"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hymn for the Day. (from preferably dead hymnists)

A while ago, my brother posted on hymns. Hymns, like biographies of saints, are an untapped treasure of the church. I think I might start periodically posting some lesser known hymns (like with the Newton post) from Isaac Watts, John Newton, Charles Wesley, William Cowper, and others. I join my friend Mike Freitag in lamenting how they are slowly being replaced by self-focused choruses like:

Over the mountains and the sea
Your river runs with love for me
[Ain't I great! Well...and the Son]
And I will open up my heart
[really, the Holy Spirit doesn't do that?]
And let the healer set me free
["Let Him"? If you are not free how can you "let Him"?]
I’m happy to be in the truth
And I will daily lift my hands
[Daily? That's some good discipline. Better than me]
For I will always sing
[Ever stop for air?]
Of when your love came down
[What does that even mean? maybe when "Your Son" came down?]


I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever
[Is God's name "You"? Could you really sing forever presently?]

These lyrics are sung, because it preserves the "dignity of man" as important and "empowered." As Mark Noll said, we are what we sing. We don't know what to do with hymns that when they use "I" a lot, talk about our inadequacy and sin like:

A Hymn to God the Father:

Wilt Thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
For I have more.

Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin
, and made my sin their door?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallow'd in, a score?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by Thyself, that at my death thy Son
Shall shine as He shines now, and heretofore;
And, having done that, Thou hast done;
I fear no more.

[Thou [God] hast done, not "I will" do. Hmm...and John Donne wasn't even a Calvinist...]

1 comment:

Aaron said...

Sweet post. I could sing of my sin for.... for a long time, until I get board and want to go do something else more fun, because well 1. I am sinful and 2. As you pointed out, I am merely a creature and can not do anything FOREVER. Actually that is probably another good point for hymns. Our pastor pointed out that our first cause for humility before God is not our sin but that fact that we are merely creatures dependent on God for every breath. Interesting way to think of it. I guess it is our first reason because it was the first thing that was true about us. Anyway I am going on a rabbit trail… Sweet post.