Walking up the church sidewalk recently, I found myself singing along with the chiming bells. The church tower was serenading the public with the instrumental versions of old hymns. I was surprised at how the words to each song came back from the early memories of my churchgoing mind. “At the Cross;” “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms;” “Trust Me, Try Me;” the list goes on and on.
When did we decide that hymns no longer worked in worship? Thinking back to the early 1990’s, the belief arose that hymns were too complicated, not peppy enough, and too hard to understand. Even then I found that train of thought a bit unsettling. As a child, I was taught the message behind the hymn through Scripture. I was taught that worship needs to be both joyful and reverent. I was taught the meaning relayed in the hymn and the story of its author.
Mankind constantly moves forward in ingenuity and invention. Many of our technological advances are a result of somebody somewhere wanting to improve something. Change isn’t necessarily bad. Still, I can’t seem to wonder if we overcompensate and lose sight of a really good thing.
It’s not just hymns. I read on Facebook the other day that a young friend of mine was searching far and wide for LP vinyl albums. I jokingly responded to his post that we gave so many away over the years or sold them in garage sales before realizing their worth. We had The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Paul and Paula, Michael Jackson, Jackson Brown, The Monkees, and Bob Seger just to name a few.
Have we lost sight of the value of “vintage?” In our quest to make things better, have we sacrificed greater things? I don’t know. But, here is what I do know….”On a hill far away, stood an old rugged cross; the emblem of suffering and shame.”
I understand those words. Their meaning is one of gratitude and really doesn’t need to be peppy. Nothing is too complicated when you’ve been taught to understand and accept its message.
*Blog and artwork copyrighted by author. April 2016