As I mentioned about the music this week, Joanne and I contributed some music with a distinctly more modern sound - Joanne singing with a more modern, pop style and me playing a jazz piano arrangement. Both drew some positive comments, which we're always glad to hear. Feedback from the congregation does factor into music programming, because we always hope to provide a variety of musical sources so that the Gospel message can be carried to listeners of all kinds of backgrounds.
There were other examples of contemporary texts and tunes during the service, however, that may have gone overlooked. In fact, with the exception of the postlude (from a Handel organ concerto), the entire service was drawn from American sources post-1850:
"Faith of Our Fathers" was written in 1874 and played the funeral of Franklin Roosevelt.
"This is My Father's World" is an early 20th century hymn about the beauty of upstate New York.
"Stand up, Stand up for Jesus" was based on a YMCA sermon of the late 1850s.
"Eternal Father Strong to Save" is often referred to as "The Navy Hymn." It originated in the Civil War era, and it was played as part of the funeral ceremonies for both JFK and FDR.
To a casual listener, there isn't a great deal of difference between some of the hymns of Luther's era and the hymns of the American hymn writing tradition of the late 19th century. Why is that exactly? For starters, the four-part chorale is both familiar and highly singable for most Lutherans. In other words, stylistic similarities make it easier to sing 900 different hymns (notice that different hymns every Sunday don't trouble us the way that a new liturgy every week would).
I encourage you to read the entire page of the hymnal, including the dates of composition, composers, and writers. Try to learn more about them - by reading here or elsewhere and by asking questions. A broader awareness can only deepen the meaning of the hymns, and it also can remind us that superficial similarities can be deceiving.