In church on Sunday, we sang some hymns. As the congregation would finish the first verse, the leader would, quite predictably, tell us to skip to the third, then to the last. I understand the constraints of time and wanting to get at least a little of the song sung, but it is a bit sad to not sing the whole hymn. I have this funny picture in my mind of these yellowed-sheet music cartoon figures dancing around with picket signs that say “DON’T IGNORE THE FOURTH!” and “NOT THE FIRST, BUT STILL HAVE WORTH”. Many hymns have ‘too many’ verses to completely sing them in a church service, and I have noticed time and again that we breeze by quite a load of theology when they all aren’t included in the morning worship. One of the things I liked about BSF was that we sang the whole hymn, verse by verse.
Here’s a look at what we miss when we go skipping through some well-known sacred songs:
From the middle of What A Friend We Have In Jesus, by Joseph Scriven:
Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.
He Hideth My Soul, by Fanny Crosby:
With numberless blessings each moment He crowns
And filled with His fullness divine
I sing in my rapture, oh, glory to God
For such a Redeemer as mine!
From Amazing Grace, by John Newton:
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail
And mortal life shall cease
I shall possess within the veil
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God who called me here below
Will be forever mine.
O Thou, In Whose Presence, by Joseph Swain:
He looks, and ten thousand of angels rejoice
And myriads now wait for His word
He speaks, and eternity, filled with His voice
Re-echoes the praise of the Lord.
I saved the best for last. Do you know what ‘myriad’ means? Really big- innumerable. As I read the words of this verse, I am suddenly transported to the Throne itself, in the midst of stadium upon stadium of angelic beings all waiting, with baited breath, for the moment HE says it is time to go get His Bride. If you haven’t heard Fernando Ortega sing this hymn, you have seriously missed out.
Have you hugged a hymnal today?
Photo: a scene from A Charlie Brown Christmas