The Joy of Hymns

There is just something about really old hymns that makes me feel like I’m in the calm of the storm around me. I grew up in a church that loved singing hymns, and honestly I never liked singing them until my late teens. But the words that made up these beautifully scripted songs always made me aware of my deep rooted sins, and made apparent God’s redeeming love at the end of each song. Now I’m older, and I really love hearing the heart behind the hymns. Why were these hymns written? what’s the story behind it? Whatever story it was, it always pointed back to Jesus making all things new, despite our flawed actions and behavior.

I looked up the word HYMN: “a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity…” and this meaning made so much sense to me, now that I’m singing these songs that often time resonate with my aching heart, that’s prone to wonder and prone to sin. My acts of worship toward God, should reflect Him in every way possible. Filled with praise, adoration, prayer, it should all be done with a pure heart! Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.” (Psalm 24:4)

One of my favorite hymns, Come Thou Fount, by the 18th century pastor and hymnist Robert Robinson. this is one of those hymns that always give me a reassurance of God’s love, despite my constant wandering far away from Him:

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

When Robert Robinson was just a small boy his dad died. Without a father to guide and steady him, he fell into bad company.
But one while making trouble, because of something, a drunken Gypsy said to him, he decided to change his ways.
So, he decided to go hear the Methodist preacher George Whitefield. and he was convicted instantly after hearing the message:  “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matthew 3:7). Robert left in dread, under a deep sense of sin that lasted for three years.
Finally, at the age of twenty, he made peace with God and immediately set out to become a Methodist preacher himself. Two years later, in 1757, he wrote a hymn which expressed his joy in his new faith, This hymn we now know as ‘Come Thou Fount’.

Just as Robert expressed his joy in his new faith by writing this hymn, I think we should also express our joy in Giving praise, adoration, and glory to The One who deserves it.

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