By Kelly Carr
Hymns powerfully put into words so many great truths about God and our relationship to him. They remain a timeless way for generations of believers to sing the same words and express the same deep longings. For example, whose heart does not feel convicted when confessing: “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it; prone to leave the God I love”? I know my own temptations to be apathetic and dismiss the Lord are laid bare when I sing those words.
When I recall big events in my life, I remember the hymns that were part of those moments. At our wedding, we sang “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” At a friend’s funeral, we sang “It Is Well With My Soul.” And when I came out of the baptistry waters, I sang along with my church family “I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God.”
We asked a few people to share a hymn that has made an impact on their lives. Here are some responses:
“A Charge to Keep I Have” & “O Jesus I Have Promised”
“Two hymns have held special meaning for me throughout nearly six decades of church music ministry. Charles Wesley’s hymn ‘A Charge to Keep I Have,’ especially stanza two, has motivated me to excellence in ministry: ‘To serve the present age, my calling to fulfill; O may it all my powers engage to do my Master’s will.’
“And in difficult and challenging times, I am recharged for continued service when I recall the words of ‘O Jesus I Have Promised’ that I sang at my college commencement service: ‘O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end,’ written by John E. Bode 150 years ago.”
—Roger Wayne Hicks (Sun City West, Arizona)
“Lord of the Dance”
“Recently my husband and I were introduced to a more modern hymn titled ‘Lord of the Dance’ by Sydney Bertram Carter. We were both tickled by its lyrics and melody, which are so very different from the stodgy church songs we were used to. It brought to mind images of holy figures river dancing in the clouds. I came around to it by the end, though, and had it stuck in my head for days. Though it veers from the traditional, it is important to remember that Jesus is the Lord of the Dance, and his power and victory should be a daily cause of celebration for all Christians.”
—Jessica Peveler (Indianapolis, Indiana)
“The Old Rugged Cross”
“‘The Old Rugged Cross,’ penned by George Bennard, is one of my favorite hymns. Each stanza reminds me of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. While singing the song, a multitude of emotions surface as I reflect on what the cross represents—pain and suffering, but also freedom from sin for all mankind.”
—Jill Printzenhoff (Big Flats, New York)
“It is Well with My Soul”
“In May 2015, I was struggling with my eyesight. But something jarred a memory I had almost forgotten with the passage of time. My organ teacher’s pleasant voice penetrated my mind: ‘Tonja, when you are old like me and have gone through struggles, I can guarantee you the two books I hold in my hand will be your source of strength.’ Her Holy Bible and church hymnal became mine that day, when she started teaching me how to play my first hymn—‘It is Well with My Soul.’ Thanks to our Lord, he allowed me to remember this treasured moment with my organ teacher to remind me: ‘Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.’”
—Tonja Talley (Greenwood, Indiana)
What’s Your Favorite?
What hymn has been a significant part of your life or strikes you with conviction each time you sing it? What tune rings Heaven’s harmony in your heart? Go online and share your favorites: post on our website (LookoutMag.com/There-Rings-A-Melody), on our Facebook page (Facebook.com/TheLookoutMagazine), or on Twitter (@LookoutMagazine).