I was chatting on FB with my favorite Aunt-in-Law this afternoon when the topic of hymns came up. I have always had an affinity for the old hymns. They really are powerful and have amazing stories of origin. While it wasn’t usually the accompaniment that captured me as I sang hymns at Ryan Baptist Church, I was taken in by the words. Like a lot of people, Amazing Grace was one of my first favorites. While I, unlike the composer, have not taken part in the slave trade I still get what it means to say, “Amazing Grace, How Sweet that Sound that Saved a Wretch Like Me.” I remember as a sixteen year old coming face to face with my own sin and understanding what it meant to be wretched, and I remember what it felt like to be washed over with grace. Yeah, it was amazing.
While working at Falls Creek the summer after I became a Christian I ambled into the bookstore one afternoon and found this CD called Hymns in the House. Now don’t laugh – I know it sounds hokey. It WAS the 90s! The CD is a compilation of several favorite hymns put to dance music, sang by Crystal Lewis. I loved it! I finally had some cool music for these songs that I loved!
Over the years I have come to love all kinds of worship music, but I don’t believe that contemporary worship music has to replace the old hymns. I have been priveledged to be a part of some great churches that have ministered with all kinds of music. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen some churches that struggled, literally, to their death in a power struggle between traditional and contemporary music. Really though, I see that the issues with music were just a shadow of the real issue – a power struggle between young and old.
Over the years, I have loved seeing how God has used music to minister to me and others. How a song can cut to the heart of a matter, can say exactly what you wanted to but couldn’t find the right words, can usher you into worship . . .
So here are some of my favorites and a bit of the lyrics . . . enjoy!
*Rock of Ages – “Rock of Ages, Cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee . . .Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to the cross I cling; Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless look to Thee for grace; Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Savior, or I die.
*It is Well – “My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”
*Abide With Me – “Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me. ”
*Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing – “O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.”
*When I Survey the Wondrous Cross –
“Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”