Monday, July 16, 2007

John came home this evening with a little more "schwag" for me. Apparently, it's not swag, but rather schwag, and I've been mispronouncing it all this time and therefore misleading some of you. Sorry about that. Anyway, his boss collected some cds at the ICRS last week which I am now the proud owner of. The one I've been listening to all evening is WOW Hymns. It's a combination of modern and classic hymns from today's top artists, and it is phenomenal.

I was eating dinner back in February with John and his boss, and we were having some sort of discussion about hymns and modern worship songs, and I made some flippant comment that I could live without hymns because they aren't really all that sacred to me. It's true that I prefer modern worship, but I really need to think before I speak so carelessly from now on, because I haven't been able to stop crying as I've listened to the words of these hymns tonight. The lyrics are timeless, and moving, and extremely sacred. Not sure what in the world I was thinking when those words fell from my lips earlier this year.

These are my five most favorite hymns...ones I never get tired of hearing:

1. Be Thou My Vision
2. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
3. Like A River Glorious
4. It Is Well With My Soul
5. My Jesus, I Love Thee

It's so hard to stop at just five because I love so many of them, but these are truly my absolute favorites.

As I was listening to this cd tonight, I was unprepared for the flood of memories attached to some of the hymns that are most familiar to me. I can still see Mrs. Grace Hall, a dear old saint, grinning from ear to ear every time we would sing "Grace, Grace, God's Grace" ("Grace That is Greater"). I always wondered if she was smiling so big because she knew that she was Grace and that she was God's and that song was like a little love note from Him. I can also see a little 7-year-old girl named Shelby, whose hand would shoot straight up in the air asking to sing "How Great Thou Art" every single Sunday, then singing her little 7-year-old heart out. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Or when the widow of a prominent man stood up at his funeral when the organist started playing "Victory in Jesus", and the entire room stood with her, weeping, and singing, and knowing that much-loved man was with Jesus at that very moment. Or when Richard Hughes, our music minister, would make us all lift onto our tiptoes every time we sang the word lifted in "Love Lifted Me". I can't sing that song today without thinking of him and "lifting". Oh, I just have too many memories to list!

Maybe I thought I could live without hymns, but I'm very sure that I was wrong. Hymns are so much a part of who I am today.

What about you, friends? Do you have a favorite? Or two...or five?


Lindsay said...

Hi Mer...

Glad to hear your being blest by both hymns and contemporary music these days.

My favorites are:
* How Great Though Art
* Rock of Ages (James Ward version)
* Moment by Moment I'm Kept in His Love.

Well, tis almost 5 am and brain is a bit foggy. Here is the link to listen to James Ward versions...

Lindsay said...

One more thing... I'm going to Mt. Bethel Church after attending SS at 2nd. David Pucik (Don's son) is preaching there. Music... Heavenly Highway. Great harmonizing and enlarging my musical tastes.

Angie said...

What a great post, Mer. I love modern praise and worship music as well as the hymns. I love the new hymns too, like How Deep the Father's Love for Us. Some of my favorite old hymns though are He Hideth My Soul; Holy, Holy, Holy; It is Well with My Soul; Great is Thy Faithfulness; Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. OK, I'll stop there. I especially love to sing them acapella and hear everyone singing parts. Beautiful.

Here in Mozambique we sing lots of choruses but also sing hymns, they just lose their effect with me because they are in Portuguese. I am looking forward to worshipping in English again next year. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the music here very much, I just just miss "home" sometimes.

Diane@Diane's Place said...

I've been a song leader in a Southern Baptist church for almost 30 years. I have more favorites than I could possibly list here.

I do love the Heavenly Highway hymnal that another commenter mentioned. I love the old songs and hymns, as well as the newer ones and praise songs.

Hmmm..."The Old Rugged Cross", "O, I Want to See Him", "Jesus Hold My Hand", "Amazing Grace", "Lord, I'm Coming Home", "When All Of God's Singers Get Home" and on and on and on.

Of course when I lead I have to sing the melody, but I love to sing alto or soprano harmony. I love to sing in a choir with all parts represented.

And I know all the ones Angie mentioned, as well as "How Great Thou Art" and "Rock of Ages" and all the ones you mentioned. :-)

Love and hugs,


Trish said...

Mere, I'm with you. When we started attending a church that sings modern praise & worship songs, I thought I would never miss the old hymns. I've had the same learning experience you had. I can't list any other hymns than what have already been listed ~ my brain is too full of the beautiful lyrics and notes of those that are already mentioned!


Leah Belle said...

Oh goodness. I LOVE hymns. They are what I grew up on and learned to read music with. I am a little sad that we use the powerpoint instead of hymn books in church, because my children aren't learning how to read music that way. I also love the contemporary choruses, but I don't want to completely throw out the hymns. I want my children to know them as well the choruses. My favorite hymns are "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" and "It is Well With My Soul."
My husband and I like to "argue" about this. He prefers contemporary songs with band. I don't dislike those, but he's more prone to "throw out" the hymns than I want him to be.:)

Robin Green said...

I didn't know Wow had a hymn's CD. I will definitely be getting it as I just told my hubby that I wanted a cd with good hymn. I'm going to check it out. Thanks for the info. I love hymns--Amazing Grace, Victory in Jesus are a couple of my favorites--Oh--and Power in the Blood and Have a Little Talk with Jesus.

Kecia said...

My fav five:
Amazing Grace--Stuart family lullaby
To God Be the Glory (Great things He hath done)
How Great Thou Art
It Is Well With My Soul
Great is Thy Faithfulness--I can see my friend Kim singing it in front of all the ladies in our church in Idaho in her definitely not professional singing voice with tears streaming down her face as she waited for God to give her husband a job and sell their house--and God was faithful. Is faithful. Will always be faithful.

Mike said he loves Victory in Jesus and Saved, Saved, Saved (I don't know the title--you know which one we mean?)

I asked Jessica what her favorite hymn was and she said, "All things are possible." (the praise chorus)
Maybe her generation won't make a distinction between the two and will just worship God!

Holly said...

Been singing Grace, Grace all day today...isn't that funny? I grew up on hymns and love the richness of the lyrics, but I also love choruses and other worship songs. The text is generally what grabs me and I love some soulful singing!

Praying for you, Friend! Praying for your week--stay cool in this crazy hot weather!
Love in Him,