Hymns

‘Greatest hymn’? Sacred song enthusiasts vote in ‘madness’ tournament

"The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada decided to use the tournament as a way to draw attention to the music that fills church sanctuaries every weekend. Its contest, where enthusiasts have voted since May on its website and on Facebook." - RNS

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Can Hymns Be Saved from Extinction?

"The expulsion of hymns from a church can occur either imperceptibly over time or instantaneously, but in many churches they are fading away or already gone. In this context, I propose a way for those who love the hymns of the faith to preserve them. We can save our beloved hymns by reading and pondering them as devotional poems." - Leland Ryken

576 reads

America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet, Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness, And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!

1911 version of the text by Katharine Lee Bates.

1111 reads

Dealing With Loss: A Hero Named Larry

I have always appreciated the old hymn “It is Well With My Soul.” The melody is hauntingly beautiful. The words are especially touching, as they were written while Spafford was crossing the Atlantic when he was near the place where his four daughters died after the vessel in which they were traveling was involved in a collision at sea.

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll.
Whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

I can barely sing these words without tears welling up. Imagine the faith Spafford must have had to pen these words—especially in that place and at that time. Imagine how he must have suffered and agonized on his journey to being able to speak like that. He must have known God’s word well, to be able to lean on God’s promises like he seemed to do.

2822 reads

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