The Inestimable Value Of Hymns

“Modern songs will be called upon at times of crisis (sickness, death, tragedy) when they have something to say. Exceptions prove the rule.”

Mike Cosper

The great hymns are a blessing to the Church. Though not inspired like Scripture, God gifted (and still gifts) many songwriters and poets in His Church over the centuries, to put the great truths of Scripture to lyric and music in ways that get in, and embed in the heart and mind. Some are new, many are old, and I am so thankful for hymns and for the way music often takes a comfort or joyful exultation from the Bible and gets it under your skin, so to speak. I think that often, the truth communicated with precision in a particular hymn comes back to me in a time of crisis or grief. It’s not the hymn itself, but what it helps my heart express that is so valuable, I think.

So I thought I would share some examples of my favorite lines that help reset the compass of my heart to its True North in God, and in the Gospel. There’s a lot of others, but these are some key couplets and stanzas that have and continue to be a comfort and a joy to know, to quote, and to sing. These lines are so valuable to me.

By Charitie L. Bancroft

“Before the throne of God above/I have a strong and perfect plea/A great High Priest Whose name is Love/Who ever lives and pleads for me.”

And from the same hymn,

“When Satan tempts me to despair/And tells me of the guilt within/Upward I look and see Him there/Who made an end of all my sin.”

By Charles Wesley

“Long my imprisoned spirit lay/Fast-bound in sin and nature’s night/Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray/I woke, the dungeon flam’d with light/My chains fell off, my heart was free!/I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.”

By Stuart Townend

“It was my sin that held Him there/Until it was accomplished/His dying breath has brought me life/I know that it is finished!”

By Augustus M. Toplady

“Nothing in my hand I bring/Simply to Thy cross I cling/Naked come to Thee for dress/Helpless look to Thee for grace.”

And,

“Rock of Ages, Cleft for me/Let me hide myself in Thee.”

By Edward Mote

“His oath, His covenant, His blood/Support me in the whelming flood/When all around my soul gives way/He then is all my hope and stay.”

And,

“On Christ the Solid Rock I stand/All other ground is sinking sand/All other ground is sinking sand!”

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