Recently a friend on Facebook shared a blog piece that I enjoyed reading: 15 Reasons Why We Should Still Be Using Hymnals
Are your eyes rolling? Have you already developed your response before you finish reading this? Have you concluded I am a fuddy-duddy who is out of touch with the modern trends of worship and praise?
I will not expound on the reasons Jonathan gives (I’m guessing his last name is Ponder because his blog site had the title “Ponder Anew”), but everything he wrote I found thought-provoking. And I do agree with his conclusions. There are musical, practical and symbolic/theological aspects of using a hymnal that benefit a worshipper of God.
I don’t think anybody should get upset after reading Jonathan’s viewpoints. I realize some people will, but instead, try to appreciate his passion for worship through song and his bringing attention to a valuable piece of Christian heritage.
Have you ever read through a hymnal, aside from a congregational singing? Find one that has an index of hymn authors, and see how many hymns were written by Fanny Crosby who was blind for most of her life. You think Chris Tomlin has written a bunch of songs (and I love his music)? Compare his list to Fanny Crosby’s. She has written more than 8,000 worship songs. It’s hard to capture that piece of history from words that temporarily appear on a screen.
I am not against today’s popular format of singing in worship. On the contrary, I love it. I am grateful for every opportunity I have to sing with other Christians regardless of setting and style.
Most importantly, I know God desires His children to worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24), and He says He is not pleased with those who may worship “with their mouths to honor Me (God) with lip-service yet their hearts are far from Me, and their worship consists of man-made rules” (Isa. 29:13).
A genuine worshipper of God can do so by singing lyrics on a screen or in a hymnal, and the same can apply to a deceiver. May God find me to be the former.
Continue to be faithful in your worship, whatever the style may be. If you normally don’t sing from a hymnal, and you’re given the opportunity to do so, remember the reasons why it can be a blessing.