There's something about a fine old hymn
That can stir the heart of a man
That can reach to the goal of his inmost soul
Such as no mere preaching can
It's more than the tune of the song he sings
And it's more than the poet's rhyme
It's the Spirit of God working through these things
That gives them their power sublime
So we thank Thee, Lord, for the fine old hymns
May we use them again and again
As we seek to save from the hopeless grave
The souls of our fellow men
The words of the poet, remind us of the power of song. Indeed, through the ages, the songs of Fanny Crosby, Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, John Peterson and the writers of contemporary Christian music have been used by God to speak into the hearts of those seeking and to build up the faith of the already committed. Most of us would testify that many of the great hymns of our faith and the words of our more recent worship songs speak into our lives in powerful ways, often at a time in our life when we most need to be encouraged in heart and spirit.
I remember when Janice's father passed away; at his memorial service we sang 'Great Is Thy Faithfulness', one of his favourites songs and today 30+ years later, each time we sing it, I recall the strength and grace God provided during that season...strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
One of my favourite hymns is Walter Chalmers Smith's song, 'Immortal Invisible'; each line is rich in doctrine, enlightening the singer as he/she exalts our God--the eternal God of wisdom, justice and goodness, the sovereign Ruler of all. Another favourite is Martin Luther's 'A Mighty Fortress is Our God' which is based on the text of Psalm 46; a song that draws us to the One who is our refuge and strength.
Some of our songs allow us to express the desire of our hearts as we respond to our God in worship. The hymn Be Thou My Vision is for me one of those songs: Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart; naught be all else to me, save that Thou art. The song gives to me perspective and assurance and helps to recalibrate my heart...Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all. God has used the final words of 'Take My Life and Let It Be' to refocus the central commitment of my heart...take myself and I will be, ever, only all for Thee.
And it's not just the great hymns of our faith; at a time when my own strength was failing I turned to the One who promises strength for each day through the words of the song He is Able...more than able to accomplish what concerns me today. The words of 'Sole Desire'...I've come to know the joy of loving you, allow me to draw near to One who calls me His beloved. 'Lord, I Give You My Heart' is another song that allows me to recalibrate my heart in declaring again...this is my desire, to honour you, Lord with all my heart, I worship You.
Such is the power of sacred songs. We all have songs that speak into our lives; for some it's the great old hymns and for others is might cross a spectrum of the songs of our past and the more contemporary worship of today. As we reflect on the power of song, I want to invite you to post a reply...what are the songs that speak into your life? Let's share those songs with one another as we seek to encourage each other and to continually offer a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:5) to our God.