extending the playlist: praise-full

This is Part Two of my case for re-introducing some hymns into the playlist of the contemporary church. Outside of a well-worn 3 or 4 (Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, Great is Thy Faithfulness...) - we do not sing hymns any more.

Part One - a prayer-full playlist - is here.

I trawled the hymnbook of my NZ Baptist tradition (others will have other traditions) and found some that I'd love to see added to the playlist. Just one from among these 20 each Sunday would be about right, I reckon. With an enthusiastic lead from the 'worship-leader' (so none of this drag-your-feet 'the pastor made me do it' body language), these all have possibilities. I'd put these praise-full ones at a more buoyant time in the service. Check with an older musician in the church on the possible tunes - but I suspect that, unlike the prayer-full ones, you may well need to amp them up a bit. But don't play them too quickly! You will discover that these hymns connect people with a deeper, richer spirituality.

I will name the first line of the hymn (in bold) and then include a verse (in italics) that stands out to me - so you catch something of the flavour. OK?!

1. It is a thing most wonderful
And yet I want to love Thee, Lord;
O light the flame within my heart,
And I will love Thee more and more,
Until I see Thee as Thou art.

2. I cannot tell why He whom angels worship
I cannot tell how He will win the nations,
How he will claim His earthly heritage,
How satisfy the needs and aspirations
Of east and west, of sinner and of sage.
But this I know, all flesh shall His glory,
And he shall reap the harvest He has sown,
And some glad day His sun shall shine in splendour
When He the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is known.

3. Sing we the King who is coming to reign
... Joy to the nations when Jesus is King...
... Wrong shall be ended when Jesus is King ...
... Sword shall be sickle when Jesus is King ...
... Love is victorious when Jesus is King ...
... Satan is vanquished AND Jesus is King.

4. How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
I'll praise Thee as I ought.

5. Loved with everlasting love
Heaven above is softer blue,
Earth around is sweeter green;
Something lives in every hue,
Christless eyes have never seen:
Birds with gladder songs o'erflow,
Flowers with deeper beauties shine,
Since I know, as now I know,
I am His and He is mine.

6. God of grace and God of glory
Heal Thy children's warring madness;
Bend our pride to Thy control;
Shame our wanton, selfish gladness,
Rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom,
Grant us courage,
Lest we miss Thy kingdom's goal.

7. Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what Thou art
Ever lift Thy face upon me, as I work and wait for Thee;
Resting neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus, earth's dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father's glory, sunshine of my Father's face,
Keep me trusting, resting; fill me with Thy grace.

8. Come let us sing of a wonderful love
Jesus is seeking the wanderers yet;
Why do they roam?
Love only waits to forgive and forget;
Home! weary wanderers home!
Wonderful love
Dwells in the heart of the Father above.

9. There is no love like the love of Jesus
There is no heart like the heart of Jesus,
Filled with a tender love,
No throb nor throe that our hearts can know
But He feels it above.

10. I know not why God's wondrous grace
I know not how this saving faith
To me he did impart;
Or how believing in His word
Wrought peace within my heart
... but 'I know whom I have believed;
and am persuaded that he is able to keep
that which I have committed unto Him until that day.'

nice chatting - and I hope some 'worship-leaders' are reading this!

'Go on - go against the flow and do something different.
More people are tiring of the current 'liturgy' than you realise.
Just one of these twenty songs on any given Sunday,
enthusiastically introduced, and watch what happens!' :) :)



Paul said…
If I could jump in first...

One of the things that impacted me - yet again - in this exercise is the way hymns so often sing of the certain HOPE.

This piece of truth is poorly done in contemporary songs - with very few exceptions.

I think this is because so much of today's music comes to us out of contexts where life is relatively comfortable, even luxurious at times, and such contexts have little reason to reflect on the hope designed to have us endure the suffering and persecution of the present time.
Mark Maffey said…
Hi Paul

Two of my all-time favourites:


1. When we walk with the Lord
in the light of his word,
what a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will,
he abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

We Have An Anchor (Hebrews6v19) Boys Brigade Hymn

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift or firm remain?
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior's love.

I Agree with you that hymns such as these speak of the certain hope, equally though there is a response required.. i.e. trust and obey!

Symptomatic of the current times is the thinking that we can do it ourselves, Proverbs 3vs5ff stands in stark contrast to this belief.We cannot lean own our understanding,but seek God, trust and obey.
PW said…
Ohhh & what about 'What a Fellowship', & 'What a Wonderful Saviour is Jesus' & 'Let us sing to the God of Salvation' & 'I stand amazed in the Presence' & 'When Peace like a River' & .........from someone who is further discovering the deep theological expression through song, & that assists how "to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is". Wow,what a heritage we have.
Ben Carswell said…
Paul - thank you! You've just given me a great few moments (ok, a little longer than I'd first intended!) going through some of the old classics, reminding myself of them & enjoying them again.
I too miss many of the great hymns, but also some of the "not so greats"! I think it's helpful to distinguish between music & lyrics - some of the greats of yesteryear have great words & not so good tunes, thankfully, those we tend to remember have great words & great tunes.
It's so hard to narrow down to just a few, so, if I was going to have a "community hymn sing" - yes, I remember some of them in times gone by, here's some that I would include.
Jesus the Name high over all - "His only righteousness I show,
His saving grace proclaim;
’Tis all my business here below
To cry “Behold the Lamb!"

Immortal honours rest on Jesus' head - a lesser known Gadsby hymn, which includes the lyrics -
"O that my soul could love and praise Him more, His beauties trace, His majesty adore;
Live near His heart, upon His bosom lean; Obey His voice, and all His will esteem."

Thine be the glory - great lyrics/great tune

Give me a sight O Saviour -
"Then melt my heart, O Savior,
Bend me, yea, break me down,
Until I own Thee Conqueror,
And Lord and Sov'reign crown.

Oh, make me understand it,
Help me to take it in,
What it meant to Thee, the Holy One, to bear away my sin."

There's a whole raft of "consecration/holiness hymns" that aren't sung, but should be:
All to Jesus I surrender
Oh how I love Jesus
I'd rather have Jesus
May the mind of Christ my Saviour

There's a few good songs about the cross & the gospel which would be good for us to remember:

Man of sorrows
Saviour Thy dying love
Jesus keep me near the cross
I will sing the wondrous story
Maybe even 'The old rugged cross'

And just to complete it all - what about some of those old slightly more macho hymns - Fight the good fight, Am I a soldier of the cross?, Who is on the Lord's side...

Having said all that & bearing in mind I miss the music & theology of good hymns, there's some more modern classics which are being forgotten and neglected in "the tyranny of the present". I'm staggered how many of the good songs of the last 5-15 years have already been passed by.

Thanks Paul for giving me time to soak these hymns up. I've often used hymn lyrics in my own devotions - maybe it's time to revisit that?
Paul Windsor said…
Always happy to hear about more hymns - but I was trying to limit myself to that Baptist hymnbook.

Otherwise - oh, so many flood the senses. A few Billy Graham Crusade ones (Could we with ink the ocean fill?) - a few from my childhood in India with the Keswick hymnbook (#213 - Like a River Glorious) and goodness knows how many from those American hymnbooks at boarding school (books which I keep seeing in different parts of Asia on my travels).

But happy to welcome your suggestions as well, Mark, PW and Ben :)

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