June 25, 2022

Do Hymns Nonetheless Have a Place within the twenty first Century?

I by no means meant for this to occur, however Fb has turn out to be my major information supply. Coronavirus closures? My Fb buddies will preserve me up to date. Protests in a single day in my space? Undecided — let me examine Fb. Did that new pizza restaurant open on the opposite facet of city? Absolutely I can discover out on Fb.

And it was Fb that alerted me to a current weblog submit with the clickbait title, “10 Christian Hymns That Must Be Put to Relaxation.” To be clear, the blogger was not advocating for stopping hymn-singing altogether, however she listed her (fairly subjective) causes for why sure outdated standbys must be struck from the hymnal.

No matter her particular tackle the topic, it made me assume somewhat deeper. Do hymns nonetheless have a spot in our 21st-century worship companies? Do lyrics written generations in the past — some even a number of hundred years outdated — nonetheless maintain true in our up to date tradition?

I’ll present my hand upfront: I’m an enormous fan of conventional hymns. The church buildings which have most impacted my life frequently included hymns of their companies, so singing hymns simply feels proper to me.

However selecting what songs to sing in private or company worship is about greater than nostalgia or private choice. Hear me out on two causes I feel we must always nonetheless be singing hymns.

Motive #1: God has not modified

These are actually loopy instances. “We had been doing high quality till a worldwide pandemic got here alongside,” somebody instructed me as we speak. This 12 months’s headlines have leapt from one drama to a different. I’m wondering how all of the journalists sustain.

However the numerous adjustments we’ve got witnessed this 12 months don’t have an effect on God. “Jesus Christ is identical yesterday and as we speak and ceaselessly,” the Bible assures us, and I doubt anybody ever wanted to listen to this verse greater than we do as we speak.

Sure, most hymns had been written a very long time in the past. Sure, they “really feel” outdated with their music kinds from generations previous and a few phrases which might be not in our every day vocabulary.

However hymns are about God, not the instances through which they had been written. Our God by no means adjustments, and the reality written about Him a long time and even centuries in the past continues to be true as we speak.

Martin Luther wrote the basic hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” practically 500 years in the past. Issues have modified since then. However the fact Luther reminds us of won’t ever change: “A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark by no means failing.”

Motive #2: Hymns deepen our understanding

I don’t learn about you, however the one time I’ve ever used “bulwark” in a sentence is when singing Martin Luther’s hymn. I needed to Google it.

Typically hymns have phrases or phrases which might be extra complicated than edifying — at first. Like each era earlier than us, we view the world with the lens of our tradition and the instances we reside in. If we sing solely fashionable songs, we’re restricted to a contemporary perspective.

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However Christianity has a protracted, wealthy historical past. As believers, this historical past is our historical past. We are able to study a lot from the Christians who lived earlier than us. They had been like us in some ways, however not like us in others. Singing their songs can solely enrich our views.

I’m extremely grateful for up to date authors like Tim Keller, John Piper and Rosaria Butterfield. However I’m additionally grateful for C.S. Lewis, Elisabeth Elliot and Corrie ten Increase. New books don’t substitute outdated books. In the identical means, new songs don’t substitute outdated songs.

Hymns and choruses

Not all hymns are created equal. Simply because a tune is outdated — or new — doesn’t make it higher or much more theologically true.

The songs we sing throughout worship are usually not (or at the least shouldn’t be) primarily about us and what we like or really feel. We’re singing to the Lord of the universe — a truth that ought to transfer us to worship each time we consider it.

There are each older hymns and extra fashionable choruses that reward our God properly. As a substitute of selecting one or the opposite, let’s consider all of the songs we sing, no matter after they had been written. Are the songs we sing true? Do they honor God above all else? Do they remind us — even educate us — about God’s attributes, taking our eyes off ourselves and turning us to Christ?

It’s not about us

On the finish of the day, we sing in worship to God — and all world wide, our Christian brothers and sisters are praising Him, too. A few of their songs we’ve got by no means heard. Some we might not hear till heaven. And talking of heaven, not one of the songs we sing right here will ever examine to what we sing there.

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All of us have preferences. And that’s OK. However let’s not be so guarded towards new-to-us songs that we’re afraid to strive one thing exterior of our favourite playlists.

Subsequent time your church features a tune you’re not tremendous accustomed to — hymn or not — dig into the lyrics. Chances are you’ll be challenged to deepen your perspective. Chances are you’ll find yourself praising God for some new perception you had by no means realized earlier than. And you might discover a new favourite.

Copyright 2020 Lauren Dunn. All rights reserved.