Hymns and songs have long been the most frequent and characteristic expression of communal beliefs, particularly among faith traditions that lack authoritarian or rigidly codified doctrinal statements. Even among Christian traditions that do include a strong focus on creeds, catechism and liturgy, it is hymnody, more than anything else, that sustains their lay theology. The hymns of Moshe Walsalam Sastriyar (1847-1916) and Sadhu Kochukunju Upadeshi (1883-1945)--both from the Kingdom of Travancore in southwest India--transcend denominational boundaries and have been embraced far beyond their historical communities of origin as a means of articulating faith and spirituality. Against a missionizing backdrop of western-dominated hymnody and theology, these songs and writings from the fringes of colonialism were embraced by local communities and became their chosen expression of faith. As such, they evoked a lay consciousness quite distinct from official theologies of the church. In Walsalam and Kochukunju, along with other Christian writers of their period and culture, we see a unique inter-weaving of local traditions and the global Christian message--one that transformed social and spiritual relationships for individuals and their communities alike. ""A truly original and remarkable accomplishment. This book recovers and writes the scores of hymns that oral tradition has kept for over a century in Kerala, India. The ancient ecclesial principle that the rule of piety determines the content of what is believed (lex orandi, lex credendi) finds here superb and diligent treatment."" --Vitor Westhelle, Professor, Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago ""In this timely study of the history of the contextualization of Christian theology in a southern Indian context, Philip Mathai advances the conversation begun in Comparative Theology. He helps readers to understand the determinative role music plays both in expressing and developing the theology of a faith community. This book deserves careful attention and a wide reading "" --Allen G. Jorgenson, Assistant Dean, Martin Luther University College, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada ""In this wonderfully evocative work, the writer offers us a head-heart-mouth theology of the song, whereby what one believes, feels, and is passionately committed to, bursts forth in a torrent of acclamation and witness, through songs. Situated geographically and using the oeuvre of two prominent lay thinkers-theologians-musicians, this work offers us the richly filigreed melodies of a sing-able theology, that will linger on in our head, heart, and mouth in joyous wonder and praise."" --J. Jayakiran Sebastian, Dean of the Seminary, Professor, United Lutheran Seminary, Gettysburg, Philadelphia in Philip Karimpanamannil Mathai is pastor of Mount Zion, Waterloo, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and is adjunct faculty at Martin Luther University College. Previously, as pastor in the Northern Illinois Synod of the ELCA, he compiled and edited the South Asian hymnal Jeevan Sangeeth for the ELCA Association of Asians and Pacific Islanders. Rev. Mathai's roots are in the Mar Thoma Church, a denomination of the St. Thomas tradition in India.