Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My Grandparent's Hymnbook

I was raised in a church where every Sunday morning a gray-haired gentleman would get up and say, "Please take your hymnal and turn with me to hymn number 325. We'll sing stanzas 1, 2 and 4. A Mighty Fortress." My dad eventually became that gray-haired man. Therefore, the singing of hymns and some more than others, is close to my heart and has been a large part of my growing in the faith. Unless you grew up in a similar church (see Gregg's post on a similar topic), this may not mean much.

First, I must say that I remember at Ripley Blvd. Baptist Church, when they purchased a slew of light blue "chorus books". This was the beginning of the turn to what many worship services are today. I must also say that there are many Sunday mornings when the Holy Spirit is faithful and meets me through the singing of a good G, C, D chord progression praise chorus. Rather than focus on the lack of theology in the current worship music or performance standards of today's worship leader, I'll focus this post on the importance of the retention of hymnody.

For the past 350+ years, we have sung a certain type of church music. That music has grown and changed, but stayed mostly to a consistent character. This is where countless generations learned to sing four part harmony. This is where many musicians learned to read music and follow a musical score. Not only that, but there is something to be said for having a consistent worship music that brings a community together. This is what the book of Psalms has been used for for thousands of years. Will we be singing "Shine Jesus Shine" or any of Chris Tomlin's songs even 10 years from now? It is important, simply from a historical standpoint, to include some of these hymns in the current worship music.

Here is a brief list of some of my favorites.
Fanny Crosby--My dad was a HUGE fan.
"All the Way My Savior Leads Me"
"Blessed Assurance"
"Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It"
"Rescue the Perishing"
"Tell Me the Story of Jesus"
"To God Be the Glory"--I remember singing this after many services at Waterford Community Church.

Charles Wesley
"And Can It Be That I Should Gain?"
"Christ the Lord Is Risen Today"--Did you sing this last Sunday? Me neither.
"O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing"

"What a Friend We Have In Jesus"
"Be Thou My Vision"
"Love Lifted Me"
"Out of the Ivory Palaces"--My mom's favorite hymn
"Great is Thy Faithfulness"
"How Great Thou Art"--I prefer Donna Pollard's version.

The list could definitely go on further, but those are a few. We have tried, as a part of our after dinner ritual, to sing a different hymn every week with the boys. Sometimes I don't think they are getting it, because they usually don't sing along. Yesterday though, I heard Caleb singing "At the cwoss, at the cwoss, da da da da da da da." Keep singing hymns with your family and encouraging your churches to do likewise.


Sarah said...

Great post! This is something that Brad and I struggle with big time. But you're right, we need to pour ourselves in to the music that our church chooses.

You've got some great songs listed there. I'm still waiting for the Andrew Gammons Hymn Greatest Hits disc to come out so that we can regularly enjoy some of the songs that we don't get to sing at church these days.

Anonymous said...

amen. im with sarah -- lets have andy team all his mp3 posts with this one in the form of a CD of money hymns so we can keep the dream alive!

all in favor, say "i!"

Andy Gammons said...

"I". I'm working on it. I have a pretty good playlist compiled. I think it will have to be a double disk set. If you're interested in getting a copy, give me a shout out.

There is a sampling of some newer arrangements as well as some choir and pipe organ (Shube). Here's a sampling of the playlist.

Be Thou My Vision--Michael Card
Holy Holy Holy--Vineyard Music
'Tis So Sweet--Steve Ivey
All Creatures Of Our God & King--Fernando Ortega
What a Friend We have in Jesus--Claire Holley
All Hail The Power Of Jesus' Name--Various
Take My Life And Let It Be--Vineyard Music
Fairest Lord Jesus--Vineyard Music
In The Garden--Johnny Cash
To God Be The Glory--Various
My Jesus I Love Thee--Vineyard Music
He Touched Me--Gaither Vocal Band
It Is Well With My Soul--Vineyard Music
Pass Me Not--Fernando Ortega
O Sacred Head Surrounded--The Innocence Mission
Give Me Jesus--Fernando Ortega
Love Lifted Me--Various
Jesus, Lover Of My Soul--Michael Card
All The Way My Savior Leads Me--Rich Mullins
Softly and Tenderly--Fernando Ortega
Great Is Thy Faithfulness--Various
I Need Thee Every Hour--Fernando Ortega
Blessed Assurance--Iris Dement
When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder--Johnny Cash
Take My Life And Let It Be--Vineyard Music
When He Reached Down--Johnny Cash
A Mighty Fortress--Various

Anonymous said...

COUNT ME IN! I want that disc BAD. Our church is a big fan of the hymn. We sing at least two every week...unfortunately they are of the espicapel (help with the spelling?) variety rather than the baptist. 50% of the time I'm on board with the words. We sang Christ The Lord is Risen Today and Because He Lives on Easter Sunday. Both classics.

Sharon said...

I don't cry as often these days, but I sobbed when I read this post. I too LOVE the old hymns and miss singing them. The Naples church, as you can imagine, has quite a number of snowbirds present in the worship services during the "season" and I remember well one Sunday when I turned around during the greeting time and met some white haired people from Wheaton, IL. As the service progressed I didn't hear much singing behind me until we came to the hymn and then they really belted it out. I smiled to myself as I thought about how they just didn't know those "new songs". The church here is at least sensitive to the fact that there are those in the congregation who really need to hear the old hymns. I appreciate that even though I'd love to sing many more. I've been told that the pastor's wife sets aside a time on Wednesday night where she plays the piano and has an old fashioned hymn sing. I haven't made it there yet. I need to go. Maybe they'll sing "Out of the Ivory Palaces"!! For those who don't know that one here's some of what I remember.

Out of the ivory palaces
Into a world of woe
Only His great eternal love
Made my Savior go.

I remember Helen Timm playing that one as we left the church after Don's funeral service. I hadn't asked her....she just knew, since I'd requested it so many times during the Sunday night "request time". I have a boat load of other favorites but Andy has covered many of them with his soon to be received CD. I can't wait to get it!

the long way around said...

The Gammons Family wrote: "I". I'm working on it. I have a pretty good playlist compiled. I think it will have to be a double disk set. If you're interested in getting a copy, give me a shout out.

...I happened upon your post via Google search. I was looking for "Take my life and let it be."

If it's open to me, here is my shout out. I would love to obtain this two disc set and incorporate these songs into the worship I lead at our small group.

Thanks. ~Matt


twinklemom said...

I absolutely love your post! Actually in the process of trying to track down and buy a blue covered baptist hymn book that I remember using in a previous church...The hymns are a great way to feel all the more closer to God!