394. These Things Did Thomas Count as Real

Text Information
First Line: These things did Thomas count as real
Title: These Things Did Thomas Count as Real
Author: Thomas H. Troeger (1983)
Meter: LM
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ;
Topic: Biblical Names & Places: Thomas; Doubt; Easter
Copyright: Text and music © 1984, Oxford University Press, NY
Tune Information
Composer: Carol Doran (1983)
Meter: LM
Key: C Major
Copyright: Text and music © 1984, Oxford University Press, NY

Text Information:

Scripture References:
all st. = John 20:24-29

Thomas H. Troeger (b. Suffern, NY, 1945) says, "I wrote [this] hymn to help people sing their way past doubt and skepticism to belief in the risen Christ." Inspired by the doubting Thomas story (usually read on the Sunday after Easter), Troeger wrote the text during a Lenten week he spent in the White Mountains of New Hampshire in 1983. Both text and tune were published in the Troeger/Carol Doran collection New Hymns for the Lectionary–To Glorify the Makers Name (1986). "These Things Did Thomas Count" is one of the finest of Troeger's texts and indeed of the latter twentieth century.

Stanzas 1 and 2 describe Thomas's view of reality–so close to our own materialistic conception–in fresh language that recalls Christ's crucifixion. Stanza 3 depicts the movement from doubt to faith with that wonderful line, "until his fingers read like braille the markings of the spear and nail." Stanza 4 is a prayer for true faith to receive the Christ, who holds out his hands to us as he did to Thomas.

Following his education at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, and Colgate Rochester Divinity School, New York, Troeger was associate pastor of the Presbyterian Church in New Hartford, New York, from 1970 to 1977. In 1977 he became professor of preaching and parish ministry at his alma mater, now called Colgate Rochester Divinity /Bexley Hall/ Crozer Theological Seminary. Since 1991 he has taught homiletics and communication at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. Troeger is an active leader of workshops and seminars on worship and often does so in association with Carol Doran. Troeger and Doran have published several hymn collections: Open to Glory (1983), New Hymns for the Lectionary (1986), and New Hymns for the Life of the Church (1992), with texts by Troeger and tunes by Doran. Troeger has also written several other books, including Are You Saved: Answers for the Awkward Question (1980) and Creating Fresh Images for Preaching (1982).

Liturgical Use:
Sunday after Easter (like 393); other services that focus on issues of doubt and faith; the text is also useful for individual study or for sermon material.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Carol Ann Doran (b. Philadelphia, PA, 1936) composed the unison tune MERLE MARIE for this text in Rochester, New York, in 1983. The tune is named in honor of Troeger's wife. The symmetrical melody shifts between C major and B-flat major. Doran intended that this shift depict the two realities with which Thomas was struggling. Because this tune may not be easy for many congregations to sing, it would be helpful if organists could provide clear enunciation of the tune on a solo registration. A number of more familiar tunes might make this text more accessible, including BISHOP (227) or TRURO (413). MERLE MARIE works well with this text as a choir anthem.

Doran received a degree in music education from West Chester State University, Pennsylvania, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in organ and church music from the Eastman School of Music, Rochester. She was organist and choir director at the Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church, Rochester (1964-1969), and at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in Penfield, New York (1969-1982). Since 1975 she has taught church music at the Colgate Rochester /Bexley Hall/ Crozer Theological Seminary. Doran has published three collections of her hymn tunes in cooperation with Thomas Troeger (listed above). She has written many articles and has established programs of study for both professional and amateur church musicians. Doran and Troeger frequently conduct workshops together on church music and renewal in worship.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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