04 March 2008 ~ 7 Comments

The Heritage Of Hymns

I was having coffee this morning with an amazing couple from our church.  God has birthed in them a growing passion to reach out to the builder generation and the retiring boomers to help them see their continuing value in the body of Christ and his work.

We got to talking about music styles and he said something that I found interesting.  Loose paraphrase to follow:

I think one of the reasons that lots of older people desire to see more hymns in the church isn’t just because of their preferences.  These are songs that have been passed down in the church from hundreds of years through the church.  Now, if this generation chooses to throw them away, they feel that they are responsible as the generation that was not able to successfully hand down this heritage.  The line is broken with them.

I thought that was a pretty interesting perspective.  One I haven’t heard or considered before.

Your thoughts?

7 Responses to “The Heritage Of Hymns”

  1. Ed 6 March 2008 at 3:42 pm Permalink

    It is true that there are some verses that seem like formulas, but are we to assume that if the formulas are followed the results are always the same? I think when we create our own formulas and expect God to bend to our personal agenda we can get a let down really fast. We can also expect certain outcomes if we believe in a particular scripture and we can be wrong because it does not align with God’s purpose for us personally. Maybe the same can be true with worship. Should I assume that my personal formula for worship is what God desires?

  2. eric 5 March 2008 at 9:54 pm Permalink

    I love the thought of our parents generation feeling the pressure of passing on hymns to us. I’m not sure that’s the case most of the time though. I tend to agree with Kevin… I think most Hymn lovers are trying to re-create a feeling/experience. It’s the same thing we do when we try to re-create the last Passion or Hillsong Conference. To be honest, sometimes it actually works too… We actually try to do a hymn a week to connect with that generation.
    I’m not sure that I agree with the statement that “God doesn’t work in formulas.” Last time I checked, the Bible was chalked full of formulas. (paraphrases) – “Draw close to me and I’ll draw close to you” “Seek first the kingdom of heaven…” “If my people who are called by my name…” “Choose this day, blessing or cursing…” “Bring the whole tithe in and see…”
    Seems like there are quite a few formulas in the Bible if you ask me.
    By the way Bobby, I got to chat with your Father-in-law today. Pretty neat guy. I wonder what he thinks about hymns???

  3. nate davis 5 March 2008 at 1:22 pm Permalink

    hmmm,never thought of it that way….i like

  4. Jamie Petersen 5 March 2008 at 9:41 am Permalink

    Oh, believe me…the hymns are alive and well here in Minnesota.

  5. kevin 5 March 2008 at 8:54 am Permalink

    I too had never thought of that option, but i’d like to add another option to the fire.
    I was in a class down here in SoCal on sunday afternoon, and the idea was brought up, that some people change churches, because there Pastor isn’t preaching good enough, or the songs don’t have enough hymns or not enough rock n’ roll. etc.
    Now to not make a huge 200 page mispelled ungrammer checked post, I’ll say these points.
    – When people experience God in a great way, they want to continue to have that feeling. So they re-create (no relation to the conference… never been, sure its great) that event. Its like we think a formula A+B+C= Presence of God. If i sing these styles of songs, wearing my suit and listening to a good sermon that really penetrates my soul, i’ll get to feel that feeling i did when i was a little boy.
    God doesn’t work with formulas last i checked. and to blame a style of worship, or a pastors message, or ridicule the church for not keeping the dress code is quite honestly a personal issue.
    I loved how it was stated in the class, that when people leave there church in search for another, they actually tell them to go back to the church they grew up in. They could very easily be going through a season in their life where God is distant and trying to teach that person something. A lot of Christians think that if we don’t feel God near us, we must be doing something wrong. So not the case.
    So there is something to be said about keeping the old stuff. And the same goes for the people that can’t worship with the Hymns. God can and will be worshiped in many ways.
    Are you as a worshiper and Follower of Christ willing to find out and test different frames around a picture to accent the many different Characteristics God has to offer. If we never change the Frame, the same features are always accented and focused on.
    Switch it up a little.
    that is all.

  6. kim 4 March 2008 at 9:19 pm Permalink

    My pastor has a similar idea to this. His thought is that in the older generation, loyalty to the generation above them is nearly the top priority in life. To stray from a worship style that was foundational for their parents is equal to dishonoring their parents, which is unthinkable.
    I can understand the logic, but I don’t agree with the priority or the practice of imposing this value on the church now.

  7. Scott 4 March 2008 at 8:02 pm Permalink

    I can see that, but isn’t it the same every time there is a shift in the music of the church? In the late 19th century, people were upset because dotted rhythms had entered the melodies of church songs and the “older songs” weren’t used as much. The newer songs (i.e. “Love Lifted Me”)sounded too much like the popular songs of the day. It seems to me to be very cyclical and the songs that are quality, regardless of the style, and teach truth will find a way to be passed down.


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