Monday, January 27, 2014

Hymns and Worship

I grew up attending a very modern, non-denominational church. You can read my testimony in the tab at the top of this page to read how I eventually found my faith, but as a youngster I went through all the motions of being a Christian. I knew all the songs, a couple key Bible verses, and could even recite the gospel. However, it all was very shallow and didn't connect on a deeper level (although I did have my moments where I felt like things were connecting... one to see those moments pass and nothing come out of them).

My husband was raised Catholic, and though he is now an evangelical protestant like me, we couldn't really agree on the type of church to go to in the beginning of our marriage. My husband preferred something a little "less like a rock concert" and I preferred a more casual, less ritualistic church. So we finally ended up at our current church, which is a good mixture of modern and old-school.

One of the things our current church has highlighted for me is my lack of hymn knowledge. Our church sings a variety of types of songs, but I find that I am often singing blindly through songs I've never heard before. Sure, I can sing most modern Christian songs by heart, and I knew Amazing Grace, but pretty much every other "old-school" hymn was beyond my knowledge.

It has been such a joy to me to learn these hymns over the last few years and commit some of them to heart. I find that their simple lyrics are so deeply touching, and I love the knowledge that millions of Christians have sung those exact words for decades, and maybe even centuries. I feel like before I equated hymns with ritualistic churches, and didn't think I could ever connect with them. I was so wrong!

One of my favorite hymns is Be Thou My Vision, which I am so happy to have had the chance to get to know. I listen to this song on repeat in my car sometimes on the way to work, and it is always so inspiring.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

What beautiful words. Personally, my favorite verse of the song is this one:

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.

In fact, I love this song so much that I plan to put it in our little one's nursery:
This sign is one of the items on my baby registry at I have been soaking up and committing to memory the words of more of these wonderful hymns lately, as I hope to be able to sing them to and with my children in the future.

Now, please don't take this post to mean that I think modern Christian songs are not great too. I personally believe that God loves worship, and modern songs can be worshipful as well. The problem I find with some churches is that worship becomes more about the experience of those in the church, and not about worshiping Our God. In an effort to make the worship experience cool, some churches forgo some of the old-fashioned hymns in favor of more modern songs. There is nothing inherently wrong with modern songs, but the problem is with the priority of using modern songs only because the focus is on the church members' experience.

Do you have any favorite songs that really bring out the worship of your heart? Another of my favorites is Before the Throne of God Above


  1. I looove Be Thou My Vision. I love Celtic and Irish culture, and this hymn (and tune) is an old Irish one (the tune is anyway).
    Speaking of Irish, my parents like the modern hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty (website). I think the most famous is "In Christ Alone" (Owl City did a rendition of this).

  2. I love that hymn! Two of my personal favorites are: It is well with my soul and I have decided to follow Jesus. ;-)

  3. I know. I am so with you. I love hymns.

    I love this one:

    and YES, before the throne of god above is one of my absolute favorites. :-) when satan tempts me to despair.... :-)


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