Note: The blogosphere gets kind of quiet on weekends, so I've started "Speak up Weekends." If you aren't posting on your own blog, and can't find much to read on the others you frequent, stop by here. You're invited to drop by over the course of the weekend to peruse the topic of the week, ponder your thoughts on the subject and pontificate in a reply if you're so inclined.
While I've wandered the WorldWideWeb this week, I've come across a couple of blogs that used the words from old hymns to reinforce their message. I really liked being reminded of some of those classics that I haven't heard in years.
I count myself as very fortunate to have been raised as probably the last generation who had Sunday services filled with more hymns than "choruses" (remember when that was the term for "praise songs?"). As I entered junior high and high school, our youth groups were singing "Jesus Music," but in church that was largely reserved for Sunday evening services and special events.
The transition from mostly hymns to mostly not has been slow and subtle. And as a member of a generation whose music of choice runs more to Rock than Rachmaninov, I haven't objected to the switch.
On occasion though, I am reminded of the amazing depth of some of those ancient pieces and miss the poetry, imagery and adoration that is lacking when I join the congregation in singing "I'm no hero, no superman, I'm just a man in your eyes." (Ok, no offense to the composer of that little ditty or any worship leader who puts it in the lineup, but there are just so many things about that one line that strike me wrong).
Regardless of what is on the playlist at my church on a Sunday morning, I am glad to have the foundation of countless songs that reside deep in my soul and surface when I'm most in need of expressing a thought or feeling that I can't put into words of my own. So many times as God is communicating a truth to me through His word I find there's already a song in my heart that reinforces it. I love reading (singing) through the Psalms and discovering that I know more scripture than I even realize because I learned so much of it through song.
So all of this got me thinking: how do I give that to my own children? The church is going to keep moving down the contemporary path, and there's some value to that. But there is so much history and faith and passion and (dare I say it?) theology in that thick, dusty book that has been removed from the back of most church pews. (Do most churches even still have pews?!) I don't want to lose all of that in a sort of musical revisionist history.
This is where you come in. Do you have an affection for hymns at all? How are you introducing your own children to the wealth that exists in them? Or do you see them fading away into the memories of an ancient generation like so many of our family stories and thus our history and heritage? Any suggestions? I'll be thinking about it too, and will add what I come up with to the comments.
PS--I wanted to add a link to a blog post that I think has one of the best descriptions of the generational differences in worship. He's specifically talking about the distinctions between "Gen-X" and the "Millenials." It might make you see your own church's corporate worship time differently. Where do you see yourself?