"When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrow like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul"
You can call me whatever you want and poke fun at me for being "old fashioned", but I cannot help but love the old hymns. Some say I have an "Old Soul"- I'm not sure how I should take that one...haha. I downloaded some of my favorites last night from itunes and found some really beautiful and musically inclined versions of them. The words to these old songs contain so much depth and though most of them may carry a similar or same tune they remain beautiful and the hearts from which they were written proclaim truth. I've researched some of my favorite ones and found the story behind each song, amazing. Some were written during the Welsh Revival and other beautiful moves of God while others were written from sincere and enduring heartache and tragedy. I guess I can appreciate almost any kind of music but worship, psalms and hymns in my opinion are the best kind. Trust me- I am a music fanatic and I love all different kinds but there's a sense of sincerity and depth that accompanies these melodies and lyrcs that soothes the soul and gives desire to draw closer to the Lord. I love the Psalms as well- I can only imagine the many different melodies and harmonies David wrote to go with each and every one and how beautiful they must've been to God.
I am a worshiper, this is what I was created for. This is what we were all created for. I believe that when God created mankind he gave us a choice to worship Him, not because He needed it or not because we were commanded to. No, He already had a whole mulitude and choir of angels who worshipped him and exalted Him. He created us with a choice because He wanted to be worshiped by us not because we were made to, but because we want to. He doesn't need it but He desires for us to want to know our creator and savior- because He too, wants to know us. I love Him and therefore I worship Him- for He has done great things and yes there have been dark times but He's proved Himself to be more than faithful through those situations.
Some of my favorite old songs are..
It is Well with My Soul- In 1873, Horatio Spafford wrote the words to the hymn "It is Well with My Soul" after the tragic death of his four daughters. His worship does not solely depend on how he feels. "Whatever my lot", he says, come rain or shine, pleasure or pain, success or failure, "Thou hast taught me to say / It is well, it is well with my soul".
Here is Love- This old song was written during the Welsh Revival, a revival that brought in an extra 100,000 new converts according to the estimates of the time, and a movement that quickly spread to the 4 corners of the World. These words are amazing...
"On the mount of crucifixion
Fountains opened deep and wide
Through the floodgates of God's mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide
Grace and love, like mighty rivers
Poured incessant from above
And Heav'n's peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love"
I Surrender All- Judson Van de Venter was a gifted painter and artist. He was also a minister in post-civil war america. He struggled for awhile trying todecide whether to pursue development in art or to dive in to full time ministry (not to say that this is an either/or situation) So... When he wrote that song, "all" refers to all of his passions, aspirations, and creativity as an artist. "All to thee my blessed Savior, i surrender all"
The Old Rugged Cross- George Bennard became convinced despite His grave circumstances that the cross was not merely a symbol of Christianity, but the very heart of it. In his writings, Bennard reports that as he meditated upon this, the words, "the old rugged cross," came into his mind and then the notes of a melody ran through his head.
"In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown."
Amazing Grace- Of course this one is an all time favorite. John Newton described himself as a "wretch" in need of grace. Though his mother taught him to pray, she died when he was 7 and his heart hardened against God. He became a wild, young man who mocked Christianity and drowned himself in drink. At 23, while a crewman on a slave ship, Newton was jolted awake by a violent storm—so terrifying that he cried out to the Lord. The John Newton who arrived safely in England was a repentant man. For the rest of his life he would refer to March 10, 1748, as the day of his conversion. The redeemed sinner who wrote, "I was lost but now I'm found … was blind but now I see" was literally blind when he died—but he had seen clearly the wonder of God's grace.
Take my Life and Let it Be- Frances Ridley Havergal, born on December 14, 1836, England, is often referred to as the consecration poet. It has been said that the beauty of a consecrated life has never been more perfectly revealed than in her daily living. These words flow from a heart longing to belong solely to her Lord...
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
I could very well go on and list a number of songs and hymns that have impacted my walk with the Lord and increased my faith. I love to hear stories of people who have faced difficult things and see the beauty of what came from it- such as these beautiful and enriching songs. They have touched and ministered to many, many people over the years and continue to do so even today. Sadly, our generation does not know most of these songs and most likely they are bored to death with the redundant music and old english, it doesn't amuse them. Worship songs, old and new is more about God's glorification rather than our love and satisfaction for the type, style and sound of music. Traditional music seeks to glorify God and not just write a song where one can put their girlfriend's name in the song instead of God's. It's not about me feeling good after singing, but worshiping God, usually the feeling good does come, but we should still glorify God even when we don't want to. I'm not a huge fan of the way some sing these songs- with no emotion or expression and almost as if they're not realizing the meaning that lies behind the words. There are many new and more contemporary versions of these old songs that seem to bring them more alive maybe than when you sang them from a hymnal in your church when you were little, not that it was not sincere but it just may have seemed a little too dead feeling. I imagine that when these songs were written, they were with passion and desire. I love worship music- all of it, ancient, old, new, contemporary, indie-style and anything written with a pure heart and desire to know and pursue the Lord simply draws me. Talent is amazing and I love musical talent and music that sounds good but it goes far beyond that my friend. It's about the heart.