En levande psalmbok? Den svenska psalmboken i nutida funktion
The purpose of this article is to study and illustrate the various ways in which The Swedish Hymnal (Den svenska psalmboken) of 1986 is used today, not only in church but also in culture and society at large.
The Swedish Hymnal is a confessional document of the Church of Sweden and is to be used in church services. However, the Church Assembly (kyrkomötet) has granted permission to sing other hymns and songs as well during services, a possibility that most congregations make use of. The hymnal is used in many other congregational activities too, not just during church services, and it is also used individually, for prayer and worship in private.
In addition, the hymnal continues to fill a function in Swedish culture and society. In primary school, hymns are occasionally used in class because of their status in culture and tradition, while allusions to and travesties of hymns occur in various cultural and commercial contexts. This indicates a living function also outside the sphere of the Church.
The hymnal of 1986, then, serves multiple functions. It can provide a bridge between existential questions and the Christian faith. Hymns can be a means of assimilating Christian faith through song and can create a sense of participation. Much work is done in the Church of Sweden in order to strengthen the role of hymn-singing, so that hymns and the hymnal can remain a vital component of people’s lives, a vademecum, also in the future.
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