When New Meets Old

22 04 2008

I love the hymns.  The older I get, the more my love for them grows.  So many are filled with rich theology expressed in beautiful poetic language.  They paint pictures.  They tell stories.  They are filled with testimony and truth.  It grieves my heart that many churches have thrown them out in an attempt to “connect” with the younger crowd.  But it revives my heart to see what some of the “younger crowd” are doing with these hymns; they are bringing them back.

It seems like I am finding more and more Christian musicians who are delighting in the hymns. 

About 6 months ago I bought the Chris Rice album Peace Like a River on iTunes.  It is filled with rich hymns well done in a simple acoustic style that appeals to the younger crowd.  I love that he took “Come Thou Fount” back to the original lyrics (which are far superior to what is in most modern church hymnals!) and is introducing the original song to an brand new generation.  His melodic rendition of “O Love that Will Not Let Me Go” is another example of this great marriage of old and new.  How many are familiar with this hymn?  How many, after listening to Rice’s beautiful harmony and gentle acoustic guitar picking version of it, can get it out of there mind?  I know I find myself humming through the melody and the words regularly.

Following the Chris Rice “discovery” I then came across Red Mountain Church and their music.  Red Mountain Church is located in Alabama and is blessed with gifted musicians and a love for hymns.  They have put out several “Red Mountain Church” albums and some from the church have also done solo projects. Their music is filled with acoustic instrumentation, sung and performed by the “younger crowd,” who dig up some wonderful old treasures (ever heard of “Jesus cast a look upon me” or “Thy blood was shed for me”?) and are reviving songs that the church has “lost.”

Then two weeks ago, our church secretary let me listen to a CD by Jadon Lavik called Roots Run Deep.  I love it!  Most of the hymns on the CD are found in a typical church hymnal, but his arrangements really give them musical excitement and breathe fresh life into some wonderful songs.  His version of “Tis So Sweet” is probably worth the album itself, but I also really enjoy the upbeat “Wondrous Love” and the jazz rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

These three are examples of musicians reworking old hymns for a new audience, but there are also those who are writing new hymns for the church.  Later this week, I’ll share some of those recent treasures I’ve found. 




3 responses

23 04 2008

Great post Ryan! You hit the nail right on the head. Last week someone mentioned contemporary music to Ryrie and asked what he thought. He said that the problem with “seven-elevens” is that they usually don’t teach. Most hymns are loaded with theology that we can learn and reflect on while we worship.
Our church has three morning services. The first service is the Praise and Worship service and the second two are the Traditional services. We go to the traditional service ’cause we don’t enjoy seven-elevens. I already said that 18 times and I meant it the first time. :)

23 04 2008

Reading your posts always convicts me of my lack of love for and knowledge of our great God. I’m so thankful for His conviction and grace! And for being able to study with your dear wife — my precious friend! (some day we’ll get back to our “Knowing God” book! :)) — and to be able to sing to Him and read His Word and talk to Him! I’m so glad HE is faithful! Anyway…I mention all this because there is a hymn I was singing today (actually brought me to tears & I couldn’t finish all the words) … praise God for working through hymns! I wanted to share it …

“We Have not Known Thee as We Ought”
Thomas Pollock

We have not known thee as we ought,
Nor learned thy wisdom, grace and pow’r;
The things of earth have filled our thought,
And trifles of the passing hour.
Lord, give us light thy truth to see,
And make us wise in knowing thee.

We have not feared thee as we ought,
Nor bowed beneath thine awful eye,
Nor guarded deed, and word, and thought,
Remembering that God was nigh.
Lord, give us faith to know thee near,
And grant the grace of holy fear.

We have not loved thee as we ought,
Nor cared that we are loved by thee;
Thy presence we have coldly sought,
And feebly longed thy face to see.
Lord, give a pure and loving heart
To feel and own the love thou art.

We have not served thee as we ought;
Alas! the duties left undone,
The work with little fervor wrought,
The battles lost, or scarcely won!
Lord, give the zeal, and give the might,
For thee to toil, for thee to fight.

When shall we know thee as we ought,
And fear, and love, and serve aright!
When shall we, out of trial brought,
Be perfect in the land of light!
Lord, may we day by day prepare
To see thy face, and serve thee there.

27 01 2010

You should look into Indelible Grace music at igracemusic.com. They have taken hundreds of rewritten hymns and put them to excellent music.

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