New Christian Folk Music

I’ve had this philosophical conviction for years… How to define it in a nutshell, I’m not sure. It comprises several things:

  • Children should sing folk music; it’s good for them just like bedtime stories.
  • Children should know the stories of the Old Testament and they should sing them, too. Take this, for example.
  • Christians should trace their heritage to those stories just like Paul did, and draw spiritual understanding from them.
  • Children can understand complex concepts if they’re taught.
  • Song and poetry help you remember important things.
  • I should write music for children.

To that end I’ve finally unearthed an old poem I wrote before I came to college, tweaked it some, and chosen just a few of the many verses I wrote over several months. Thursday night I wrote a melody for it while we played poker, passing it back and forth with Mike for his editorial assistance. (I married the right man!) So now I’m working on my second children’s choir anthem, and I intend it to be a teaching tool, musically and vocally and spiritually. I am so thankful for the education I received at St. Olaf which is enabling me to make wise decisions about settings like this.

Here’s the poem. Maybe if I finish it in time I can submit it to Chorister’s Guild for review along with the anthem I wrote at Christmas. That one reads “An Easter Carol (A New Christmas Carol). For Bradford, Benjamin, Nathaniel, Grace, Sadie, Sophie, and Patience.” I plan for this one to read, “A New Folk Song. For the children of Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church.”

My soul, forget not all that road
Which you have walked with saints of old.
Though yet unborn you saw each place
Where God poured out on them His grace.

Remember Abram’s faithful quest
To find the promised heav’nly rest.
You with him left your home on earth
To seek a land of lasting worth.

Remember Jacob’s wrestling fight
With unknown Name and unseen Light.
Your name was changed by brighter grace
When God appeared with human face.

Remember Egypt’s heavy hand
And your escape o’er sea and sand.
You, too, were bound by Satan’s chains;
You, too, met God on Sinai’s plains.

Remember Israel’s triumph calls
For you, too, walked through water’s walls.
With them, now standing on new banks,
Shout to your God a song of thanks.

Remember Israel’s cry for food:
“Look, can He show us ev’ry good?”
You, too, were thankless for the bread,
And grumbling, asked for quail instead.

Remember when in former years
Your fathers ate the bread of tears.
You too, now eat while waiting long
To sing the pilgrim’s marching song.

My soul, forget not all that road
Which you have walked with saints of old.
Though yet unborn you saw each place
Where God poured out on them His grace.

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