I love modern Christian music, whether it’s praise and worship, hip-hop, rap, contemporary, or southern gospel. I’m moved deeply by the combination of the music and lyrics. Listening to Christian radio can set for the tone for the day, calm my nerves, or help me unwind. And as much as I love listening to modern praise music, sometimes it’s just not what my heart needs. I don’t know what it is, but sometimes my heart longs to praise God through the old hymns. Tonight was one of those nights.
I was driving home from my night class and thanking God for all of the blessings he’s given me related to my job. I flipped through the radio stations and I heard, “Oh Lord my God,
When I in awesome wonder, Consider all the works Thy hands have made…” Something deep in my soul began to smile as I sang along with the baritone singer on the radio. After the song ended, I turned off the radio and began rolling through different hymns that I remembered from my childhood. Many of them triggered memories that made me smile. As I began singing, “Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me, and that thou bidst me come to thee…” I remembered being a kid and having to sit through what seemed like the 18th verse of this song, just hoping that some body would come forward down the aisle. But now, that song is one of gratefulness. “Just as I am,” not who I should be or could be, but just like I am right now. Then I jumped into a chorus of “Jesus loves me, this I know…” Such a simple song, yet so powerful and life changing if we truly believe. As I sang this song, I remembered my Sunday school teachers leading us and pointing at each of the words on a poster board. I could see each of their faces, bright eyed and mouth wide as they were leading us.
I moved into, “There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God; a place where sin cannot molest, near to the heart of God,” and flowed right into, “Be Thou my vision, oh Lord of my heart, Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art, Thou my best thought by day or by night, Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.” And this led to, “I come to the garden alone, While the dew is still on the roses And the voice I hear falling on my ear The Son of God discloses. And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own; And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.”
I could keep going and going, and I’m sure many of you are reminiscing through these and other hymns as you are reading this. I’m so thankful for the old hymns. I know the language is hard to understand sometimes and that the writers may seem like part of ancient history, but the more I learn about God, the greater my love for the passionate words of the hymn writers. They praised him, worshiped him, cried out to him, walked with him, and lived for him through the words of these hymns. Now we get to use them to connect with the maker of the universe. I’ll leave you with another song, not exactly in the hymn category, but one that is older and always leads me to a closer worship with my king.
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, There’s just something about that name. Master, Savior, Jesus, Like the fragrance after the rain. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Let all heaven and earth proclaim. Kings and kingdoms shall all pass away But there’s something about that name.”