Tag Archives: hymns

Hymns sifted in Satan’s sieve of suffering

Hymns sifted in Satan’s sieve of suffering

In the midst of difficult days, it is helpful to learn from those saints who have endured hard times before us. We are self-centered enough to think that our personal plight is exceptional, when in reality it is not. Paul Gerhardt, born in 1607, was a Lutheran pastor. Today he is remembered best for his… Continue Reading

Facing the Cross: A Service of Scripture and Song

Facing the Cross: A Service of Scripture and Song

One of the things I’m going to miss most (among many!) during this unusual season when our church can’t gather is our annual “Facing the Cross Service,” a simple service we observe each year during Holy Week that recounts the last few days, death, and burial of our Lord through Scripture readings and hymns. Since… Continue Reading

Home Worship Resources During COVID-19

Home Worship Resources During COVID-19

Last week I briefly highlighted how a church can at least approximate worship “together” while we’re prevented from being together physically, and I definitely echo David de Bruyn’s comments here about taking care to make sure that we’re not cheapening corporate worship through the technological means we use during this time. To be clear, neither… Continue Reading

How a church can worship “together” during COVID-19

How a church can worship “together” during COVID-19

It may be tempting to think that we are living in unprecedented times until we remember that Christians have faced persecution and plagues throughout history. This is not the first time Christians have been forced to gather in small groups, nor will it be the last. However, what we are facing as a result of… Continue Reading

Why Hymnals?

Why Hymnals?

I was recently asked to fill out a survey for pastors about their use of hymnals. Their final question was: “If you DO use hymnals for congregational singing, why do you view them as a worthwhile means of leading your church in worship?” Here was my response: A printed hymnal is good for so many… Continue Reading

Hymns Ancient and Modern for a New Generation

Hymns Ancient and Modern for a New Generation

In 1861 a hymnal was published in England that would set the standard for all hymnals to follow: Hymns Ancient and Modern. This significant hymnal was produced as a part of the Oxford Movement in the Church of England, a movement that wished to address both stagnant piety among more formal churches on the one hand,… Continue Reading

New Book: Hymns and Carols of Advent and Christmas

New Book: Hymns and Carols of Advent and Christmas

I am pleased new announce a new collection of hymns and carols for Advent and Christmas. This is simply all of the Advent/Christmas hymns included in Hymns to the Living God, published in a format convenient for caroling, home gatherings, or even church services. You may purchase the print or Kindle editions here. . You have… Continue Reading

Tozer on great Christian poetry

Tozer on great Christian poetry

In the preface to his Christian Book of Mystical Verse, A. W. Tozer writes, The hymns and poems found in here are mystical in that they are God-oriented; they begin with God, embrace the worshipping soul and return to God again. And they cover the full spectrum of religious feeling: fear, hope, penitence, aspiration, the longing… Continue Reading

May a Baptist (or any other Protestant) sing Catholic hymns?

May a Baptist (or any other Protestant) sing Catholic hymns?

A critic recently approached me about our hymnal and rebuked us for (among other things) including hymns written by Catholics in our hymnal. It is no secret that we include Catholic and Orthodox hymn texts. For example, we include the very ancient Te Deum (“Holy God, We Praise Thy Name”). We include works by or attributed to… Continue Reading

Form and Content in Music

Form and Content in Music

This is good from Greg Wilbur: Too often music is thought about as if the notes are the form and the lyrics are the content. In actuality, the lyrics have form and content, the music has form and content, and the marriage of text and notes have another layer of form and content. For example,… Continue Reading

Fine new album of Buxtehude’s sacred cantatas

Fine new album of Buxtehude’s sacred cantatas

I keep an eye on the classic charts, and recently noticed at this week’s #14 spot an album entitled Buxtehude: Abendmusiken (Evening Music | Amazon). I was glad I did, so I pass it along to you too. Performed by the vocal ensemble Vox Luminis led by Olivier Fortin, the recording features a fine selection… Continue Reading

What do “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” mean?

What do “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” mean?

The New Testament does not have a whole lot to say about music specifically, but the two primary passages that do, Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, have certainly created a lot of debate and speculation. In particular, Christians have long puzzled over the meaning of the terms psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs in these passages. In the most… Continue Reading

What is a “traditional hymn”?

What is a “traditional hymn”?

A friend recently asked how I would define a “traditional hymn” in contrast to a “contemporary worship song,” so I thought I’d post my response here as well: The difference has nothing to do with when the song was written, which is why I actually don’t like “traditional” or “contemporary” as modifiers. I prefer to… Continue Reading

A Plea to Teach Children Hymns

A Plea to Teach Children Hymns

Adults must stop catering to the immaturity in young people. If they want to bridge the so-called “generation gap,” they need to expect more of children, train them to understand and appreciate deep truth and solid hymns, and help them grow to be mature by weaning them from trivial expressions of praise to God. Worship… Continue Reading

A plea for singing hymns in family worship

A plea for singing hymns in family worship

It’s no secret that people sing much less than they used to. Generally, as a culture, we listen to a lot of music, but make very little. We leave music making to professionals. And this is to our loss as a society. In Wiser than Despair, Quentin Faulkner asks us to “Consider … the disappearance of community singing (whether… Continue Reading