S.)
Read the introduction by David Schaap
"The texts are worth reading themselves as you glimpse the way angels are seen through the eyes of a poet.… This unique selection of hymns about angels should be in everyone's library. There is much to share with singers of all ages." --The Hymn, Winter 2006
"This impeccably produced volume will repay careful study and it will surely bring a richness to our understanding of the 'songs of praise the angels sang.'" --The Bulletin of The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland, April 2006
Never before has there been a collection of hymns devoted to the work of angels. Hear the Angels Sing is a collection of hymns and songs about those otherworldly creatures we know so little about, yet who play an important role in Christian faith and in popular culture. Angels appear in the Bible in a number of passages, but scripture gives us no definitive picture of what the role of angels is, and what they are, other than servants of God.
"Singing about angels gives us a better understanding of the role they play in scripture and in our lives," said David Schaap, president of Selah. "There are, of course, a number of songs that are devoted to the angels we sing about at Christmas, those bearers of great news, but many more that describe the other roles angels have played in biblical and contemporary history."
Angels have captured the imagination of many poets over the centuries, and the hymns included here give us a glimpse of the way angels are seen through the poet’s eyes. The hymns describe their historical presence and contemporary role in living the Christian life. These hymns are arranged into hymns about angels as speakers of words, singers of songs, bringers of comfort, wielders of power, and servants of God.
Hear the Angels Sing includes 47 hymns and songs written over the last 400 years, and approximately two-thirds have been written in the last several decades.
Includes hymn texts and tunes by living authors and composers
Patricia Blaze Clark
Carson P. Cooman
Carl P. Daw., Jr.
Alfred V. Fedak
Hal H. Hopson
David W. Music
Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr.
J. Michael Thompson
Jaroslav J. Vajda
David Ashley White
Rae E. Whitney
Carlton R. Young
Introduction by David Schaap
I have been fascinated with angels since I was a child. Like many people, I wonder where they are, what they do, and if they are indeed watching over me. I have sung songs about angels (some included in this collection) all my life and have sung them to my children as well. Angels have become a part of life for most of us, as they have become part of our popular culture.
We do not know much about angels, even through the few scripture passages that describe them. Most of what we think we know is speculation, informed thoughts, or fantasy. Yet they are present in our thoughts, in our culture, and in our song. Poets such as Milton, Blake, Longfellow, Browning, and Shakespeare have used the imagery of angels. Important figures in our Christian history such as St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, John of Damascus, John Calvin, and St. John Chrysostom have all grappled with the role of angels. John of Damascus explains some of this mystery:
An angel is an intelligent essence, always in motion.
It has free will, is incorporeal, serves God, and has been
bestowed with immortality. Only the Creator understands
its true nature.
Even without truly understanding the true nature of angels, we find their existence comforting. Singing about angels and their role in Christian history and our lives today is also comforting. It brings us closer to God, and helps us understand the Christian life more fully. There is a clear association in the Bible with angels and singing, and so it is only fitting that we have presented here a collection of hymns and songs about angels.
Angels are most clearly associated in the popular mindset with the celebration of Christmas, and this part of angelic history is one of the important sections of this collection. Not all the Christmas “angel” hymns are included, but enough to remind you of the others you have in memory. There are many other roles that angels have. In scripture they speak when people are beyond the limits of what they can understand (at the birth of Christ, at the tomb on Easter morning). They bring comfort to those who need it, they worship God endlessly in heaven, and they are the servants of God. All of these roles are addressed in one way or another through the contents of this collection.
There are new hymns and old spirituals included here. Hymns and songs you have sung all your life, and others that are first printed in this collection. Read them, sing them, and make yourself familiar with the angels and behold them frequently in spirit; for without being seen, they are present with you. (St. Francis de Sales)
I would add to that, in all our life, we must Hear the Angels Sing.
David P. Schaap
president, Selah Publishing Co., Inc.