Cruse, Jonathan Landry
Hymnody has long captured my heart and mind. Even from a very early age I was awed at the ability of hymn writers to convey profound spiritual insight in a concise, beautiful, and memorable way. I also found the structure and style of hymns a helpful aid in memorization, and they were then, and continue to be, a staple in my devotional life.
While always finding hymnody to be personally enriching, I never wrote these words solely for myself- from the start the intention has been to aid the church in her sung praise. In this way, I view writing hymns as an overflow of my pastoral ministry. Indeed, the majority of the church's hymn writers have been pastors, whose careful study of Scripture and deep love for God's people has poured from their pen into poetry. Many of my hymns have come from this same context. And so while Hymns of Devotion is first and foremost written to the glory of God, it is also written as a gift for the church.
"Devotion" means consecration, love, and loyalty. This is the posture we must take as we come to God in worship. We are giving ourselves over to Him-literally devoting our heart, soul, mind, and strength to Him. Indeed, when we worship we are forsaking all others and declaring that Christ has the first place in our hearts. That is what makes the title appropriate for the collection: as these biblically-faithful, Christ-centered words are sung, it is a means for us to strengthen our allegiance to Him. It is my prayer that these hymns will be used by God's people for that very reason.
-Jonathan Landry Cruse
Jonathan Landry Cruse (MDiv, Westminster Seminary California) is the pastor of Community Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo, MI, where re resides with his wife Kerri Ann and son Jacob. His sacred poetry has appeared in multiple hymnals and publications, and he is the author of several articles and books on worship and the Christian life.
"Jonathan Cruse's hymns employ music and lyrics that congregations may actually use to bring unity to praise, and they are impeccably theological. With these, a congregation could unite and rediscover that lost art of exalting God's majesty and glory. As a pastor, while I am satisfied with the host of proven hymns, these are some of the best steps in the right direction in my lifetime."
- David W. Hall, Sr. Minister, Midway Presbyterian Church, Powder Springs, GA. Co-editor, On Reforming Worship
"Hymns of Devotion is a treasury of fresh ways to praise our great God, whose mercies are new every morning. The lyrics are both simple and elegant in style. Their content is centered on Christ and steeped in the grace of the gospel. Their tome expresses wonder, joy, and thanksgiving. The words are joined with tunes that are, at the same time, both singable (and learnable by congregations) and moving, drawing not only our thoughts but also our affections to the triune God of glory."
- Dennis E. Johnson, Professor Emeritus of Practical Theology, Westminster Seminary California
"Scripture-filled and theologically sound, this collection of hymns is appropriate for both public worship and private devotions, pointing us to Christ and all that is in Him"
- Simonetta Carr, Author, Christian Biographies for Young Reader
"Cruse has created theologically informed, passionately penned new hymns in the spirit and on the shoulders of the hymn writers of the centuries. May these new hymns have a wide circulation, and Christ's body the church have fresh Psalm-like lyrics to offer back to our Lord in her sung worship."
- Douglas Bond, Author, New Reformation Hymns, The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts, the Mr. Pipes Series, and many others