I have a confession to make. When people send me songs to listen to I usually don’t. I don’t really know why. I feel kind of bad about it. Listening to a random song by myself isn’t always moving and feels disconnected. But when I sing with my church family, well that’s an entirely different story. The truth of what we are singing combined with the collective context of our lives is special.
Connected To Centuries of Worship
What I love about Hymns of Note: Rejoice is that Author William Long gives you the context for when so many well-known hymns were written. This opens our eyes to the enduring relevance of songs that have been sung for hundreds of years. As Long says these songs “hold their truth and significance as much now as they did when they were written, no matter how long ago that was.” Like I said about his first book, it connects us to centuries of worship.
The Rest Of The Story
In this edition, we are given the back story to many well-known and beloved hymns, like Great Is Thy Faithfulness and Amazing Grace. Long tells the story of Spirituals, songs African Americans sung while in slavery, like I Shall Not Be Moved. We learn about Charles Albert Tindley, the son of a slave who became known as the father of African American Hymnody and the originator of African American gospel music, and how he wrote Nothing Between My Soul And The Savior while pastoring during a difficult season. We also learn the story of Jesus Loves Me and the reason the 4th verse (did you know there was a 4th verse!) was dropped from the hymn.
If you are like me there are also some hymns in this book that you have never heard of. But I was amazed at how the truth of them still stirred my heart. Take these verses from an unknown (to me) hymn by John Newton.
We may, like the ships, by tempests be tost
On perilous deeps, but need not be lost:
Tho’ Satan enrages the wind and the tide,
Yet scripture engages, The Lord will provide.
No strength of our own, nor goodness we claim,
Our trust is all thrown on Jesus’s name;
In this our strong tower for safety we hide;
The Lord is our power, The Lord will provide.
An Excellent Addition
The Lord will provide. That is a truth that I always need to be reminded of. At the end of the book, William gives us a 7 step process for writing a hymn and then includes one he wrote himself. This is a fantastic book if you are wanting to enrich your personal devotional time or if you are interested in the background of songs that have stood the test of time. If you preach or teach regularly, like his first one, it’s a gold mine of illustrations that will help those you teach connect timeless truths to their lives. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. You can get your copy here.