The power of our hymnody
Last week at our 7:30pm Ash Wednesday service, I told the choir we were going try something new, and different. We were going to lead the entire service a ccapella. There were few looks of excitement, and many that led me to believe they thought I had finally completely lost it. The truth is, they did really well and in this manner of leading our hymnody we were able to experience in a different way, the profound harmonic and poetic beauty of our hymnody.
It was a powerful experience and one that was not lost on our Choristers. At the end of our closing hymn (Eternal Lord of love, behold your church, #149) there is the marvelous phrase that begins “glorious in springtime”. I made gesture for the choir to emphasize this (…and they were watching), and what happened next was truly transcendent. This experience caused a few of our choristers to smile, and one of our chorister’s eyes lit up, he looked at me, and in the middle of the hymn said – “Whoa! I saw and heard that…that was really awesome.” I would be surprised if hymn 149 wasn’t his new favorite hymn.
Here are some more of your favorite hymns, and why they have special meaning in your life.
Hymn 362 - Holy, Holy, Holy
Larry Carnahan writes: In the church I attended as a child, this hymn was the processional every Sunday. As a result, I learned every part as my voice changed. Years later, when I learned of my maternal grandfather's death, I decided to attend midweek services at the Church of the Epiphany in downtown DC. When Holy, Holy, Holy turned out to be the hymn used in that service, I realized what an important connection it had to my religious life. I also like its Trinity theme.
Hymn 380, Stanza 3 - The Doxology
Mike Nelson writes: The Doxology is one of the few hymns that I have memorized and one of the few. I'm comfortable singing at full volume (since I'm not a very good singer). I have memories of singing this hymn in all sorts of locations and in very special circumstances--at Shrine Mont, at Holden Village (the Lutheran Church retreat center in the northern Cascades of Washington state, as well as at countless church dinners). I always associate it with fellowship.
Hymn 688 – A mighty fortress is our God
Angie Rollet writes: Growing up, my sister and I were allowed to watch very little television. One show we watched regularly, however, was Davey and Goliath, a claymation cartoon series. It's opening theme uses the music from "A Mighty Fortress..." and when I hear the hymn it immediately takes me back to small town Nebraska, a relaxed and stress-free lifestyle, and grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup.
David Grahn writes: I grew up in the Lutheran Church. It is a powerful hymn that reminds me of my childhood and connects me with my grandfather who was a Lutheran minister serving in a number of churches in the upper Midwest.
Grant that what we sing with our lips we may believe in our hearts,
and what we believe in our hearts we may show forth in our lives.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Ben Keseley, Minister of Music
St. George’s Favorite Hymn Project:
We are collecting YOUR favorite hymns. Submit yours today.
Tell us what it is here and why.