Tuesday, April 24, 2007

An Easy Way To Find Hymns For Family Worship

I didn't learn many hymns growing up. Our family rarely attended church.

But as a dad I am increasingly seeing the importance of exposing my children to the sacred music of our faith. Not just K-Love. I mean the God-centered worship songs form former generations who really knew God.

That's why I was excited to find the Reformed University Fellowship online hymnbook. They host a directory of hundred of solid Christ-exalting hymns. These are complete with lead sheets and Mp3 demonstrations. These are actual recordings of the first verse by a female soloist with an guitar accompaniment. This is a beautiful way to make these available to modern worship leaders. HT: Generations. Here is an example:

Be Thou My Vision

1. Be Thou my vision,
O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me,
save that Thou art
Thou my best thought,
by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping,
Thy presence my light.

2. Be Thou my wisdom,
and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and
Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father,
and I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling,
and I with Thee one.

3. Riches I heed not,
nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance,
now and always:
Thou and Thou only,
first in my heart,
High king of heaven,
my treasure Thou art.

4. High king of heaven,
my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys,
O bright heaven's sun!
Heart of my own heart,
whatever befall,
Still be my vision,
O ruler of all.

Public Domain


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1 comment:

Mike said...

Tony,

Thanks for this post. I've really appreciated the beauty and theology of many of the hymns, including those not often sung anymore, even in more "traditional" churches.

These also provide a great opportunity for teaching Christian history, as hymns are often tied t important events. For expample, Edith Gilling Cherry's "We Rest On Thee" was sung by the five missionaries martyred in Ecuador half a century ago; "Here Is Love," an absolutely amazing hymn not found in many books today, was the anthem of the Welsh revival of 1904; and of course we can teach about William Wilberfoce's courage against the backdrop of John Newton's "Amazing Grace."

The hymns are also a treasure trove of prayers for family worship and private study, such as the already posted "Be Thou My Vision" and this third verse of "Here Is Love":

Let me all Thy love accepting,
Love Thee, ever all my days;
Let me seek Thy kingdom only
And my life be to Thy praise;
Thou alone shalt be my glory,
Nothing in the world I see.
Thou hast cleansed and sanctified me,
Thou Thyself hast set me free.

A couple of other resources: CyberHymnal.org, which contains the words and MIDI files, as well as some background info on about any hymn you could think of; the .pdf of the original Trinity Hymnal (words only, but over 700 hymmns and easily searchable); and any number of CDs. There are a few other resources, such as the 901-hymn handbook called "Christian Hymns," originally published by the Evangelical Movement of Wales and now by Evangelical Press. I'm not sure how to get it in the U.S., but I'm checking on it.