I love music! Whether it be a hit song from the 80’s that stirs up a sweet childhood memory or a contemporary song my teenage children introduce to me, music has always been something I enjoy. My musical tastes are fairly diverse- country, pop, classical, and even a few rap songs comprise my favorite playlists. But if I had to settle on my favorite style of music, hymns would be my choice!
Growing up in a Baptist church where the worship style would be defined as “traditional,” I learned nearly every verse to many of the beloved songs of our faith. Although I was unaware then, now I know what a gift it was to be able to hear, sing, and memorize these wonderful songs, songs that speak of God’s redemption story. Hymns are filled with spiritual truths. They have even been referred to as “portable theology.” I love the fact that as I unwittingly learned these hymns as a child, these truths were filling my mind and my heart.
Not only do the words of hymns minister to me, the stories of hymn writers are often inspiring and encouraging as well. Think of John Newton, a slave trader who came to faith in Christ and later penned the famous hymn “Amazing Grace.” What a story of redemption he wrote and left for us to sing! Fanny Crosby, one of the most prolific hymn writers in history, was born blind yet was used by God to author many faith-filled songs we still sing today. Consider Charlotte Elliott who wrote “Just As I Am” following a serious illness, which left her permanently disabled. She allowed God to use her suffering to create this and other songs of faith.
Hymns also connect believers across generations. I remember my grandparents singing hymns around the house. Sweet memories of my mom playing these songs on the piano are dear to me. When my children were babies, we played CDs that allowed them to experience these hymns during car rides or at bedtime. Hymns provide a bridge and common ground for us to understand God and His love.
I encourage you to grab an old hymnal, read through the beloved songs, and ponder the attributes of God and truths of the Bible that are communicated there. In times of sorrow, trial, or joy, I am so grateful to call to mind these precious hymns that rightly remind me of God’s character, His love and grace.