It was a small lake of cold water behind my Waterford cabin surrounded by woods on every side. Glen passed away three days after I arrived and I was alone, exhausted in an unfamiliar place. There were times I felt close to some sort of breakdown. Then winter loosed its hold and the sun was warm. Leave burst forth and the birds raised a carefree chorus with the frogs and no one else was around. As I began my walks in through the woods, the words of old hymns often came to mind, and instinctively I began singing.
Those walks beside the still water was better for me than more than a dozen books on grieving could have ever been. Then and there I felt emerging twinges of a “restored soul” as promised in Psalm 23. It’s been on my mind, what if I had not known those hymns?
It seems hymns are an endangered species in this time of contemporary praise worship on video projectors. There’s a place for that, but as we sing a new song to the Lord, let’s not forget the old ones.
Hymns, especially those full of theology, permeate our souls with the timeless truths of Scripture. Hymns helps us praise God. They’re like sunlight through the clouds. Hymns enable us to pray when we’re too weary or worried for words, we can sing “O love that wilt not let me go/ I rest my weary soul in Thee…”
I believe hymns give us a way of encouraging ourselves, as we do when we sing “Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side…” Not only do they speak to us, but we can use them to teach others. And hymns connect us with current and past generations of believers that join voices singing hymns and spiritual songs to the Lord.
I’m going to devote the next several weeks to the history and meaning of timeless hymns. I love hymns, and if a specific hymn has made an impact in your life, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org