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The Old Hymnal

I miss singing from the old hymnals. As a voice teacher, I know the advantages of holding your head up as you read from the screen in the front of the church. But as a book enthusiast, I miss holding a book in my hands. A book that is a collection of hundreds of songs that have stood the test of time.

Most of our churches don’t even have hymnals any more. Our church does, but we seldom use them. I enjoy leafing through the pages before we begin singing, and letting the words bless my soul. I do that at home, too. In addition to the Scripture, of course, the lyrics of hymns provide good devotional material.

Instead of just wishing for things to be different, a group of people in our church asked for a time to do some old fashioned singing out of the hymnals. We were given a 4:30 time on Sunday afternoons. That time has worked out very well, especially for us older people. We sing some of the favorite choruses from childhood and teenage years, as well as old hymns and gospel songs. We have special music, testimonies and prayer time.

After taking the summer off, we are anticipating the second year of our “hymn sings,” which begins next Sunday. Hopefully we will be able to get more of the younger generations involved. People of all ages are blessed by the meaningful wealth of the old hymns. (You might check out a previous blog called “Hymn Treasures.”)

Maybe you could start such a group. All you need is a piano, a pianist, some hymnals, and a group of people who love to sing God’s praises. For those of you who still use hymnals, God bless you. For those of you who aren’t so blessed, instead of complaining about it, I challenge you to at least try to do something to counteract the deficiency. It could be a great blessing to many of your friends. You might not be able to have a group every week, but once a month, or every two or three months could work.

I’m not saying that the newer songs aren’t good. I write new songs. Songs from all periods and in all styles can be used to praise the Lord. I just think that in the process of embracing the new we shouldn’t neglect the old.

Can you see a way in which you can help put the old hymnals to good use, and in the process bless the Lord for whom their contents were written?


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