I started writing hymn texts in 2009. I’d been writing poems and song parodies for years, but it wasn’t until I was a pastor without a congregation that I tried to write a hymn text. I’d written a hymn parody in response to apostasy within the Lutheran Church, and someone made a comment that such a serious topic deserved a serious response instead of a mocking response. So I wrote my first original hymn text, “Lord Jesus Christ, Preserve Your Church.” It’s not a particularly exciting or profound text, but it was at least adequate and proclaimed the truth.
Eleven years later, I’ve written over one-hundred texts. Some of them are better than others, but all of them proclaim the truth of the Word of God in a simple way. I like to think I’ve grown as a writer over the past ten years. And while confidence has never been my strong suit, I believe God has given me this gift, and I believe I’m not supposed to hide it under a bushel. I’ve shared my hymn texts with you here on my blog. Now I’m sharing it with the world, at least in a small way.
Today marks the release of my first compilation of hymn texts, Rejoice, O Zion! Sing! With 102 hymn texts addressing the readings from every Sunday of the One-Year Lectionary as it is found in Lutheran Service Book (and numerous readings from the Three-Year Lectionary), as well as saint days, events in the life of the Church, and other occasions, readers—and, of course, singers—will find words to express the joy that have in the salvation won for them by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I was blessed that the Reverend William Weedon, former Director of Worship for the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, provided the foreword for this collection. In it he states, “I would argue that what sets a good hymn apart from the pack is that, while it certainly contains both factors (poetry and teaching), it actually is composed out of a sense of awe, and invites those it encounters into that awe. Hymns that succeed most profoundly allow us to catch a glimpse of some marvel of God in Christ and to join the Church in bowing before it, and in giving God thanks and praise in the Holy Spirit. This royal way is what Pr. Kornacki has excelled at in his hymns collected into this present volume.”
For those who purchase this volume, permission is given to reproduce the texts and any original tunes (with one exception) for family or congregational use. I like to think I’m not a narcissist, but I would like to share this gift God has given me with the Church. I pray and hope that those who purchase Rejoice, O Zion! Sing! will find it useful as a tool for prayer, worship, and catechesis.
Rejoice, O Zion! Sing! is available now in print and Kindle editions.