Monday, March 1, 2010

Puzzling over hymns

It seems that the rainy season is starting early this year in central Kenya. They say the rains usually start around the first of April, but it started raining a few days ago, and seems to be gradually gaining intensity. First there was rain overnight. Then sprinkles through the day. And today are downpours. I can only imagine what a mess this red clay earth becomes when it is soaked.

Dr. Quill arrived last night, and this morning he and I flew from Nairobi to Kisumu, and then drove to Matongo Lutheran Theological College. Kisumu is on Lake Victoria and is northwest of Nairobi. Last year when I made this trip everything was so new that it was hard to take in many details. This time I was more aware of mountains in the distance as we drove to Matongo, and more aware of how much of the drive was uphill. The vegetation is lush and gorgeous.

I was able to do a little searching in Nairobi, and bought a current Kenyan Roman Catholic hymnal - not the pew edition but the edition with music in it. We're still puzzled by the lack of Kenyan hymns, and are wondering if the RC church might have some, since it is a large, well-established denomination. Now I need one of the Kenyans to look at this hymnal with me. The music style is definitely Kenyan, but it looks to me like music written in the last few years. Although I can't read the words, I can see lots of repetition and very short verses with refrains. We're hoping for some solid hymns that have been around for awhile and are known at least somewhat among the Lutherans.

The answer most of the pastors here give, when asked about the hymns people sing, is that they use the hymns missionaries have brought. There certainly is indigenous music, like what I heard a Maasai tribe sing, but I'm told we wouldn't be interested in it (theologically) for a Lutheran hymnbook.

No comments:

Post a Comment