Week 12: Writing I
How Firm A Foundation
Text: Anonymous, 1787
- Published in A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors, Intended As an Appendix to Dr. Watts’s Psalms and Hymns by John Rippon, with the author only indicated as “K–”
- Most scholars believe this refers to Richard Keen, music director in the London church where Rippon was pastor
- The hymn was almost instantly popular, especially in America where it was re-published just three years later
Tune: Anonymous, 1832
- First included in A Compilation of Genuine Church Music by Joseph Funk and later in Southern Harmony and The Sacred Harp
- Funk was born in Lancaster County, PA, into a German Mennonite family that moved to the Shenandoah Valley, VA, soon after
- Working as both a farmer and schoolteacher, Funk published music collections on the side and his Compilation is in its 24th revision and still in use by Mennonites today
- Although originally listed as Protection, then Sincerity and Solicitude, the tune is now known as Foundation
- Also sometimes sung to Adeste Fideles (tune for “O Come All Ye Faithful”)
Fittingly for a hymn about scripture, the text quotes a number of bible verses off the bat, including Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 43:2, Deuteronomy 31:6, and Hebrews 13:5. How closely does the hymn text follow these passages?
What rhetorical devices do you see used in the text that help keep it strong and memorable?
As a class, brainstorm potential topics to use in writing a hymn together. Consider the following questions to generate ideas:
- What advice would you give to a new Christian, from experience in your own faith journey?
- What unique challenges does the church face today (both locally and globally)?
- What lessons or ideas do you think are often underappreciated by other Christians?
- What occasions or themes does the church currently lack quality music for?