Friday, June 3, 2011

We Get to Sing Hymns! Another Reason to Be Rather Fond of the Episcopal Church (May 2010)

OK, we may not hear it on many iPods or radios, but if you’re a fan of what many people consider to be the great hymns of the Church, you can almost always find these tunes at your local Episcopal parish.

Sure, the worship wars rage.  The ‘praise and worship’ crowd calls us boring, irrelevant and sentimental, and we make fun of their 7-11 songs (7 words sung 11 times).  But like a lot of church arguments these are usually nothing more than exit ramps that take us off the highway we need to be on.  Our call is to stay on track and keep focused on what’s at the heart of all Christian hymnody, Jesus Christ.

Some of the best theological ruminating can be done with The Hymnal 1982, which includes some of the great hymns of the ages.  Using a wider vocabulary and more complex sentence structure than moderns are used to, the Light, nonetheless, shines through.  The same is true with the musical progressions and arrangements.  The same Christ that took the hearts and minds of these blessed writers comes through to touch our souls in some pretty powerful ways.

And this is what makes Christian music continually relevant – regardless of its style and age - its ability to touch the souls of worshipers.  After all, heaven will be filled with music – exactly what kind the Bible writers wisely left out.  What they did not omit was the focus of the Lamb on the throne and the throngs of joyful singers lying prostrate bringing praise to the One who is worthy.

In what ways do you find your church’s hymnody inspiring?  Leave a post for the group to respond.

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