Hey, Trivia buffs! Do you know the first hymn written down? Can you name one of the three hymns that were the first published in English? Who was called “The Father of Hymnology”? See the end of the article.
“English hymnody still speaks with a vibrant and vital voice. Hymns mean a great deal to many people. They remember fondly those they learned in childhood and the ones associated with particular family events or great occasions.” Music-for-Church-Choirs.com
Last month New Life Church’s Ladies’ Lunch Bunch was warmly welcomed into the lovely home of Bill and Katie Mathers. We were excited to have new members Dianne Edmondson and Anita Thedford join us.
Casseroles and stir-fry joined salads and vegetables to provide a marvelous plate, while Mexican fruit cake, dark chocolate cake, more cakes and make-your-own-ice-cream-sundae completed the scrumptious choices.
Nancy Thomas called us to the living room to enjoy a grand Hymn-Sing. Each lady got to choose a favorite from the hymnal, and then we sang one verse to make sure everyone got to share her song. As we sang the ladies broke into parts, making the sound heavenly. Some hymns were so wonderful we had to sing more than one verse.
Several ladies shared stories of special meaning for the chosen hymn. Karen Wesselmann told the memory of her favorite. “In the Garden has always been a favorite family hymn. When I was a young girl I remember making an annual trek to the graves of my great grandparents. They were buried in a tiny church cemetery right next to the one-room country church. Since the building was never locked, my parents and grandparents and I would always go in. I was called upon to play hymns at the very old and out of tune upright piano. They would invariably ask me to play In the Garden and everyone would sing. I never understood the song’s lyrics until years later, but what I wouldn’t give for just one more verse with their voices sounding out!”
The first hymns published included the Doxology by Bishop Thomas Ken, which we sing as our blessing for the food at each luncheon. You would think angels were voicing their praise to God as we sing. Thrilling!
As is our custom at each hymn-sing, we close with the beloved Amazing Grace. Our hearts draw courage, comfort and strength as we share its inspired words. One verse, seldom sung, assures everyone of the love and plan of God for our welfare:
“The Lord has promised good to me
His Word my faith secures.
He will my strength and portion be
As long as life endures.”
1. The Hurrian Hymn No. 6, written in cuneiform on stone around 1400 BCE, found in Syria
2. The Doxology, published in 1674
3. Isaac Watt who said the Church was missing New Testament truth by singing only Psalms. At age 14 he wrote the first hymn ever used in church.