May 18, 2009

Ten Hymns

I am participating in Semicolon's Hymn Project. The rules said any song suitable for singing in church, but I kept my list to the old standbys because they are the ones that touch me most deeply. There is something to be said for standing the test of time. Each of these has.

Here are my choices.

1. How Great Thou Art Carl Boberg

This hymn, most famously linked to George Shea and the Billy Graham Crusades, brings to me visions of God’s abundance. My family has been lucky enough to travel the world. I have trekked through the jungles of northern Thailand, traveled the coast of southern Chile, and stood on the Normandy coast of France. Yet, when I think of this song, I remember standing on the Oregon coast with the waves of the Pacific crashing below me and the giant redwood trees protecting my back. At that moment this song had meaning for me. “When I in awesome wonder, consider all the works thy hands have made. How Great Thou Art.” Alleluia. Amen.

Here is Carrie Underwood singing this hymn at the Grand Ole Opry.

2. Jesus Loves Me Anna B. Warner

I love that this simple statement of faith is the first song many children learn. So simple, yet so true and powerful. In most moments of our lives, we should need no more than the words of this song. “Jesus love me, this I know.” Why? “For the Bible tells me so.”

How beautiful to hear children sing this song.

3. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing Charles Wesley

Call it doctrinal, call it whatever you want. I would not like to attend a church that does not include this hymn in its Christmas services. I love how this hymn relates directly to one of my favorite Bible verses, Luke 2:10. “Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”

It pains me how often this message is forgotten … that the joy of a baby is for “All people.”

There is nothing better than this song in a great cathedral.

4. Christ the Lord Is Risen Today Charles Wesley

Again, for me, it wouldn’t be Easter without this song. It isn’t a secret, I can’t sing well. I have a pretty bad singing voice. I used to pray for God to change that. I just wanted to sing for him. I know my song sounds beautiful to him, but I have always wanted to serve him in song. On Easter Sunday, I am never shy about doing just that. I sing with my heart to my God. “Where, O death is now thy sting? Where thy victory, O grave?”

And now the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

5. It is Well With My Soul Horatio Spafford

“Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, It is well with my soul.” On the days that I miss him, I sing this song. I remember a man who lost his five children yet he did not lose his faith. Oh, God! Grant me his faith.

The great David Phelps sings only to the Lord.

6. Just As I Am Charlotte Elliot

I had a hard time deciding between this one and Amazing Grace for my list. They both speak to the grace that saves us; yet, while Amazing Grace may be one of the best known hymns in the world, this one touches me more personally. The third verse speaks to me so plainly, “Just as I am, though tossed about With many a conflict many a doubt, Fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.” And he takes me like I am, faults and failures. Because he doesn’t see them. He sees my redeemed self.

Here is a beautiful a cappella version.

7. There is Power in the Blood Lewis E. Jones

How did he redeem us? Why does Christ see my redeemed self? This song pretty much sums it up. “There is power in the blood of the lamb.”

This is how this song should be sung!

8. All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name Edward Perronet

As I get to the end of the list I struggle with my choices. There are so many beautiful hymns to choose from. The first five were easily chosen. The next two required a little more thought. These last three choices were difficult. I have hymns of grace and forgiveness. I have hymns of love. I had to add a hymn of power. For he is powerful. If faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains, what can the faith of a church or a nation accomplish.

I’ll admit it, I am no fan of our current President. (I wasn’t a huge fan of our last President either, but I liked him better.) I see our country rushing headlong away from the Christian values our ancestors brought with them. I have stood in the Dutch church they left to avoid the persecution of an oppressive society. I imagine them singing this song to bolster their faith on their journey. I wonder, if all people of Faith would sing this daily and call upon the power of the Lord, what great things we could accomplish.

I love this version.

(My other choices here were Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty, Crown Him with Many Crowns, and A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.)

9. The Star-Spangled Banner Francis Scott Key

Yes, this is a hymn. “Phillipians 3:20 - For our Citizenship is in Heaven.” Did you know the besides being an attorney, Francis Scott Key was an evangelical Christian who taught Bible studies and witnessed constantly. Of course, “By the Dawn’s Early Light,” seeing the flag still flying he would praise his Lord. The last stanza, which we never sing, follows:

Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must when our cause is just.
And this be our motto : “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

There is no video to this, but the music is amazing. Sandi Patty is superb.

10. Nearer, My God, to Thee Sarah Adams

This is the hymn I would like them to sing at my funeral. It is a simple statement of where I will be … “Nearer my God to Thee.”

And this is how I would like it sung.

11. I Can Only Imagine Mercy Me

I know the rules said ten; but I had to add an extra. It is one of the few modern praise songs that I enjoy. I have come to love the words..

Surrounded by your glory, What will my heart feel.
Will I dance for you Jesus, Or in awe of you be still.
Will I stand in your presence, To my knees will I fall.
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all.
I can only imagine.

What will you do at that moment. I don’t know, but I believe I will shout and sing to the Lord in a beautiful voice. Luke 19:40 - “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” How could I not sing in worship to the Lord.

When I was young I did not understand the overwhelming desire of so many of my fellow church members to get to heaven. They yearned for a closeness with their God that I did not understand. I feel at great peace here. I feel close to my God in prayer. We all have struggles on this earth, but it is God’s creation and we should enjoy what he has given us for this time. Knowing that in the next time we will be with Him.

After the death of my someone very close to me and then my mentor/pastor, I began to understand a little better this yearning for heaven. I still want to live fully on earth …

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave
with the intention of arriving safely
in an attractive and well preserved body,
But rather to skid in sideways,
body thoroughly used up,
totally worn out and screaming
"WOO HOO what a ride!"

However, when I get to Heaven I know that standing next to Jesus will be my son. I believe Jesus will say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” My son will say, “I love you mom.” I can’t wait for that day.

The video is a tribute to Team Hoyt. I encourage you to read more about them. They are some of my personal heroes.

One of the greatest resources for information on hymns comes from this book. It was a gift to my husband.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for moments of worship this morning as I watched the YouTube you posted.