I grew up in a traditional Baptist church. We had services on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night. We also had Sunday school for all ages, from cradle to grave. In my early years we also had training union, which was another name for Sunday school on Sunday evenings.
We had a talented choir that filled the services with melodic harmony. My mom was a soprano and frequently performed special music as a soloist and in groups. I could still name most of the people who sang in the choir, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll just say they had talent singing all parts of harmony.
Having been in church so frequently, I couldn’t tell you how many hymns are stored in my memory bank. There was a time I could tell you the page number in the hymnal of most of the hymns we sang. Our Sunday morning hymns were more reverent, and Sunday evenings were worshipful, yet more upbeat. I always preferred the Sunday evening hymns, but the hymns that come most easily to mind are the ones we sang on Sunday mornings.
I’ve been in contemporary church services for most of the past 18 years, and enjoy most of the current music we sing. But there’s a place in my heart that comes alive when we sing one of the old hymns as part of our service, even when they include an additional chorus to bring the song up to date. Last Sunday, we sang “Amazing Grace”, one of my favorites. My heart was filled with joy as we sang those classic words, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” The added chorus has been playing in my memory since Sunday morning …
“My chains are gone, I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me.
And like a flood, His mercy reigns,
Unending love, amazing grace!”
Some of my other favorites are “Jesus Paid it All”, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and “How Great Thou Art.” What are your favorite old hymns that strike a chord in your heart? I’d like to know. I enjoy the new songs, but I miss some of the old hymns!