Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Some People Still Love Hymns

I encountered a fascinating article today about hymns that are perpetually popular. A survey was done of hymnals of six mainline Protestant denominations (Anglican (Episcopal), American Baptist, Congregational (United Church of Christ), Lutheran (ELCA), United Methodist, Presbyterian Church (USA)) from the 1870's to the 2006 Lutheran hymnal. The survey included a total of 28 hymnals. It was found that 27 hymns were found in at least 26 of the hymnals; 13 hymns were found in all of them.

The good news: Every single one of these hymns is an excellent hymn! You can see the full list here; if you have grown up in a church that uses a hymnal in any of these denominations, you should recognize most, if not all, of them.

And why are they kept in the hymnals from generation to generation? Because people value them. They recognize the timeless biblical truths, taking comfort in God's Word and promises. They recognize, at some level, the intersection of biblical worship and biblical truth.

Because the survey of hymnals includes those dating back to the antebellum period, hymns that have become better known in the past 150 years do not appear on the list. This might explain why you don't see certain of your favorites.

In the summer of 2009 I blogged about what I thought were the "Top Ten Hymns"; two of them, as well as two of my runners-up, were on this list (and in retrospect, I really dropped the ball by not including "O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing").

Of the 27 hymns, four of them were written before the 13th century.

The average date of the texts of the other 23 hymns: 1774.

More proof that good music—words and tune alike—stands the test of time. To God be the glory!

1 comment:

Denise said...

Nothing is more spiritually relevant or inspiring than the sound theology and literary excellence of the classic hymns. Check out my hymn-based devotions at www.digdeeperdevotions.com/DigintoSongs.aspx