Thursday, November 12, 2009

Last weekend, I was at Twin Lakes for RUF fall conference. We had a pretty good were there from Rhodes, Memphis State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Delta State, Hinds, JSU, MC, Belhaven, and Millsaps. The State music team led worship and they did an amazing job. I was so excited and encouraged to see that many college kids loving the music.
In the younger circles of the PCA, there is a big movement to sing hymns set to guitar music. Some of these hymns are actually the same tune you would sing in church (Be Thou My Vision, O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus, and Amazing Grace are a few like that), but most of the hymns have been set to new music. A few are actually new words as well, but most are the words that have been sung in the church for years and years.
I absolutely love singing hymns. Not only do I love it, but I actually believe that hymns (as opposed to more modern praise and worship songs) should be a big part of worship. Please know, though, that I don't think anything bad about people who worship God in more contemporary ways. This is just a personal opinion. There is actually an article on the RUF site that is a good resource when looking at hymns vs. praise and worship style songs. Its by a guy named Kevin Twit, who has been a big part of the hymn movement.
I believe in singing hymns for a couple of reasons. The first has to do with the age and legacy of these hymns. It is so amazing to sing a song and know that Christians from 300 years ago worshipped God with the same song! I love to have that connection to the past Christians, who are now worshipping Christ in heaven.
I also love the words. No offense, but I feel like some modern Christian songs have very little depth to them. I think the words must have been written rather quickly. Also, the songs tend to focus on what we do to worship and glorify God. Hymns were not written quickly. They required time and lots of effort. The words usually focus a lot more on our depravity and sinfulness and how Christ has saved us. For example:
Come, ye weary, heavy laden,

Bruised and broken by the fall;
If you tarry 'til you're better,
You will never come at all.
Not the righteous, not the righteous;
Sinners Jesus came to call.
These lyrics are from Come, Ye Sinners...this is one of my favorites. I feel like there is so
much within this song to focus on and ponder.
Another great hymn is A Debtor to Mercy Alone. Here's the last verse:
My name from the palms of His hands

Eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains
In marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is given
More happy, but not more secure,
The glorified spirits in heaven.

That hymn was written by Augustus Toplady, who also wrote Rock of Ages.
I have so many favorite hymns, so I'm not going to talk about them all on here. But if you are
interested, go here. That link will take you to the music section of the RUF site. It links to
some RUF cds, which I would highly recommend. The Indelible Grace cds are great...I love
them! They just released a Christmas cd and an acoustic cd, and I can't wait to get both.
Anyway, just wanted to put some thoughts out there...if you disagree, feel free to comment!

1 comment:

Gamard said...

Oh, I wholeheartedly agree. A lot of modern praise and worship tends to be repetition with uninteresting melodies that lean heavily on an emotional response to the minor key in which they are set. I think what's missing is the content that's found in the older, more traditional music. One thing, especially, that I find ironic is the fact that a lot of newer Christian music has nice, happy words set to a sad melody in a minor key that just doesn't fit. To me it says, "I don't care what the words are, you just need to be able to cry to this song or it is not 'Christian'." But that's just me :)