Recently, my wife and I have been feeling like something's been missing. We attend a rather large church and for the most part, hymns have been laid aside for contemporary worship songs. Once in awhile we'll get a remake of a hymn, and that's nice. But we feel an emptiness there. Maybe we're getting old?
Don't get me wrong, we like the new choruses, etc. That's one reason we chose to attend our church, we enjoyed the worship style. But still...
A few weeks ago, my wife was talking about this, and went and got one of the several hymnbooks I keep on hand. I was sitting at the counter reading and she stood opposite me thumbing through the songs. I looked up and her eyes were filled with tears as she read the words that had, unbeknown to us, grown so dear to us. Recently, we've been in a few situations where we've heard or been able to sing some hymns, and I find myself choking up as well.
You see, we both grew up on hymns. As children, we sang them because that's what you do in church. But now, as adults, we understand and value the messages, theology, encouragement, and truth these old songs embody. These are characteristics often missing from newer worship choruses. Oh the choruses are encouraging at times, but really, do any of them hold a candle to "Oh Worship the King"?
To combat this dearth of hymns in our lives, I purchased two CD's of hymn music. I'm quite pleased with my choices. My kids even seem to like them. My son, Eric, now 6, said today, "I like this music, it's calm and smoothing". Yes, 'smoothing'.
I do prefer the true hymns over the gospel songs or testimony songs, but they're all good. Some of my favorites? Immortal, Invisible; Come Thou Fount; This is My Father's World; Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven; Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above; Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past; A Mighty Fortress; To God Be the Glory; Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.... to name but a few.
Hymns offer words that can bring peace and comfort, strength and encouragement. I mentioned to my wife the other day that it took us years of singing them to begin to understand them and learn them by heart. We've got some catching up to do with our kids if they're to learn and appreciate them someday.
So what are your favorites?