What are some words that come to mind when you hear the word “hymns?” Do you think of these words? Old. Boring. Stodgy. Irrelevant. If so, then I’d love to offer an additional perspective for you.
You see, I used to be there with these identical mindsets. I grew up going to church with my parents singing from hymn books, and wondering what in the world I was doing singing songs that were hundreds of years old. In college, I committed my life to Christ and I was a part of a tremendous church singing some hip, rockin’, relevant songs: not too many hymns (if any at all). So, what were those hip, rockin’, relevant songs we were singing? You know. The greats! Songs like, Shine, Jesus Shine, Victory Chant, It’s Amazing, and Lord I Lift Your Name on High. We were a rockin’ church! One thousand people doing the secret hand-clap at just the right moment on Shine, Jesus Shine was always an epic moment!
But, where are those songs today? I hate to say it, but they are gathering dust. Now, do not get me wrong. Those songs had a time and a place. They were fun, exciting songs…for the time. As hard as it is to hear, (trust me, I’ve been there), those hip, rockin’ relevant songs we’re singing today…likely won’t be around in five years. It’s just like culture: out with the old and in with the new.
But, hymns…hymns! They have stood the test of time and rooted themselves into our minds and our hearts as timeless songs that will likely be sung to the end of our lives and beyond. We don’t exactly drive down the road blasting 90.5 Hymn FM (that is a completely fictional radio station I just made up…if it’s actually real…sorry about that). So, why is it that hymns are still around, and should we be singing them?
My vote (a couple of years ago my vote would have been different) is that a great number of hymns are more relevant and impactful today than many of the songs we currently sing. Now, by all means, I love a lot of the worship, heart, and passion in the current worship music scene today. I’m not arguing against this. I’m arguing for us to also include more of the ancient. I am leaning this way because of where we are today as a culture. We are in an ever-changing, ever-growing, ever-developing culture that thrives on what is new. If it happened a year ago, that’s old news. If it happened five minutes ago and you didn’t catch the update on social media, then you are out of the loop and dated.
The hymns that have stood the test of time were written by men and women with a solid biblical theology that stood strong in the midst of the ever-changing currents of culture. The words are rich with meaning. They are dripping with Biblical references, if we take the time to look. Many are not mere opinions, but Biblical truths that are being expressed in song. If we naturally lean towards the thought that we only want to sing what top artists are singing, then I encourage us to see that some of our favorite artists, Chris Tomlin, Bethel Music, Hillsong Worship, Paul Baloche, Third Day, David Crowder, Israel Houghton, Passion Band, and Matt Redman, are ALL singing and have recorded hymns for the benefit of exalting the name of Jesus.
Let me encourage you this Easter season to slow down, focus your eyes on the cross and the empty tomb, and grab hold of a hymn that has been sang for hundreds and hundreds of years. Read the words and be captured by the depth, theology, and truth behind many of these ancient tunes. When our hearts are on God, and we sing these hymns to His glory, hands will be lifted high in surrender all around the sanctuary.
Here they are, in no particular order, the Top 10 Hymns You Should Be Singing This Easter.
2. Amazing Grace
3. It Is Well
4. How Great Thou Art
5. Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery
6. Blessed Assurance
7. I Surrender All
8. Great Is Thy Faithfulness
9. Nothing But the Blood
10. A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
Let me know what you think, and what songs you are singing this Easter!