Greetings Fellow traveller,
Today in our morning worship, we have an opportunity to sing some favourite hymns. Even though we are living through significant changes in Church life, hymns still have an important place in our Christian tradition and practice.
Naturally, there have been significant changes in hymn style, language and music over the centuries. Yet, for each generation hymns continue to reach a place within our inner being.
From time to time, a comment is offered to me like; that hymn brought back memories of ………… The person would then share a period in their life when they were going through a particular vulnerable time, a hymn was sung and it touched them. Sometimes that hymn brought comfort, while at other times whenever it is heard, a tender memory is evoked, and they are once more transported to another time and place.
I readily accept the theology portrayed in some hymns is questionable and at times I cringe when I read or attempt to sing the words. Yet, despite this, I acknowledge that for another traveller on the faith journey, that hymn I found questionable is what sustains and strengthens them. One size certainly does not fit all.
Sometimes, we may sing or read a hymn on our own, this may offer us some pleasure, however, hymns are meant to be sung with others. It is when we sing with others, within community, that we experience a mutual uplifting and maybe, for a moment, we are lost in wonder, love and grace. I leave you with these words of an ancient hymn:
God be in my head,
and in my understanding;
God be in mine eyes,
and in my looking;
God be in my mouth,
and in my speaking;
God be in my heart,
and in my thinking;
God be at mine end,
and at my departing.
(With One Voice Hymnbook no. 456)