Friday, August 29, 2008

My Favorite Hymns: Final Assessment

With great difficulty, I pruned my list to 25.

What have I gained out of all these hymns?

In my young and middle adulthood, I could learn any hymn in three verses. The first verse, I followed along. The second verse, I sang. The third verse, I sang out, I had it.

Now I can’t sing the even ones I love.

Do hymns influence what we believe? The elders chose hymns each Sunday to support their message. I don’t think that the hymns led me so much as reinforced my beliefs, but to have connected so quickly to “Once to Every man and Nation” I must have already believed a lot of the words. That’s pretty advanced thinking for a ten-year-old, but it is the thinking my church elders led me to. These are the hymns that still speak to me, the ones that I still hear.

The Final List:
20. “Break Thou the Bread of Life
19. “I Know My Redeemer Lives
18. “God of Grace and God of Glory
17. “Were You There?
16. “Shout to the Lord
15. “Jesus Loves Me
14. “God of Our Fathers, Whose All Mighty Hand
13. “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
12. “They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love
11. “His Eye Is on the Sparrow
10. “Blest Be the Tie That Binds
9. “Morning Has Broken
8. “Give Thanks; We Gather Together; Let All Things Now Living; Come, Ye Thankful People, Come; O, Be Joyful in the Lord
7. “Joy to the World
6. “Amazing Grace
5. “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee
4. “The Doxology and Gloria Patri
3. “O, God, Our Help in Ages Past
2. “The Lord’s My Shepherd
1. “Once to Every Man and Nation


judi said...

Tricia, this is a great essay. I don't have an all time favorite hymn list, but many of your favorites are mine, too. Lately I've been feeling emotional during some hymns that bring back memories of childhood or my parents. Last Sunday our organist/pianist played "Standing on the Promises" as the offertory and I was back at the revival meetings we used to have at Rogers Heights in the spring, my grandmother sitting next to me singing in her high, thin, twangy voice and tears started to come. Your #4 is close to my #1, since Norm and I chose "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" as our wedding processional hymn 40 years ago. Whenever it's sung in church, wherever we are, they are playing our song! Great post, and realize that you are probably more an essayist than a blogger. I am, too, because most of my blog posts are "too long," too. Plus I populate mine with pictures. I was kind of shocked to realize, once I started blogging, how visual I really am and how much I enjoy photography. Before that, I would have described myself as a word person primarily. Now, I think I'll go sit at my 85-year old Story and Clark that was my mother's and pick out a few of those hymn tunes, at least the melody!

Tricia said...

"Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" is the best piece of music on the list. How could I have not mentioned "Standing on the Promises"? It is one that I loved, but there are so many that I love. I think that the personal connection, the memories that the hymn invokes matters most. The ones we sang every Sunday resonate with me.

I noticed that my pictures on the Rogers Heights blog were not quite straight up and down. I used to do better with a film camera. I'm still learning digital. My oldest son has a BFA in photography so I have no excuse. Your photos are fantastic. I looked for photos because it adds so much to the blog, but I am very opposed to casual copyright infringement on the web, I wasn't even sure of the use of clipart in this situation, so I decided to not illustrate.

I had forgotten the revival meetings until you mentioned them.