Wednesday, 04 April 2018 21:11

Why We Still Use Hymnals

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col 3:16–17 ESV)

I praise the Lord for a congregation that loves to sing. Music has always been a vital part of the worship of God’s people. Our church has blessed with a number of people with musical gifts, and whom are encouraged to use them.

Styles of music come and go, and we may use different instruments. Few of us play on seven-stringed harps. Our worship services do not include many Gregorian chants. The current trends are very much toward contemporary music and projected lyrics.

Our congregation is very unique. We sing newer songs, with newer instruments. But we also still sing traditional hymns, with hymnals and organ accompaniment. That is not only because of our preferences, but because of the giftedness of our people. The Holy Spirit shapes our ministry through the particular gifts He gives to a particular congregation.

I came across an interesting article written by Tim Challies. His blog is one I go to almost every day. In this particular article, he talks about what we give up when we replace our hymnals with words projected on a screen:

  • We lost an established body of songs. Hymnals communicated that a church had an established collection of songs. This, in turn, communicated that its songs were vetted carefully and added to its repertoire only after careful consideration…
  • We lost a deep knowledge of our songs…As we add new songs with greater regularity, we sing old songs with less frequency. This reduces our familiarity with our songs so that today we have far fewer of them fixed in our minds and hearts…
  • We lost the ability to do harmonies…Hymnals almost invariably included the music for both melody and harmonies and congregations learned to sing the parts…
  • We lost the ability to sing skillfully. As congregations have lost their knowledge of their songs, they have lost the ability to sing them well…
  • We lost the ability to have the songs in our homes. Families would often sing together as part of their family worship…

Challies is not particularly advocating that everybody go back to using hymnals, only that it has come at a cost. I have only quoted excerpts here. You can read it in full here:  What We Lost When We Lost Our Hymnals.

I am glad that we have continued to use the hymnals. I am also glad that we have been able to sing new songs and hymns as well. Above us, let’s continue to sing with thankfulness in our hearts. And may the Word of the Lord dwell in us richly as we sing his Word and sing his praises

Last modified on Wednesday, 04 April 2018 21:20