Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Five of My Favorite Hymns

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My musical taste is wide and varied, but I confess, I do love hymns.  There's something majestic and soul-stirring about the great old hymns.  I believe they lend themselves to worship in a very real way.

Like many Christians, I'm concerned that the hymns are being lost in the avalanche of modern praise songs.  While I have nothing against those, I believe we still need to be singing the hymns.  Children need to be familiar with them.

Yes, the language can sometimes be a bit archaic, but it's worth it to delve into the meanings.

(Joni Eareckson Tada has written a book the encourages parents to introduce the great hymns of the faith to their children.  You may want to check out Hymns for a Kid's Heart if you're interested.)

Here are five of my favorite hymns...

And Can it Be?

This is definitely my favorite hymn of all time.  The words, by John Wesley's brother, Charles Wesley, paint a vivid picture of a prisoner set free.

"Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature's night;
Thine eye diffused a quick'ning ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free;
I rose, went forth and followed Thee."

In  The English Hymn: A Critical and Historical Study, J.R. Watsons
 said of Wesley:

“Charles Wesley's hymns are forceful because they contain so many words which are physical: for him the life of a Christian was to be experienced in the body as well as in the soul.” 
Here's a pretty arrangement of the song.

Great is Thy Faithfulness

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Here's a beautiful rendition of this stirring hymn.

Be Thou My Vision

This hymn can claim honors as being one of the oldest hymns in existence, as its roots go all they way back to 6th century Ireland.

It has a haunting, Celtic feel to it that I love.  The words are also wonderful:

"Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all."

Here's one of the many beautiful versions you can find on YouTube.

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation

There's just something about this hymn that I love, especially to sing with a congregation.  I love the tune, but also the words:

"Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,
  the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy
  health and salvation!
    All ye who hear,
Now to His temple draw near;
Sing now in glad adoration!"

Here's a really, really beautiful a cappella version.

It is Well with My Soul

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Last on this list, but definitely not least! This confident assertion of faith in God, no matter what your circumstances, is a song every Christian should know (in my humble opinion.)

I love lifting my voice in worship with this hymn along with a congregation at church.  Few things are more soul-stirring!

The lyrics by Horatio Spafford are even more meaningful if you read the story behind them

Check out this beautiful rendition by David Phelps...

This is by no means an exhaustive list of my favorite hymns. That would make for a very lengthy blog post.  However, that's just of a few of my favorites.

Do you have any favorite hymns?  Please let me know in my comments section.

Also, if you aren't familiar with hymns, I encourage you to give them a chance.  Step out of your box for a bit, and I believe you'll be blessed.
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