Grab Yourself A Hymnbook And Sing!

In January, I was at a fundraiser for a Christian non-profit organization. A college-aged woman sat down next to me. I know who she is, but I do not know her well. A fellow was singing on stage. His songs (hymns) were songs a person would find in any hymnbook.

He sang “Blessed Assurance.” The woman said, “That song was awesome.” Knowing she was a churchgoer, I asked if she had heard the song before. She told me, “No.”

For those who don’t know, “Blessed Assurance” was published in 1873 and first appeared in a hymnal in 1887; in the forty-nine years I have been a Christian, I have never seen a hymnbook without it.

The next song the fellow sang was “My Saviour’s Love,” which first appeared in a hymnbook in 1905. Again, I have never seen a hymnbook without the song.

When the song ended, she said, “Oh, that was even better than the first one! I wonder where he finds these songs. I’ve never heard them before.”

“Does your church use a song book?”

“No, the songs are shown on the screen. We sing the words.”

Then the man started singing “Amazing Grace.”

If Christianity had an anthem, it would be “Amazing Grace.” John Newton wrote the song in 1772. A song cherished by Christians and many who have never darkened the door of a church would, at least, recognize “Amazing Grace.”

“You do know this one, don’t you?”

She laughed and said, “Of course, I know Amazing Grace.”

I could not help but ask, “Have you ever sung Amazing Grace in church?”

Her mood got serious; she had to think for a few minutes. “No, come to think of it, I don’t believe we ever have.”

“Blessed Assurance,” “My Saviour’s Love,” and “Amazing Grace,” three hymns loved by Christians for hundreds of years, are not being sung in some churches today; replaced by worship jingles.

In the modern church, preachers have replaced preaching about sin with a feel-good gospel, newer versions of the Scripture have watered down the Word of God, and the songs of old, filled with doctrine and truth, have been replaced with chants repeating the exact words and phrases over and over again (Jeremiah 7:8; 2 Timothy 2:14).

From the first stanza of “Blessed Assurance” – “Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.”

Wrapped up in these words are several incredible truths – we must be born again (John 3:3), we can become the children of God (John 1:12), the saved are adopted children of God the Father (Romans 8:14-17), God has bought us with the precious blood of His Son (1 Corinthians 7:23; 1 Peter 1:18-19), and we receive the Holy Spirit upon salvation (Romans 8:9).

Regarding “My Saviour’s Love,” the third stanza is my favorite part of the song. It reads, “He took my sins and my sorrows, He made them His very own: He bore the burden to Calv’ry, and suffered, and died alone.” This stanza explains what Christ did for me, what He did for all of us. It does not take a theologian to sing these words and think of the scourging, the nails of the cross, the torture He suffered because I am a sinner. Only His blood could remove my sin (Titus 3:4-7).

The first and last lines of “Amazing Grace” are precious to me. “Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!” God’s salvation, through the blood of His Son, will keep us from a wretched life. The Christian life is not perfect because people aren’t perfect. But when the difficult times arise, the Christian has comfort, peace, and the answers as close as a bended knee and a Bible away. The God of all comfort, the Prince of Peace, will never leave or forsake us. Even in the rough seas of life, God quiets the storm (Isaiah 9:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Hebrews 13:5).

The last line of “Amazing Grace” tells us how precious our salvation is and tries to explain the length of eternity – “When we’ve been there the thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we first begun.” What a reminder of what Christ has done and will do for us!

My conversation with the young lady made me wonder if this generation of Christians has ever heard great hymns like “Are You Washed In The Blood,” “There Is Power In The Blood,” “At The Cross,” “Redeemed,” and hundreds more.

I understand that music preferences change from one generation to the next; after all, big-band music is seldom heard today. But the hymnbook hymns have stood the test of time, appealing and treasured by Christians for centuries. These songs, filled with truth, speak to and change hearts. They are more than just songs; God works through them.

Christian, grab yourself a hymnbook and sing!