by Rev Robert A Wendel
“Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; praise Him with the psaltery and the harp.”
“With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.”
Psalm 150:3 (KJV); Colossians 3:17 (NRSV)
I used to wonder why my parents and their friends went into moments of joy whenever they heard big-band tunes like “String of Pearls” or “Sing, Sing, Sing”. I like them too. Music in my generation included rock-n-roll, the British invasion, folk music and protest songs. The point here is that each generation has its own favorite music.
Church worship hymns span the decades. When I hear “The Church’s One Foundation”, I am reminded of the small churches where I grew up. Hymns like “Holy, Holy, Holy” take me back to any of the four congregations I was privileged to pastor. When it comes to the holidays, the seven days of Easter Week have their own handful of memory hymns which no yearly commemoration can do without. Hymns like these have connected worshipping congregations for hundreds of years. They are passed down from grandparents to grandchildren. Each hymn tells a part of the story about Jesus Christ. We learn them during our grade school days and carry them along from season to season without ever needing to look at the words in our hymnals.
Hopefully more of us will be able to gather in church during this Easter season. Remember, each spring we are obligated to remember Christ and let the joy of the music touch our hearts.
“According to survey data, there are more than three times the number of self-identifying conservation congregations in the U.S. than liberal churches. Conservatives make up nearly half of the nation’s churches, 15% identify as liberal… and 39% report they stand in the middle of the political spectrum…Black Protestants have taken the lead in reviving the liberal traditions of Christianity.”
Christian Science Monitor, March 8, 2021 p. 11