Hymn #176: “Silence! Frenzied, Unclean Spirit”

            Thomas H. Troeger (b. 1945) based this text, written in 1984, on the story of Jesus exorcising a demon.  Troeger goes beyond the biblical story to explore a modern-day understanding of demons, ending with a prayer for wholeness for all people.

            Thomas H. Troeger seeks in many of his hymn texts to vividly portray a biblical story, then to explore the story’s implications for the present day.  This type of biblical exegesis is enabled by Troeger’s experience as an ordained minister and his gift for poetic expression.

            Carol Doran (b. 1936) composed this melody to convey the two contrasting moods presented by the text.  The first half exhibits the struggle of the demon and the strength that Christ brought to its exorcism, while the second section suggests Christ’s assurance of healing.  The tune is called AUTHORITY.

            Carol Doran serves as associate professor of worship and pastoral music at Colgate Rochester Divinity School, Bexley Hall, Crozer Theological Seminary in Rochester, New York.  These, she has developed a Master of Arts in Pastoral Music program to train professional church musicians.