Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Love Hymns

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?


The Midland Agrarian said...

I too love hymns. You got several of my favorites on your list:}, especially,

Come thou fount
A Mighty Fortress

I generally dislike "praise music"
When I first came to Grace Anglican, I was dismayed to see two young fellows with guitars. However, our pastor is careful in making musical selections that are Christ centered and Cross focused, and ensuring that the music is worship and not entertainment.
The result is that the guitarists play selections like "Come Thou Fount" and "There is a Fountain", with a mix of carefully chosen new ones ("Beautiful Scandalous night", "On Christ the solid Rock I stand")

Funny thing is, I have actually come to look forward to the one or two guitar hymns we do every service as much as the traditional hymns we sing to the piano.

A happy and blessed Holy Week and Easter to you and yours.


Tnfarmgirl said...

I love hymns and miss them - they were a large part of how my Father wooed me to Him.

Would you share the names of the cd's you purchased?



Danman said...


One is a two CD set called "Hymns 4 Worship - Amazing Grace". It a more contemporary collection of hymns, meaning the songs are sung by folks you'd hear on Christian radio. But it's still a nice mix.

The other is "More Than 50 Most Loved Hymns" by the London Phil and Chorus. It is a two CD set as well. It's deffinitely more choral, but it's also orchestral. It's really nice and has some wonderful songs.

I purchased both on Amazon.

Hope that helps.

robert said...

Wish I had a proverbial nickel for the many times I've heard a similar sad complaint from hymn-lovers whose church has virtually abandoned the hymn book. Along with being moved by many hymns that has moved me to tears too! Christians are being robbed of their heritage.

Do you have the 2-CD set called "More Than 50 Most Loved Hymns"? (It was put out in 2004 by Liberty Records, a division of Capital Records.) I highly recommend it. And just recently, I bought "Come Ye Faithful," a collection of hymns and gospel songs sung by the late John Charles Thomas. He happens to be my favourite singer, so that has been a treat. Maybe wouldn't appeal to you as much, I don't know.

Maybe you need to be pro-active about getting more hymns in your life. What about taking your family (and a few interested friends, maybe) to a seniors home, and singing hymns for them? I've done it many times, and I assure you, you'll find an enthusiastic audience there! If it worked out, it might be a ministry you could have once a month.

For your interest, my daily blog, Wordwise Hymns posts things that happened in hymn history on each day. You might enjoy it.