Remember that TV show The Bold and the Beautiful? I never actually watched it, finding neither bold nor beautiful, but the phrase stuck in my mind, and gives rise to today’s post. I Love Hymns, but they can be both old and beautiful, or they can be old and stuffy, boring and put everyone to sleep!
I have recently produced an album of hymns, and they are going CRAZY out there. I have prepared a special presentation, that Erick and I will be sharing in various churches around our area, but I have done this presentation 3 times already in 2 countries, and have been amazed by the response. Without even preaching I have seen people crying, worshiping, on their knees and blown away by songs which are hundreds of years old!!!
Why I LOVE Hymns!
OK, true confessions… I LOVE Hymns! Hymns are great. They are majestic, and many contain more theology than the average sermon these days. Old folk love them, conservative folk love them, but many younger ones have thrown them out along with everything before 2000. Gee, they even think the Beatles are uncool (such ignorance!).
Somewhere in the middle cries the voice of reason. Now granted, some hymns are funeral marches, long, slow, boring and brain-numbing. Some contain rubbish theology and some are just plain irrelevant in both use of language and subject matter. Some are practically unsingable, except to 13th century monks! However, in amongst these types of hymns are some of the greatest ever songs!
Now, if you are young, and don’t believe me, check a few of them out. Hymns like, “And Can It Be,” “Holy, Holy, Holy,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” and “How Great Thou Art” are awesome.
My preference, both personal and of my church, is that we sing at least one hymn every Sunday service. If you are creative and musical you can play it in such a way that it is exciting and awesome, and you can venture into the very presence of God using these old songs. On top of that, the old folk in the church will be thrilled. So you win either way. Trust me, guys; there are some great songs you cannot live without in the hymns section!
But if you are going to do a hymn, don’t make it into a funeral march! The older folks will love hymns done in a new and a fresh way, so pray and ask God for some innovative ideas to make the hymn into a modern masterpiece. Then watch God unite all ages as they worship Him using this old but new song!
I love hymns because they are the best of the best. Now loving hymns doesn’t mean you hate modern songs (which is what many younger, modern worship leaders think), it means that you are open to both. Accept modern stuff, sure, but don’t turn your back as many people do on the centuries of tradition and heritage that hymns represent!
They are, after all this time, the best of the best. When a modern song is brought out, how do you know it is going to become a classic? The answer is you don’t, and most modern songs are not even played after a few months or a year at most. The only true way to discover if a song is going to become a classic is to wait ten years. If it is still popular then, you have a classic on your hands.
But hymns have proven their popularity and stood the test of time. Charles Wesley wrote 7,000 hymns, and Fanny Crosby write 9,000, but we only sing a few of them. That’s because they are the best of the best, and that’s what you get with hymns… you know which ones are the classics because time is the great revealer.
I Love Hymns, But…
One word of caution, especially to the conservative evangelical denominations. There is a huge tendency to have the worship songs, with the modern beat and instruments, and then insert the token hymn for the oldies, doing this with only an organ or a piano, played in a traditional yet boring style. I strongly caution you against this, because this only promotes the “us verses them” scenario, the “your music verses our music” polarizing we see in churches.
The best way is to just roll from the worship into the hymn, seamlessly, and using a similar modern style. The majority of older folk will appreciate the fact that you are including their song preference, and making it your own, and trying as hard to make it special as if it were your own style of song. Thus, you can use well played hymns to join hearts in worship, rather than having the separate song for the oldies.
So come on guys, don’t overlook the grand old hymns! They might just be the surprise package of your worship leading, and they may just become the means to using worship music to join your congregation together rather than music driving them apart.
Hymns are awesome, still relevant, still valid and have incredible, powerful lyrics. And people LOVE them! Why wouldn’t you use them to worship together?
I LOVE HYMNS!!!