Of Hymns (and Praise and Worship)

Posted: March 13, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

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 “Throwback Thursday” (TBT) has become a common buzzword among the social media crowd and, though I rarely participate in the sharing of past photos and memories, I have found the opportunity for such reflection to be helpful (and even healing) when I do share. Today , being Thursday, has made me ponder on a quite a few things (good and bad) And while my mind and heart is filled with many various thoughts, I feel the Holy Spirit has centered me on this one topic today; Praise and Worship.

I grew up in a very “Baptist type” church, with a hymnal in my hands. I sang words I rarely ever thought about (and, to be honest, felt boring and antiquated at the time.)

As a teenager, I discovered the Pentacostal denomination and eagerly embraced the more modern “praise and worship” chorus’s and songs. (although it would still take me years to understand and embrace the theology)

Of course, my then boyfriend ( now husband) was the very cute drummer on the church worship team  (and he still is!..cute..and a drummer..:) So, perhaps that played a part..

But, I also loved to have my hands free from the hymnal to raise in worship!

For a long time I left the old hymns and hymnals behind me- until our son was born.

(Nathan’s story has a blog of it’s own and if you are so inclined I encourage you to read it because it is an amazing story of miraculous healing.)  http://whyibelieveinmiracles.blogspot.com/

Those long months while our baby son was confined to hospital bed in the PICU I had much time to just sit by his side.

What did I do in those long hours while the machines buzzed and beeped and hummed?

I often softly sang all the old hymns I had learned in childhood!

Some of the nurses encouraged it. Others told me to stop because Nathans blood pressure would go up when he would hear my voice and they did not want him “agitated”.

(I know he just wanted held, poor thing. because, when he was  newborn, and before we knew of his condition, the only way he would sleep was if I sat in a rocking chair all night, and rocked and sang to him..) #zombiesingingmommy

But, what I learned in those moments of my some of my deepest darkness was that those hymns had somehow stuck in my head, even the lyrics. I took comfort in words like;

” What a friend we have in Jesus.

All our sins and griefs he bears.

What a privilege to carry,

everything to God in prayer!”.

or

” Rock of ages, cleft for me.

Let me hide myself in thee..”

OR

“When peace like a river

attendeth my way

when troubles like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot

thou hast taught me to say

It is well!

It is well!

with my soul.”

I dont think I would have been able to bear much of that time in those sterile, clinical, and sad hospital rooms without those words and music in my head and heart.

When I was a little girl my father use to take a record from our record cabinet (yes, Im old enough to remember those)

place it on the turntable and then turn to me and smile in a goofy way..

Soon enough the lyrics to “O How I Love Jesus” would come wafting into the room.

After the chorus where it says ” Oh how I love Jesus, Oh how I love Jesus” there was a non lyric bridge and here my father would interject in a singsong voice

“Oh. Melinda do you love Jesus?”

and I would respond as he had taught me by singing back

“yes, I love Jesus.”

To which he would sing back “Oh why do you love Jesus?”

and I would answer

“Here’s why I love Jesus. Because He first loved me!” ..

(Im singing as I type this and smiling..:)

It’s amazing when I ponder how much a parent can instill into a child without even trying and how those simple moments can be pivotal someday to that child’s growth and beliefs..I will never forget happy memories like that one!

Today I do love modern praise and worship.

Im a huge fan of Jesus Culture and Hillsong United (we have even driven out of the state to attend worship concerts hosted by these groups) But, I will never ever put down the good old hymns and chorus’ of my childhood.

The sound of the older hymns may be old fashioned and repetitious

(many were modeled after player piano bar song melodies after all!  Interesting fact many do not know 🙂

But the messages of love and hope still ring faithful and true.

Whether we are singing a song made famous by John Mark McMillan like ” How He loves” or an old song like “O How He loves You and Me” (written in the early 1970’s), the heart and message of the song is still there,

if the singer or the listener is open to hear it.

“O how He loves you and me, O how He loves you and me, 

He gave His life, what more could He give?
O how He loves you, O how He loves me,
O how He loves you and me.

Jesus to Calvary did go, His love for mankind to show;
What He did there brought hope from despair:
O how He loves you,

O how He loves me,
O how He loves you and me.”

-Kurt Kaiser

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