Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lost Treasure

"Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." -- Ephesians 5:19-20

In a world of contemporary worship, the treasure of traditional hymns has all but been lost. Most of us are familiar with "Amazing Grace" and "How Great Thou Art," but there are so many cherished hymns that you might not know. Many of today's contemporary Christian artists draw on the rich heritage of the hymns some of us grew up with, but for the most part hymns have been replaced by a new song written for a new generation of believers. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but there are those like my children who will grow up without the rich doctrine and familiar melodies of the hymns that are a part of our legacy of faith.

One of my devotional readings included the following lyrics from an old, perhaps lesser known hymn, "There's a Wideness in God's Mercy," written by Frederick William Faber in 1862. "If our love were but more simple, we should take Him at His word; and our lives would be all sunshine in the sweetness of our Lord." When I read that half stanza, the melody of this hymn, which I have not sung in decades, came pouring back into my memory. As I hummed this tune on my morning walk and meditated on the words of that stanza, the rest of the lyrics surfaced from memory giving me a complete song to offer in praise to my Lord.

When is the last time you sang a hymn? If you grew up in a church where hymns were the norm rather than the exception, then you have a rich storehouse of treasure laid up to encourage you in your walk with God. If, on the other hand, hymns are something with which you are unfamiliar, find a hymnal and begin reading the inspired poetry that men and women have written through the years. Your heart will be encouraged and uplifted by the beautiful expressions of faith and biblical truth that have been passed down for generations.

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