I miss the hymns.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some rock-solid worship songs being written in these modern times, and the church we’ve been attending does a great job of selecting and singing Christ-exalting songs, with the occasional hymn added to the mix. But I still miss the hymns.
Our copy of Together for the Gospel Live arrived in yesterday’s mail, and we listened to it as we drove down to Rapid City and then drove back in a good, old-fashioned South Dakota blizzard. It has sixteen songs ranging from the best of the old hymns to the best of the new songs. And what you can’t miss is the Gospel message that all these songs are permeated with: the constant reminder that, as John Newton said, “I am a great sinner, but Christ is a great saviour.”
For example, here are the words from “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood,” written by William Cowper, including a fifth verse that may not be in some of the more recent hymnals.
There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel’s veins; and sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day; and there may I, though vile as he, wash all my sins away.
Dear dying Lamb, thy precious blood shall never lose its power, till all the ransomed church of God be saved to sin no more.
E’er since by faith I saw the stream thy flowing wounds supply, redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
But when this lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave, then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing thy power to save.
“and sinners plunged beneath that flood,” … “there may I, though vile as he [the dying thief], wash all my sins away,” … “till all the ransomed church of God be saved to sin no more,” … “when this lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave, then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing thy power to save.”
I miss the hymns.