I love the great hymns of old.
Masterpieces. Magnetic harmonies.
Water gushing out like clarion calls to the Great Amen and enfolding from hearts bent low beneath a million tons of reverence. I grew up listening to these… twelve-part harmonies to Oh For A Thousand Tongues To Sing… Organ blaring to Crown Him With Many Crowns. And the words linger on my tongue – even now envisioned in this wandering mind stands resolute the image of King Jesus, and no amount of crowns can do Him justice.
And then every organ player disappeared off the face of the earth. Hymnals gathered dust and eventually found their way into cardboard boxes. The church moved on and those who cared left for smaller congregations. The organ got sold and the hymnals still sit like Andy’s forgotten toys in some dark attic.
I will openly admit - the Church desperately needed to keep up with the times. Overhead projectors and felt-boards truly needed to go. Drums and lights needed to be recognized as legitimate instruments of worship. I mean, every generation of the church needs to find their way in contextualizing the Gospel to the lost, but did we really need to trash the hymns?
All of a sudden instead of chewing on a verse of Come Thou Fount I was handed happy-meal-anthems – one line to be sung Fourteen THOUSAND times at the top of your lungs. You know them and I won’t offend you by listing them. But I also won’t pretend like I don’t love them… Some of my most intimate encounters with God while worshipping Him have been in the midst of meditating on a single thought “You Never Let Go” or “I Belong To You.” They are searing truths that burn their insignia into the flesh of my heart.
I’ve noticed in the last few years, however, a growing hunger for Hymns within the Church. And to my giddy-church-boy surprise Musicians have been responding with a multitudinous mass of re-made hymns being punched out and poured into some very thirsty hearts. They don’t sound exactly the same as when Grandma used to sing them, but they carry with them the same potency, same depth, same reverence for the Almighty.
To name just a few bands doing something new with old hymns:
- Page CXVI
- Ascend The Hill
- Kings Kaleidoscope
This may be weird but here’s one last thought: If anyone is looking for a good devotional book, go to your church and ask for a hymnal… and if your church doesn’t have one – then go two blocks to the next church and ask them. Cozy up to a hymn, memorize it, pray it, sing it, live it.
What’s your favorite hymn?
What’s your favorite re-made hymn?
How often does your church sing hymns?