As a worship leader I am keenly aware of the debate between hymns and non-hymns. It is really a silly discussion. First of all, God doesn't care in what style we worship as long as we worship Him for who He is. Secondly, the answer is doing both. We do not do a hymn every service; however, during extended altar times I pull out a lot of the old hymns. We use them during offering and for the occasional selection during worship. You see, I realized one day that I wanted my kids to know the old hymns that my grandparents knew. Don't get me wrong I love all the new stuff too, but there is something of our spiritual heritage that will be lost if all hymns are set aside.
When we sing a hymn we are joining our voice with millions of the faithful through the ages. Many hymns that we sing are 200 plus years old. Think of the great men and women of faith who sang and worshipped through these hymns.
Here are a few words from some of my favorites. Think about these words and the depth that are in them.
"How marvelous, how wonderful! And my song shall ever be. How marvelous, how wonderful! Is my Savior's love for me." - My Savior's Love - Charles Hutchinson Gabriel
"When peace like a river attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows role. Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul." - It Is Well - Horatio Gates Spafford
"I need Thee, oh I need Thee; every hour I need Thee. O bless me now my Savior. I come to Thee." - I Need Thee Every Hour - Annie Sherwood Hawk
and my favorite hymn - I Am Thine, O Lord - Fanny Jane Crosby (I love Ms. Crosby)
"Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, to the cross where thou hast died; Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, to Thy precious bleeding side."
As I sit and think this morning of my Godly heritage, while listening to Crystal Lewis' Hymn CD, I can't help but look forward to sharing this heritage of hymns with our little girl that will be coming to us soon. She has been chosen by her mom and I. Just as we were chosen by Christ.
Sometimes I don't understand why God has allowed the Lewis family to have such a rich heritage of faith. Then I remember, it is because God forgave and called a poor man from Lake of the Ozark, MO. When he took his family into a small Assemblies of God church in Jefferson City, MO our family was forever changed. He, my grandfather Rev. Harry Lewis, prayed for his children, his grandchildren, to the 4 and 5th generation. A testament of that faith is that all of us, every Lewis, are serving God.
My prayer is what G-pa's was, "May God continue to keep us to the 4, 5th generation, and beyond. May we pass this heritage to those who were born of our flesh and the ones who will be grafted in. May every Lewis remain faithful until Jesus returns. May our heritage of hymns teach us of our great God."