One way to remember Christ and his death and resurrection during the forty days of Lent and into the Easter feast is to remember and sing the great hymns of the church. In 2009 I took a survey and posted about the 100 favorite hymns of my readers. You’re welcome to use my list or just grab a hymnal and make up your own. Here are few miscellaneous quotations I jotted down back when I was reading about hymns and hymn writers.
“There is no getting away from the centrality of death as a theme in Victorian hymnody.” ~Abide With Me by Ian C. Bradley.
Horatius Bonar to the editors of Hymns, Ancient and Modern, a famous and influential Anglican hymnal of the late 1800’s: “You are welcome to the use of my hymns. As to the charge, it seems to me of little moment, and you can do with it as you please.”
” . . . hymns and other devotional writings are –or ought to be–an exception to the laws of copyright and property. They are, I think, written pro bono Eccclesiae and ought to be considered as public church property.” ~Francis Pott
“Let me write the hymns of the church, and I care not who writes the theology.” ~R. W. Dale.
“A good hymn is the most difficult thing in the world to write. In a good hymn, you have to be both commonplace and poetical.” ~Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
1840 letter to the British Critic: “There cannot be a more miserable bondage than to be compelled to join in the so-called hymns which, rising and spreading from the conventicles, now infest our churches. They are full of passionate and exaggerated descriptions of moods of mind and unqualified descriptions of spiritual experience.”
“Not allowed to sing that tune or this tune? Indeed! Secular music, do you say? Belongs to the devil, does it? Well, if it did I would plunder him of it. . . . Every note and every strain and every harmony is divine and belongs to us.” ~William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army.
“That settles it! Why should the devil have all the best tunes?” ~WIlliam Booth.
“The pronouns ‘I’ and ‘my’ are rarely found in any ancient hymns. But in modern hymns the individual often detaches himself from the body of the faithful and in a spirit of sentimental selfishness obtrudes his own feelings concerning himself.” ~Bishop Christopher Wordsworth
I’m praying that an excursion through the hymns of the church will turn your focus God-ward during this Lenten and Easter season. . .