Do you love the old hymns? Do your children? Perhaps you’ve never really been exposed to the Church’s great treasure trove of historic worship. The pictures above are of our friends in the nursing home we ministered at in Hawaii. These dear saints LOVED singing the old hymns with our family. They might not be able to remember their own names but they could remember every word to “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” There’s so much to be gained from sharing our rich heritage of music with the next generation. The problem is, there are so many centuries worth to choose from it’s hard to know where to start. One easy way is to pick up a hymnal, start with page one, and pull up a youtube video of someone else performing the song so you can hear how the tune goes.
Another way we’ve found to keep our kids engaged in learning these songs is by going through the hymnal every school year and finding all the ones that have something to do with our creation science theme for that year. For example, this year since we’re studying the swimming and flying creatures of the 5th day we’re singing all the hymns that mention birds (there really aren’t any about fish). Last year it was all the hymns that mentioned the sun, moon, stars, etc. The year before that was anything geological or botanical. Believe me, hymns are mainly really great doctrinally rich poetry put to well-metered music so they are FULL of imagery from God’s book of nature. Then while we’re singing it the boys have to listen for the part that goes with our theme and try to be the first to raise their hand when we come to it. Here are a few lines from some of the hymns we’ve been enjoying for the month of September. I’ve provided links to youtube videos where you can hear the tunes.
“Praise to the Lord, who o’re all things so wondrously reigneth, Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!” from Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
“Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea, chanting bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.” from Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
“When through the woods and forest glades I wander and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees, when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur, and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze. Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to. Thee; How great Thou art!” from How Great Thou Art
“He by Himself hath sworn, I on His oath depend, I shall, on eagles wings up borne, to heaven ascend.” from The God of Abraham Praise
“This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise, the morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.” from This is My Father’s World
“Each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings, He made their glowing colors, He made their tiny wings.” from All Things Bright and Beautiful
Please parents, don’t let these treasures of our faith be lost to the next generation. Save our songs!
While living in Hawaii I was thrilled to discover their rich heritage of hymnody. The Lord even led us to the attend services at the oldest church in Hawaii where I got to learn to sing some of the old hymns in Hawaiian with the choir. The boys even got to fill in for the scant “bass section” on occasion :).
I’m teaching Joel high school German this year and my goal is to get him to learn one of the old German hymns on the piano and sing along in the original language. Meanwhile, Titus has been busy composing hymn renditions for classical guitar. He and Nathan were able to perform one of his bluegrass renditions of “How Firm a Foundation” at the Steinway Gallery earlier this year.
“Let every kindred, every tribe, on this terrestrial ball, to Him all majesty ascribe, and crown Him Lord of all!”