Celebrating the Heidelberg Catechism in Song

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When pastor Jeff Brouwer put together a sermon series commemorating the 450th anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism, he approached Jonathan Posthuma to help by writing a song.

Posthuma rose to the challenge, and on a Sunday morning in September, the congregation of Bethel Christian Reformed Church in Waupun, Wisc., sang “Our Only Comfort.”

“I wrote this song very quickly,” Posthuma said, explaining that playing with the different chord progressions and melodies came quite naturally to him. “The trick,” he said, was figuring out “how to write something that’s both a question and an answer . . . you need to have both.”

Posthuma also faced the challenge of mixing new elements with the traditional, asking himself, How can I be faithful to the text, to the words that everyone knows and has memorized, but yet be faithful to the music?

Such questions are no stranger to Posthuma, who is currently studying composition in a master’s degree program. He is constantly writing and thinking of new songs for many purposes—hymns, choral songs, band, and more.

Posthuma’s love for creating music and crafting liturgy has led him to value the intersection of the two. For that reason he believes that “something like the Heidelberg Catechism needs to be brought to our culture.”

Posthuma says he would love to work with the CRC and develop music that reflects the rich history. “The CRC is my tradition. The Heidelberg Catechism is my tradition . . . the whole history is my tradition and it inspires my music—the music that I write for anything.”

Posthuma is looking into options for publishing his work.

About the Author

Jessica Oosterhouse is the Banner’s regional news correspondent for classes Lake Superior, Minnkota, and Wisconsin.