Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Do you remember hymnals?

I don't know about you, but I go to a church with an attendance of about 4,000. We don't sing hymns often, and when we do, it's usually on a huge jumbo-tron type of screen, complete with moving 3-D images. I kind of miss those old days when the "preacher" (not the pastor) said, "Please turn in your hymnals to page 421, and let's all sing "Blessed Assurance," or some other old hymn.

Keep in mind, I was a preacher's kid. I grew up in a tiny, century old, country church. We had hard wooden pews that got uncomfortable right around the "Please be seated." We didn't have coffee makers in our lobby. We didn't have children's church, because you were expected to sit up straight and listen to the preacher. (And if you didn't, your Mama probably carried a wooden spoon in her purse like mine did.) We always wore our Sunday best, which for girls, meant; a dress and tights, with patent leather shoes. Shiny black ones. We had Sunday dinner afterward, which was usually pot-roast. We went back to church again Sunday night for more preaching. And Wednesday night was "Prayer meetin' time." We had pot lucks once a month, with more food than should have been legal. We had Christmas pageants that could make the most hardened cynic get misty eyed. So I started to kind of panic the other day, when I realized that my children don't know some of the old hymns like, Great is Thy Faithfulness, and A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, and The Old Rugged Cross. (Which always reminds me of Andy Griffith, and makes me giggle. But not during church of course.) So... as I was picking out various Easter items, like this nail shaped cross... I also picked up a hymnal.
And my babies loved it! As we paged through it together, memories came flooding back to me. I'd find one I knew, and then hum the tune. Pretty soon, I had two children on my lap begging me to teach them the song. A memory created from memories. I couldn't think of anything more precious than teaching my babies hymns.

Do you sing hymns in your place of worship? Did you grow up with hymns, like I did?

49 comments:

  1. I grew up with hymns even though it was a bigger church...then my church grew with the times and sang more contemporary songs BUT then I got married and my husband is a youth pastor at a church so very much like the one you grew up in, I join the singers and am re-learning the oldies (so many of the oldies, we sang updated versions of at my old church) Nothing new under the sun...I love that your children got into the hymns they are so beautiful!

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  2. at my church, baptist, they want to cater to a wide demographic. So there are two hymns (on overhead as well as in the hymnal) and then a few of the more contemporary songs. If I knew them enough to sing them to my kids (I don't have much a memory for songs, it seems), it would create a little more of a scene! I often get told not to sing - puhlease!! And I think you know what I mean, eh Sasha?! Nonetheless, I make them hear me when I sing my favorites along to the car radio!! that is such a cool memory to have. I often wish I grew up or could offer my kids a singing while you work sorta life. Nicole B.

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  3. We do sing hymns in our church, but they are usually updated somewhat and are accompanied by an electric guitar:) I love them. I love their message, how they spell out the entire gospel in their lines. I love that your kids are interested. I got a neat book from Costco awhile ago that had a bunch of old hymns and also the stories of where they came from. Very interesting:)

    Recently we were driving and listening to Carry Underwood's How Great Thou Art. I was on back country roads and singing at the top of my lungs. I looked in the rearview mirror to see my son, eyes closed, mouth wide as he sang "G-o-o-o-d....a-r-r-t." Very sweet.

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  4. We have special prayer books so that kids can follow the hymns that are mainly chanting in the Greek Orthodox Church...3D screens? My my we're so far behind, thank goodness.

    We had the wooden spoon when I was growing up also. Glad my mum would leave it in the kitchen, though!

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  5. Hello there...did you think I had fallen off the earth? Well....I am Pentecostal (so we tend to put our own upbeat spin on some of the old hymnals, hee-hee), but yes, I grew up with not one but TWO hymnals and can sing Amazing Grace and Great is Thy Faithfulness with the best of 'em!! And I must say--this is one of my most favorite posts yet......gives me chill bumps. p.s. if we didn't sit up straight and pay attention we got the back of our arm pinched. ouch. i think i still have bruising from that.....

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  6. Oh yes, and I plan to sing them to my babies someday!

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  7. Well now, I'm a preacher's kid too. And no, I didn't grow up with hymns exactly, I grew up singing Psalms out of a Psalmbook and totally a cappella. No instruments. I never sang any hymns until I was married. But I do love 'em. And now my big church uses the screen too, so we only occasionally sing hymns. But it sounds like you had a precious afternoon with your kiddos.

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  8. Loving your post... brought back great memories from my little chuch growing up!

    Definitely not the same now...

    Happy day to you,

    Mikal

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  9. We don't sing hymns in our church either...I hadn't thought of that for awhile. What a wonderful thing to remember and make sure I pass along to my children. Sweet, sweet, sweet!!! You are one awesome momma!

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  10. i adore hymns! especially with a contemporary twist! my hubby is the contemporary worship pastor and he always includes at least one hymn every week. i'm so glad... the words are so rich and meaty!

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  11. I grew up singing hymns, of the Southern Gospel variety. My Grandpa was an old time Pentecostal preacher, and we never went to a service where a tambourine wasn't involved. :) The church I went to later in my childhood used to be really great, you know...they actually preached out of the Bible and sang songs that glorified the Lord (like hymns, and such) Then, something changed. They quit preaching the Word straight up, got funky lights that you'd expect to see in a club and then I decided that 14 years there or not, it was time to leave. I have a big soapbox about what I think about all of that. Needless to say, I want to teach my kids that Church isn't a building, or lights, or about how many people sit on the pews (wait, it's chairs now days...) it's the Body of Christ - and that hymns are perfectly acceptable to sing. ;) I love that you're teaching your kids the old songs!

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  12. I grew up with hymns. I remember my mother singing so loudly and I thought she had the most beautiful voice in the entire church.

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  13. I grew up with hymns and hymnals, too. Still have about three of them in my music book drawer. Hymns can bring me to tears with just a phrase ... contemporary worship songs don't have that affect on me (granted, I enjoy them, but they don't move me).

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  14. We don't have hymnals at my church either. Occasionally, we sing one with the words on the big screens but they're always mixed in with some contemporary chorus.

    So sad, I miss the old hymns.

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  15. Girl, you're a PK. Oh, that explains a LOT. Volumes. I can see clearly now the rain is gone.

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  16. When my babies were babies, I would rock them and sing old hymns like these.

    And now, my babies are 8 and 6 and have never cracked a hymnal.

    You're right, it's kind of sad and sweet and nostalgic.

    Also, my fave was Pass It On, which our music pastor HATED.

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  17. I of course grew up with the old hymns because I'm old. lol But I do miss them and they would bring tears to my eyes more than the ones today. Sorry, but I guess that's because I am use to the old ones more than the new. I've actually been looking for an old hymn book so if you know where I can get one please let me know

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  18. I love hymns. I surrender all, Trust and Obey, It is well with my Soul...they touch me. The stories from the authors of those great songs are equally moving. Miss those simpler days sometimes too.

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  19. I love the hymns. You'd think they are the plague now the way modern "worship" music has hit the scene. Personally I endure the rock concerts at my so. baptist, church. I listen to modern music at home too, but I don't like it at church. I want to sing those songs that soften up my heart and bring a tear to my eye. I think this fad is robbing our children of our christian heritage. I miss everything you described even the wooden spoons. That is training children right! We are to train our children up. Seems they are mostly being trained to be entertained and fed constantly. Why do kids have to have a sippy cup everywhere they go? You really touched a hot button with this one. I am so glad your teaching your children. It just proves how good this music really is.

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  20. PS People can buy hymnals from Lifeway christian book store. Also available at CBD and you could probably get them on line. I have one and love it. I don't want to ever forget the words.

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  21. What i read from the comments is people really really miss the hymns. We have both in our church and as you well know my dh is the pastor. We try to mix it up with both and it works out pretty well. The old hymns have so much to offer, and if you hear about how and why they were written, there is a ton of meaning to each one.

    I love praise music as well, and we do our fair share of it. Have the screen etc.

    So you Momma brought a wooden spoon, we were both the woodenn spoon queens. I just hauled Carrie or Rob out..usually Carrie cried, Momma, don't beat me again..what drama at that age. She still thinks it's funny to this day..well except when she is taking one of her 4 out! I just sit there and smile at the memories and the fact that what goes around............

    Keep teaching thoes precious little ones of yours the hymns, I hope those are never lost like so much of the past has been.

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  22. Yes. I'm Catholic so things are still pretty traditional when it comes to how the mass proceeds...they still say turn to page so and so to begin a song, and we open our books to that page. Over the years, I have realized that there is a lot of comfort for me when I go to church and know what the routine will be...a sense of peace...

    Hope your week is going good Sasha!

    Hugs ~

    :) T

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  23. I did and we sing them at church every Sunday...we have an opening hymn and sacrament hymn and a rest hymn and a closing hymn...then we go on to our Relief Society (ladies) meeting and have an opening, a practice and a closing hymn. I LOVE the hymn's they teach, in a very powerful way, directly to our spirits. Have sung them all my life. So, you were a preachers daughter huh...I think that is neat. Come say hi :D

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  24. I am the same as Tracey. I am Catholic and we still sing hymns from hymnals and we still sit in the hard benches. And you are lucky if you go to a church that has padded kneelers!

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  25. My parents church which I still consider my "home" church still uses hymnals and they have thousands of members. We always dressed up for Sunday services (and still do) even if it's gotten more relaxed than before. I just can't bring myself to wear jeans to church.

    After morning masses there is coffee and punch in the hall.
    Different masses have different choirs. Childrens choir (my favorite) is at 9 am, Adult choir at 10:30 and Youth/Contemporary choir at 5:30.

    I was the parish secretary for years.

    ~sigh~ Its been a while.

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  26. Yes, yes, yes! I love hymns and that's how I learned to play the piano. I wonder how many I still know by heart... I used to play in church and once I played "In the Garden" in a sort of honky-tonk style - like the saloon on Gunsmoke, you know. My dad got a kick out of it, but my mom was mortified.

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  27. Oh, and my favorite hymn is "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." Very old - wonderful melody.

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  28. Loved this post Sasha-I grew up in a church like yours-In fact I have two pews from the church I was saved and baptized in. The small country church I went to was building on and getting rid of the old wooden pews-So I grabbed two-I adore them in my home.
    We sang hymnals too-The church we go to now is huge but they have a early Sunday morning service (they have 6 services total) where they sing only old hymnals-It's great.

    You know when I'm at home praying or praising God it's not the new songs that I start singing, it's always the old ones from the hymnals.

    By the way, can I ask where you got the hymnals? My pews have a area for them and communion cups!

    Have a wonderful Easter-I'm taking my parents up to the tulip farms this Saturday!

    Robin~♥

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  29. Our church sings both contemporary songs and old hymnals:) I love the worship team because they put a slightly new twist on those old songs that makes them sound even better. When I was little our church used hymnal books too. I loved those songs and I think it is so sweet and precious that your children love them and love learning them:)
    The church you grew up in sounds like my Memaw and Papaw's church in Arkansas:) It is so fun to go there because it is like a time machine that travels far back in time. My favorite part is when their preacher asks for the choir to come up and I swear to you (this is no exaggeration) almost every single person goes up to sing!! There is literally on average about 10-15 people left in the pews. It is hilarious:)

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  30. What a great post! In the midst of al the buuny posts I'm reading this week this was a breath of fresh air!
    I collect old hymnals and we sing from them often. I want my children to know the songs that have stood the test of time. My husband grew up in rural Tennesee and I grew up in Southwest Virginia, the hymns we sang are hard to find. :) Not to many people up here sing Uncloudy Day and I'll Fly Away.

    Our church still has wooden pews and hymnals. I guess we are still pretty traditional, even though they sing contemorary stuff too.

    As for at home the only radio stations I get aren't fit for young ears so I play hymns, sung by Johnny Cash, Randy Travis, and other country singers. They just don't sound quite the same without the twang. :)

    I LOVE my old hymnals no to are alike and there is always a new song or two in each one I find.

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  31. We sing lots of hymns at church. It's neat because they even have a special hymn book for primary (classes for kids after the main congregational meeting when the adults go to Sunday school). The primary songs are fun, and some of my favorite, but I love the regular hymnal too!

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  32. I had those old wooden pews as well. So uncomfortable! But at least the kneelers were padded. I remember all the old songs, especially a Polish song we used to sing after communion which the new pastor said we couldn't sing anymore. I spent my entire childhood and early adolesence singing phonetically to that song - to this day I have no idea what it meant, really!

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  33. I grew up on Hymns, while I enjoy Praise and Worship, I do miss the hymns.

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  34. Hymns are one of my favorite things at our little church. Our praise group always includes a few each Sunday to please the "older" crowd but I think we all enjoy it. I love that my kids know that on Easter Sunday we will sing "He Arose" loud and proud like we have for that last may years.

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  35. I grew up with hymns, and we sing hymns... like crazy. I meet with a non-denominational group of christians that simply remembers the Lord in his death every Sunday. I LOVE old hymns--at home we sing with guitar, at church, a capella. One reason my daughters know them so well is because we listen to Alan Jackson's Precious Memories album all the time. We wake up to it blasting through the house on Sunday morning, it's the perfect way to wake up. :-)

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  36. I certainly grew up with the wooden spoon like you did! ;) I grew up Catholic- lots of rituals lots of singing and yes we were ALWAYS in church with our parents!

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  37. We still go to the little Methodist Church I grew up in...my parents were married there and I was married there. It is truly family. We still sing the old hymns because if we venture away the blue hairs can't follow...and that is JUST FINE with me. I LOVE the old hymns. They are just comforting to me and I can't wait to hear and sing, "He Arose" on Sunday...but I just remembered I'll be in San Antonio...hope we sing it there. We still use Red Hymnals...no big screens...and sometimes Lena Kate is the only child in church on a rare Sunday....but everybody sure loves her! I guess there are pros and cons to big and small churches. Thanks for this post :) Happy Easter.

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  38. I too am a preacher's kid. Yes, there were definitely hymns. And yes, we were in church Sun. a.m., p.m. and Weds. night. We were also there every time the doors were open.
    It was fun. :)
    Of course there is the other side of being a P.K.too, but I won't go there...
    Our church now still sings hymns, along with more contemporary songs, and I am so glad. I love them! Nothing prettier than "The Old Rugged Cross"

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  39. I love old Hymns. I grew up on them and we still sing SOME at church, but now they're mixed with drums nad guitar and at a much faster beat/pace. However, I do own plenty of cds with the traditional hymnal songs as well as remakes by VeggieTales and sorts. Either way, they won't be forgotten here.
    Thanks. I am off to find a hymnal.

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  40. I love the old hymns the best. And, the small church Christmas pageants. You really touched a place in my heart with this post.

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  41. yep! i grew up with the old hymns too! but i do like the new music we sing because i can actually sing better to them! but when we sing the last song after the sermon it is an old hymn and i do feel good being able to sing the words too! i love that your cuties are lovin to learn!

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  42. Yes mam I grew up with hymnals, went to church at least three times a week, wore our Sunday duds and..........

    Thanks for a great post.

    Come back to see me.

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  43. p.s. I'll have to say now that It Is Well With My Soul ranks right up there as my most favorite though!! Have you ever heard David Phelps sing it? OH MY.

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  44. Traditional hymns are mixed with contemporary songs at our church. I love the old and the new. Some of my favorite contemporary songs are also bedtime songs for my boys:)

    I love your nail cross!

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  45. There is a contemporary and a traditional service here. I like both. We usually take the kids to the contemp. I grew up singing hymns in church and love them, but never memorized them. I found, as a mom, a series of books called Hymns for a Kids Heart and they are awesome. They come with the story behind the hymn (who wrote it/why), the music and words, as well as a CD with children and grown-ups singing. It's not doinky kids' music either, it's really nice. They have a lot of different books (Passion, Christmas, etc.). I bought mine in stores, but they are on Amazon.
    http://www.amazon.com/Hymns-Kids-Heart-Vol-1/dp/1581345054/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1270177613&sr=8-1
    I don't think that will work as a direct link, but you could copy and paste or just look up the title. I love them, and so do my kids, and they now know by heart SO MANY wonderful, good theologically speaking, songs. They are so rich!

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  46. You have to get the CD by 4Him, called Hymns. It's too awesome.

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  47. I grew up with hymns as well! There is such great theology in them. . .The church we attend now also has hymnals. I was told the pastor said they would get rid of them "over my dead body!" There is something about looking at the music with the words and how they are printed that adds something. . .Spirit maybe?

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  48. You need to come to our church! Hard wooden pews, no sound system, piano, REAL bound hymnals, there is a coffee maker out in the fellowship hall though. And I'm a PK (preacher's kid) too. Although I don't have a problem with living up to any standard (meaning I just DON'T lol) :P

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  49. Very interesting blog--and the many comments too. As one who has studied and written about hymns for about 40 years, I have dozens of hymn books in my library. And I agree there is still a place for them.

    For one thing, they give singers an opportunity to sing a part, if they are able to do so. I preached at a church last Sunday that still has hymn books in the pews, and the singing (in harmony) was wonderful!

    And I'll go a step further. Not only should churches still have hymn books in the pews, each family and individual who attends should have a copy of the book at home. Then, hymns can be sung (or read) as part of personal or family devotions.

    If you love hymns, I think you'd enjoy my daily blog on the subject, Wordwise Hymns. Drop by any time!

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