I love hymns. I also love the way Othniel plays our hymns at FCC!
Ever since I was a young boy the first thing I did when I went to church on Sunday morning was to check the bulletin for the hymns we were going to sing that day. Depending on the selections I was either really jazzed or a trifle disappointed. Some hymns were fun to sing and others seemed just dull. The selection process was always mysterious. Who picked the hymns? Was it by committee (God forbid) was it mandated by denominational edict (God forbid) or was it a more “organic” process?
I have my favorite hymns and so do you. I love the “old hymns” (as long as the theology is sound) and the newer hymns (as long as the theology is sound). I love praise music, gospel, rock, and classical. Say it with me…….”as long as the theology….”
What I failed to understand when I was a boy was that all hymns/songs have the possibility to teach. They teach about our faith and our common story. Hopefully they teach healthy theology and spirituality. As a pastor I ponder over hymn selection each week. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I don’t. People can be incredibly rude about hymns. Pick one hymn too often and you hear about it. Pick one that is challenging to sing and you hear about it. Pick too much from one hymnal and not another………..well, you get the idea!
What always befuddled me (and still does today) is why some people don’t even crack open the hymnbook. Maybe they are not comfortable singing. That’s okay. (Even though, as Bennett Burnham says, every note you contribute is one note we wouldn’t have otherwise) Maybe you don’t read music. That’s okay, too. But why not at least open the hymnal and read along? Participate in the moment. There is good stuff here.
Don’t be left out during a hymn sing. Please….read the words. Open the book. Lyrics in hymns are powerful teaching tools.
How about this one:
Let the dreams we dream be larger, than we’ve ever dreamed before; Let the dream of Christ be in us, open every door.
Draw the circle wide. Draw it wider still. Let this be our song, no one stands alone, standing side by side, Draw the circle wide.
Sing. Read along. Let our story sink into your spirit through music and lyrics!