Good Hymns Take Time

As part of this morning's devotions, I decided that I would sing a Christmas hymn that (a) I don't often sing, (b) is still appropriate on the 11th (i.e. not of the "this night/morning" variety), and (c) is really, really good. Alas, such hymns are not so easy to find. Not chiefly because I know…

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From God Can Nothing Move Me

Some notes on the hymn that will be sung at Our Saviour Lutheran Church and Brighton Lutheran Mission as the hymn of the day tomorrow, Trinity 14, 2016: This hymn was written by Ludwig Helmbold (1532–98), a teacher, academic, poet and (in later life) pastor in central Germany. While he was serving as headmaster in…

Jesus, My Husband?

Another story of a hymn 'improved' by hymnal editors. John Newton, of 'Amazing Grace' fame, wrote another well-known, and a far better, hymn on the name of Jesus. It was published as part of Olney Hymns, a collaboration between Newton and William Cowper. The original text of this hymn is given below. I have put…

How to sing the faith, and how not

Have I told you lately that I'm no great fan of 'All Things Bright and Beautiful'? What strikes me about that, and some other famous and very popular hymns by Cecil Alexander, is that they were written to help her young godchildren to understand the Creed. A laudable goal indeed. Setting anything to rhyme, rhythm…

For the children’s funeral

HT: The following thought process was triggered by a series of tweets by Kathryn Because the church I serve is very small and not very well known, and it's part of a denomination that no one in this country has ever heard of, my ministry has a slightly unusual shape. Unlike my CofE colleagues, I…

Not until their taste improves

George W. Briggs (1875–1959) was an Anglican priest and hymn-writer, one of the founders of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland. His best-known hymn is 'God Hath Spoken by the Prophets', although my personal favourite is 'Now Is Eternal Life'. It turns out that he was a man of good judgement, too. In…

Abide with Me—some notes and original text

As a sort of follow-up to a past post on bad things done to good hymns (and more so), a positive story about how a great hymn came about. Abide with Me, by Henry Francis Lyte, is, by one measure, the most popular English hymn in the world (according to this table [PDF] from Christianity…

Would this be sung at your church?

Unconditionally Oh no, did I get too close? Oh, did I almost see what's really on the inside? All your insecurities All the dirty laundry Never made me blink one time Unconditional, unconditionally I will love you unconditionally There is no fear now Let go and just be free I will love you unconditionally Come…

If we are going to sing long hymns

… as I advocated in my previous post, we are going to have a couple of problems. First, it will lead to longer church services. Which, to be perfectly frank, isn't a problem at all, but a good thing. There are 168 hours in a week, most of which we spend working, sleeping, eating, drinking…

Some thoughts on long hymns

An extract from the Sunday Cantata episode for Trinity 24, first aired on 3 November 2013 on Lutheran Radio UK. In my life so far, I have been fortunate enough to have lived in a number of different countries. In fact, I have moved around enough to consider myself a bit of a home-grown expert…