"Would I have actually Answered once You Called"by Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr.;The belief We Sing, No. 2137

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Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr.

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Would I have answered as soon as you called,“Come, follow, monitor me!”?Would ns at once have left behindboth work and also family?Or would certainly the old, familiar roundhave held me by its claimand preserved the spark within my heartfrom bursting into flame?*

Herman G. Stuempfle, Jr. (1923-2007) was among the many prolific and also theologically kind hymn writers in the United claims at the turn of the twenty-first century.

Originally indigenous Clarion, Pennsylvania, he was educated in ~ Susquehanna college (A.B.), Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg (B.D.), Union Theological Seminary, new York (S.T.M.), and Southern California institution of Theology in ~ Claremont (Th.D.). After offer parishes in Pennsylvania and Maryland in between 1947 to 1959, the Rev. Stuempfle joined the staff of the board of Social goals of the joined Lutheran Church in America in 1959. In 1962, he ended up being Professor of Preaching in ~ Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, a place he kept until his retirement in 1989. Dr. Stuempfle also served the seminary as Dean indigenous 1971-1976, and as chairman from 1976-1989. That was energetic in much of his retirement in Gettysburg, continuing to teach, preach, command workshops and also conferences, and also write hymns. He passed away on march 13, 2007 after a long fight with ALS.

“Would I have actually answered as soon as you called” employs the poetic machine of rhetorical question properly throughout the hymn to engage the singer through Christ’s invite to discipleship. Plenty of hymns created in the an initial person refer an emotionally relationship in between the singer and Christ. The Rev. Stuempfle’s hymn, however, moves the singers beyond sentimental piety to the challenge of deep Christian commitment.

Throughout the 4 stanzas, Dr. Steumpfle interweaves biblical allusions through first-person experience. Stanza one, though personal in that is application, anchors the singer in the Scripture and also the mandate of Christ, “Follow me.” Stanza two referrals “ancient Galilee,” the location of Christ’s ministry, when still arguing that the singer might have favored to “hurr ago where home and also comfort drew” fairly than following Christ.

The test of discipleship becomes an ext intense in stanza three as the scene transforms to the crucifixion and also the upset crowds yelling, “Crucify!” Again, the singer is posed v the hard question: “. . . Would certainly I too have slipped away/ and left you there alone”?

The non-saw soul-searching inquiries of the an initial three stanzas give way to the realization we battle to know what our response might it is in if us are directly addressed through the Savior:O Christ, i cannot find my heartthrough all its tangled ways,nor deserve to I with a details mindmy steadfastness appraise.

We deserve to only pray, follow to the hymn writer, that as soon as we hear the call to discipleship, Christ will “give strength beyond own to monitor faithfully.”

Two years before his death, throughout the slow, but inevitable breakthrough of ALS, the Rev. Stuempfle reflected on this hymn to this writer: “"Would I have followed" is more subjective than most of mine texts. The was triggered by reading and reflecting on note 1:16-20. Mark’s short narrative is favor a winter that insists ~ above self-examination. Does the protection net the comfort and privilege most of us reap keep united state from do the immediate and total response of those 4 fishermen? are we ready to salary what Bonhoeffer phone call ‘the price of discipleship?’ Such inquiries cannot be answered in the abstract. Answers show up only as soon as our life circumstances carry us to moment of decision.”

Dr. Stuempfle was the author of several publications on preaching and also theology consisting of Theological and Biblical Perspectives on the Laity (1973), Preaching in the angry Community (1973), Preaching Law and also Gospel (1978), and Images for Ministry: Perspectives of a Seminary President (1995). His collections of hymn messages are published by GIA Publications, Inc., and also include The Word go Forth (1993), Redeeming the Time (1997), Awake our Hearts to Praise (2000), and also Wondrous Love Has referred to as Us (2006). His hymn texts have also been published by the Hymn society in the united States and Canada and are found in countless hymnals and also choral works. Dr. Stuempfle was honored as a fellow of The Hymn culture in the unified States and Canada, the Society’s greatest honor, in 2004 because that his contribute to singing writing.

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His obituary, released by The Hymn society states: “Stuempfle is among the most honored and respected the hymn writers of the 20th and also 21st Centuries. His 4 volumes of singing texts, released by GIA Publications, include songs of devotion and also reflection; dancing and also jubilation; sorrow, wonder, and delight.” Herman Stuempfle advocated the relationship in between preaching and hymn writing: “hymns space the sung testimony to God’s mighty action of grace and judgment.” To compose hymns was for him a “fundamental vocation to interact the Gospel.”

C. Michael Hawn is University differentiated Professor of Church Music, Perkins school of Theology, SMU.