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Favourite sacred songs/hymns?

On Facebook yesterday (16 July 2009) I wrote:

‘When I survey the wondrous cross / On which the Prince of Glory died / My richest gain I count but loss / And pour contempt on all my pride… Were the whole realm of nature mine / That were a present far too small / Love so amazing, so divine / Demands my soul, my life, my all’

(from the greatest hymn in the English language….. something from the second greatest hymn tomorrow… which is that?).

Responses: And Can it Be x2, Amazing Grace x2, Brother/Sister Let me Serve you, Rock of Ages, Be Thou My Vision x3, The Power of Your Love, Just as I am, Because He Lives (suggested by Josh McDowell), At the Name of Jesus, It is Well with My Soul, Psalm 23 to Crimond etc.

I’d agree with most of these suggestions. I’ve asked Jan to include Because He Lives in my funeral service. And yes, At the Name of Jesus and Be Thou My Vision is up there near the top. We sang And Can it Be at an ex-Methodist’s Thanksgiving Service yesterday – great.

Our criteria must include theological and poetic/grammatical felicity, and more preoccupation with God/Christ than with self – expressed in the number of personal pronouns in the song. (In my view Amazing Grace fails on a couple of counts here).

Another factor is context: if young people can’t relate to archaic wording, I’m hesitant to use that song.

However, such a choice is of course subjective: Because He Lives was very meaningful to me at a crossroads in my life: ditto, I guess, with many of you and your choice of a favourite song/hymn.

Interesting that I think only one modern song was chosen – The Power of Your Love. Yes, I’d put that near the top of songs composed after 1960.


And on my Facebook today:

In spite of archaisms and sexist language, the second-greatest hymn: Jesus Thou joy of loving hearts / Thou fount of life, thou light of men / From the best bliss that earth imparts / We turn unfilled to Thee again. Thy truth unchanged has ever stood / Thou savest those that on Thee call / To them that seek Thee Thou art good / To them that find Thee, all in all.

Wanna try to update these brilliant words/concepts? Here’s my first/feeble attempt to modernize a couple of stanzas of this great hymn by Bernard of Clairvaux:

Jesus, joy of loving hearts Fountain of life and light of all From the best bliss that earth imparts We turn unfilled, and hear your call…

Your call dear Lord to us today Touches our heart and mind and will To serve your people in your way A way of grace and truth… and still…

Want to suggest more…?




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