Hymns Connecting Generations

Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord - Ephesians 5:19 NKJV

It is almost Thanksgiving, which in my calendar means slowly switching from the hymns to Christmas Carols. But before bidding adieu to In the Garden, How Great Thou Art and Amazing Grace, I wanted to take a moment to write about the connecting power of hymns. First of all, I did not grow up listening to hymns. To be sure the choir sang something at the Congregational church where I attended with my family, however I had no idea what they were singing. The ancient stone building echoed so that I assumed they might have been singing in Latin. The first time I heard a hymn I could understand was when I was nineteen years old. As a child of the 60’s I grew up listening to the Beatles, Stones, Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel and Joni Mitchel. So, when I gave my life to Christ at a Pentecostal church, I was amazed to hear their camp meeting hymns along with the early praise choruses that eventually led to the contemporary Christian music of today. The most delightful thing of all was that everybody sang. Old folks and young folks all looked like they were having a great time. The music helped to connect generations and some of the rowdiest of the bunch were often the old timers! A hearty HAAAALEEEELUUUUJAH! would sometimes suddenly arise from the sweetest old lady or grey-haired saint, right in the middle of a verse, causing the hair on the back of my neck to stand up!

I remember we had two song books in those days. There was a large, hard covered hymnal as well as a small soft covered chorus book. When the worship leader would call out, “Please turn to number 439”, I always marveled at the number of songs between those covers. Today, I realize that just counting Charles Wesley and Fanny Crosby, there are thousands to choose from, and when you sprinkle in America the Beautiful, Christmas carols, Easter hymns and Amazing Grace, it makes you realize that what we hold in our hands is only the tip of the iceberg of what has been left to us through 2,000 years of church history. And these songs connect us, not only to the generations who sit in the seat next to us, but also to everyone who has ever put their faith in Christ. We are reminded that Martin Luther, John Newton, Saint Patrick and Isaac Watts are still living and singing with us in the unseen choir loft of Heaven. More importantly these precious words and melodies of our “Rock of Ages cleft for me”, who is “Perfect in power in love and purity.” also connect us to Jesus Christ. They remind us that “We have decided to follow Jesus” and that we must “Surrender all to Thee my precious Savior!” and will joyfully “Crown Him with many crowns!” They tell us about “What a day that will be, when our Jesus we will see!” and that forever “He will walk with me and talk with me and tell me that I am His own!”

There Rings a Melody

First sung by a children’s choir, this hymn brings the lilt of that youthful joy together with the ageless truth of the love of Jesus.

I have a song that Jesus gave me
It was sent from Heaven above
There never was a sweeter melody
It's that melody of love!

I hope you enjoy the voices from this past Saturday’s meeting at the Sunshine Christian Village. Our seasoned citizens certainly haven’t forgotten how to make a joyful noise! To hear Saturday’s message you might want to slide over to the other blog- Walking With Lambs. Have a blessed day all!

Love Like an Ocean

We are struggling a bit here with my wife being sick the last several days. She went for Covid testing and was negative but still is not feeling well and we have not been out much. This session was recorded a few weeks ago and gives you not just the music but a bit of what real ministry is like at nursing home. We have people walking through, folks coming in late (remember they are in wheelchairs). Taking the time to interrupt what we are doing and greeting them by name helps us remember that we are family and then we can worship together like a real family! I hope you enjoy this rendition of Peace Like a River and that God would pour out His blessings in your life today!

The old stories from the Bible are made new when we put our faith in God, and He gives us His Peace like a River!