I never thought I would like old hymns as much as I like them these days. When I say old hymns, I mean the kind of songs that people sing in church that sound like they’ve been around since before grandma and grandpa were around.
When I started singing them, I couldn’t get passed the thous and the thys. They seemed to be everywhere, at the end of verses and between words when you least expected them. I’d ask myself why we would sing in a language that doesn’t exist, that only existed for a short period, in a faraway place.
The more I sang them, the more I learned. The more I learned, the more I fell in love with them. Not the thous and the thys, but all the other words. What I learned in one of the hymns is that I had to get out of the way, and just listen. “I surrender all… I surrender all…”
We all know Amazing Grace, probably the most popular of old hymns. It has a message to which we can all relate. Even those that aren’t religious feel connected to it somehow. Maybe we were all lost at one point and then were found. We were all wretches that needed saving from ourselves.
As I stood in church over time, singing and reading, I began to realize why hymns have some kind of power to stand the test of time. Amazing Grace was written in the 1700s. That’s over 200 years of singing, and of worshipping.
It’s funny how you can create your own stumbling block. How you can talk yourself out of anything. How you could make something negative out of something positive. That’s what I was doing.
Every generation is different. Styles of music change. When I’m in my car, driving on a long stretch of highway with the windows open, I don’t listen to hymns. They don’t seem so fitting them. Something louder with a catchy, repeatable chorus does the trick then. Something you sing at the top of your lungs because it’s only you and the dry desert around you.
Then there are those quiet moments at the end of a busy day. It’s time to relax and reflect on whatever is on your mind. The challenges you have overcome. The gratefulness of what you have all around you. Those are the times that I…