So where does this leave us today? I will conclude with several brief suggestions of we should be striving toward in our choices of hymns for corporate worship.
- Recognize the importance of form. Form shapes content. As we evaluate the hymns that we sing, we must not be content that our hymns simply say the right things; we must also be certain that they say the right things in the right way.
- Learn to distinguish between forms that nurture noble affections and forms that excite base passions. Excitement and enthusiasm is not what we’re after in worship; rather, we should strive to encounter the True and Living God in the truth of his Word and then express ordinate affection to him through our hymns.
- Commit to cultivating the forms of the Judeo-Christian tradition. We cannot simply decide that we’re going to work harder at producing better hymns. We have to start somewhere, and the wisest course of action is to start within a tradition that got it right. Only then can we look to the future and hope to cultivate new forms worthy of expression to God.
- Commit to passing this tradition to our children. Where my greatest hope lies is with our children. Our children’s affections are still developing, and we have the weighty responsibility to shape them. We must refrain from feeding our children trite Christian nursery rhymes and begin to nurture their sensibilities with the music of the Judeo- Christian tradition. We have to mold their malleable hearts from the earliest of ages to love the right way. Even before they are capable of believing the right things or living the right way or even loving the right things, they can learn how to love rightly and what reverent worship feels like. We must commit to nurturing our youngest children in the fear of the Lord. They are our greatest hope in the conservation of biblical worship.