I had the privilege of leading worship for the 'traditional' service at Saint Louis Park Evangelical Free Church this morning. My dad spoke there this morning, too, and I am always blessed by opportunities to work with him as a team in this way. The congregation that attends this service is precious and full of encouraging people and one of the women looked at my hand and exclaimed 'Oh you're married!? You look so young to be married!' I think I shocked her when I told her I was married AND had a child AND I eventually told her I was 28 after she said 'you don't barely look old enough to be out of high school' (which I'm taking as a compliment?! :)).
Anyway - what I wanted to say was - I am thankful for hymns. Leading a "traditional" service meant I got to pick hymns to sing with the congregation today. It was a refreshing week for me. Hymns express things about our Christian faith that I find lacking in modern/contemporary Christian music. I have appreciated the 'remaking' of hymns by contemporary artists but there is just something about how hymns are sung and the way the text directs your thinking that goes deeper than what I'm finding in many (NOT all) contemporary Christian 'worship tunes' (ugh - I hate that term but this is a blog about being thankful so I'll end my rant right now - done.). Dad was preaching on 'the way of the cross' and about the cost of being a true follower, not just a fan, of Jesus. This led my planning into songs such as "When I Survey the Wonderful Cross", "My Jesus I Love Thee" and "Jesus Paid It All". During the season of Easter, hymns that tell the story of Jesus' sacrifice for us on the cross and his victory over death - they are just powerful and perhaps it's because of the stories they tell. Perhaps it's because I have grown up knowing hymns that I find them meaningful but I think there is more to them than just tradition. While I have often found myself leading in the contemporary/modern worship setting, I will always be a believer in the power of hymns and in the teaching of them to congregations, even if they are played with drums, bass, and electric guitar. It's an important part of our faith's 'musical heritage' and I was thankful for the opportunity to spend some time with some of these hymns this week.
"Jesus paid it all
all to him I owe
sin has lost it's crimson stain
He washed me white snow."