Lately I’ve been using a Hymnal during my devotions… it’s funny and super ironic because I completely rejected hymns for so long, especially as a rebellious teen… they were “old and outdated” I’m a modern gal and I rolled my eyes at Hymns, “Like, why do we have to sing such old songs?? My parents are like, sooo uncool, like, there are so many new songs.. the old ones are so boring and like hundreds of years old..” (sheesh I was dumb, and I said “like” a lot!) …. Fast forward to now and I CRAVE and LOVE everything that is “old and outdated” (I think I just proved it by using the words “fast forward”, kids these days have no idea what that even means, oh gosh, I just called them “kids”… see old.), I fill my home with old stuff too. (Poor Bryson. And to clarify, he’s not old, just the “stuff”) The older and more loved it is, the more it belongs with me! Someday “The Pickers” will have a blast (blast… is that another old lady word?) at my house. I doubt the hymnals, old honey pots, and ratty quilts will be worth much, but they are very special to me, and I collect them like they’re gold because they must have such an interesting and rich history!
There is one thing I have found to be true in my love for “old”…hymns are old… some are VERY old… but outdated… nah, they are filled with so much truth and biblical theology. His truth, friends, is never outdated, in fact it just gets better and better the more we understand it!
Hymns are poetry, written from biblical theology and artistically created for us to sing and memorize. Our history in the Church and our beautiful heritage as Christ followers is rooted in the Truth that many old, and some new hymns are completely drenched in. They teach of His love, His grace, His goodness, hope, joy, peace … One of my goals this year is to introduce our kids to more hymns and read and memorize them together… maybe they’ll roll their eyes like I did. Oh well. I guess I don’t care! (I am so turning into my parents! I said I’d never do that!!! I love you mom and dad… if you are reading this. I bet you’re glad I grew up.)
Easter hymns are some of my favorites!! The Old Rugged Cross, Jesus Paid it All, Because He Lives, Christ the Lord is Risen Today… (remember that one?? It’s so fun to sing! It was written in the 1730’s by Charles Wesley) and of course, Crown Him With Many Crowns, which was the one I read and sang today. When I read these words I am filled with the truth and melody that is so rich and sweet. Sometimes I’m transported to my childhood when I read hymns…. the organ and piano together in harmony at our little church in Denison Kansas… my mom singing alto, dad looking so handsome in a suit and my sister and brothers next to me in our Easter best. Mom had probably stayed up late the night before, to finish sewing our dresses and outfits. Every inch stitched with love… I didn’t appreciate it like I should have. My shoes, lace socks, white gloves, were all shiny and new. Mom even bought us new underwear every Easter! It was important to her. (It’s her favorite holiday) Easter is all about the NEW… it’s a chance to celebrate because He has “triumphed o’re the grave, who rose victorious to the strive, For those He came to save…. And lives that death may die.” That’s why we celebrate! That’s why we wear new clothes and listen to the preacher tell us once again about how Jesus came back to life to fulfill all the prophecies and prove once and for all that he was Christ, God in the flesh! Bunnies and chocolate eggs are good… but the promise of eternal life because of what Jesus did for me is sooo good!!
After Church we probably ran around the pews with our friends and stood on the huge metal vents waiting for the air to turn on and puff up our dresses and hair while mom and dad visited with every single person at the Sunday morning service (it felt like it anyway). Those were some really sweet days, and I am blessed to have grown up singing these old and beautiful hymns in a Church that taught about His love and redemption. It took me forever to realize how blessed I truly am, not just because my parents raised me to know who God is, but because Jesus never stops loving us, never stops perusing us… In each sunrise and sunset, and especially in the spring we see Him. He visually makes all things new before our very eyes if only we pause to watch and listen! Today it’s brown in Kansas… and in a couple of weeks, that life I’m talking about will be shouting from every tree branch and every flower for us to look to the Creator. It’s not an accident that this happens each year. It’s The Story playing over and over for us to experience over and over. Take notice!
Read these words again with me… or sing them if you like! (do it!)
- Crown Him With Many Crowns
- Matthew Bridges, 1851; stanza 2, Godfrey Thring, 1874
Music: DIADEMATA, George Job Elvey, 1864
1. Crown Him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon His throne.
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns
All music but its own.
Awake, my soul and sing Of Him
Who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King
Through all eternity.
2. Crown Him the Lord of love,
Behold His hands and side,
Rich wounds, yet visible above,
In beauty glorified.
No angel in the sky
Can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends His wond’ring eye
At mysteries so bright.
3. Crown Him the Lord of life,
Who triumphed o’er the grave,
Who rose victorious to the strife
For those He came to save.
His glories now we sing,
Who died, and rose on high
, Who died eternal life to bring,
And lives that death may die.
4. Crown Him the Lord of heav’n,
One with the Father known,
One with the Spirit through Him giv’n
From yonder glorious throne,
To Thee be endless praise
For Thou for us hast died;
Be Thou, O Lord, through endless days
Adored and magnified.
5. Crown Him the Lord of years,
The Potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres,
All hail, Redeemer, hail!
For Thou has died for me;
Thy praise shall never never fail
Each stanza of this hymn addresses a different aspect of Christ’s worthiness to receive these honors. Revelation 5:11-14, one of the most awe-inspiring passages in all Scripture that inspired Crown Him With Many Crowns. It was was written by two men, Matthew Bridges (1800-1894), the author of the original text of this hymn, and Godfrey Thring, who revised and rewrote much of the hymn years later. Google it! The history of this hymn (and others) is so neat to learn about!
“Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
I love how Chris Tomlin takes an old hymn and adds a modern twist. This is a beautiful version of the song.
So, did you grow up singing hymns? Does your church still sing them?? What are your favorites? I’d love to know, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post… it’s just so interesting to me, and I hope that churches start singing the old ones more again.
If you haven’t been to church for a long time, or ever even… I’d love to invite you to ours, Fellowship Bible in Topeka Kansas. If you don’t live near, find a bible teaching church in your area and start going this Easter. I know a lot of people go on Easter and Christmas, but try to go the following week too. I promise once you drink from the well that never goes dry, you’ll crave it! Thanks for reading my ramblings. 🙂 Have a great week!