Sunday, May 07, 2006

I like hymns...

We have heard a joyful sound,
‘Jesus saves!’
Spread the gladness all around,
‘Jesus saves!’
Bear the news to every land,
Climb the steeps and cross the waves.
Onward! – ‘tis our Lord’s command.
Jesus saves!

I’ve been attending a church on placement for the last 8 months or so. This has allowed me regular use of the latest edition of The Church Hymnary (CH4). CH4 is basically the new hymnbook for the Church of Scotland, and the United Free Church of Scotland. Apparently, the Presbyterian Church of Ireland and the Presbyterian Church of Wales withdrew from the CH4 project early on to produce their own hymnbooks. Traditionally, several Presbyterian churches within the British Empire supported the Church Hymnary. CH2 was ‘Authorized for Use in Public Worship’ by 8 churches.

Anyway, this morning I scanned through one section of CH4 – ‘Our Response to Christ – In Devotion’. The section contains 36 hymns. As I browsed through the hymns I was surprised by how many I already knew and loved. It was more anecdotal evidence towards my latest popular theory about Christian culture – Christians are all singing the same songs regardless of their practice or beliefs. My top ten hymns in the section are listed below. My only quibble is that ‘Fairest Lord Jesus’ is misplaced – it only makes the ‘Also suitable’ list, and is found in a previous section, ‘Christ Risen – Reign and Priesthood’.

I like CH4, and I hope to make a suitable donation to my placement church in return for keeping a copy. The thing is I’ll never use it as a minister – how long until people attending church are given palm tops and/or mini-digital video audio devices – electronic hymnbooks/Bibles? Will these ever replace the projection screen? Whatever, the age of the hymnbook as we know it is surely coming to an end.

How deep the Father’s love for us
As the deer pants for the water
In heavenly love abiding
Oh, for a closer walk with God
O love that wilt not let me go
Christ whose glory fills the skies
Jesus, the very thought of thee
When I receive the peace of Christ
There is a Redeemer
Lord, I lift your name on high

No comments: