Hymns and Ever After
Hymns had been a huge part of my growing-up years. At church, we sang nothing but hymns. I could still sing many of them from memory.
In the church where I worship today, we hardly sing hymns anymore. The Praise and Worship Team prefers modern gospel songs with danceable tunes. That’s why whenever hymns are taken up in conversations today, I sit up.
One such conversation was after a corporation meeting that I attended. Over lunch, I chatted with a small group of ladies.
“Many gospel songs today are not in context,” said one, referring to the me-emotions in lyrics instead of Biblical truths.
“Hymns are enough to save you,” stressed another.
I pondered that. And I sang in my head:
Living for Jesus Who died in my place,
Bearing on Calv’ry my sin and disgrace;
Such love constrains me to answer His call,
Follow His leading and give Him my all.
Our consensus was that hymns are grounded on Scripture, on salvation, and on Christ being our Savior.
I silently hummed:
Take my love, my Lord, I pour,
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be,
Ever, only, all for Thee.
We exchanged stories about some elderly people we knew who suffered from Alzheimer’s in their last years. They had forgotten everything and everyone, but hymns. One of them sang “Amazing Grace” from the time she woke up in the morning till the time she went to bed.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind but now I see.
“My mom,” said one of us, “would ask me to sing hymns in her sick bed till the Lord took her home.”
Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me;
Still my song shall be, nearer my God to thee.
“Hymns are enough to save you . . .” because they speak of the Good News.
One gets to know about the gift of salvation, or life ever after, by hearing and reading about it. In the absence of the Bible, there are hymns—they’ve been written and put to music by our Christian brethren so we may hear about the ever after.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God . . .” Ephesians 2:8 (NIV)