We Are One in Christ:
Hymns, Paraphrases, and Translations
by Gracia Grindal
Hymn text collection
Author Gracia Grindal
Released May 1996
Catalog no. 125-405 (Soft-cover, 128 pp.)
Price $15.00 (U.S.)
Grindal's hymns, paraphrases, and translations are sometimes startling, sometimes challenging, but there is a simplicity and clarity in her work and a fresh use of the language that gives us insight into scripture and the Christian faith.
"In Gracia Grindal's first collection, We Are One in Christ, we see a contrast to Leach in both style and philosophy. When she was drawn by poetry toward hymnody, she did not attempt new theological or original poetic expressions, but rather, apprenticed herself to the psalmist. In rephrasing David, she presents texts which carry the depth of human strivings and failings, longings, and disappointments.
She has succeeded in her paraphrases, capturing well the emotions of the psalmist and other scriptural poets, faithfully unadorned. As in Hebrew and some Greek poetry, she uses balanced phrases in her poetic technique. Her meters are the most varied of the four poets considered here, and there is variety in the rhythms among various lines, though corresponding lines of each stanza scan well. Her Psalm 23, "O God, you are my guide," (p. 2), would challenge composers with its meter of 18.104.22.168. 22.214.171.124 and a refrain of 6.5. Tunesmiths would also be delighted in setting many of her texts where the emotive feel of corresponding lines of each verse is the same or similar. In these, the shape of the melody would apply to every verse.
Translating hymns must be the hardest discipline in hymnody, probably exceeding the strictures and technique of the original hymnographer. One must replicate the tenor of the composition, as well as the sense. Because I am unfamiliar with the original languages, I am unqualified to critique her translations, per se, but, if she is as faithful to the text as she is in her paraphrases, they are surely well done. Numerous congregations have come to love "Thy holy wings, O Savior (p. 90). Many will be disappointed that her fine translations in the Lutheran Book of Worship are not included in this collection.
Her original hymns show a devotion to Jesus that is direct, honest, and fulfilling. Many of us discovered Grindal in her monograph Lessons in Hymn Writing. Here we discover, through her sacred verse, that this poetry teacher is true to her lessons." The Hymn, January 1998
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