Christ is risen—the First Fruits of those who sleep! If He was not raised from the dead, our hope is in vain and we are of all people, the most miserable (1 Corinthians 15:12-23). For us, one of the key ways to observe the biblically ordained Feast of Firstfruits is to sing joyful, triumphant hymns celebrating His victory over death and sin.
For thousands of years—including the earliest days of sacred assemblies by believers—hymn-singing has been an important aspect of worship. Singing hymns can enrich a worship service, as it did at the close of the Messiah’s teaching Seder in the Upper Room (Matthew 26:30 and Mark 14:26). Many an assembly today is blessed by the discovery of the deep delights of singing powerful hymns. People nowadays are even going out of their way to travel to acapella four-part hymn-singing events.
As a genre, hymns, like choruses, are neither categorically good nor bad. We can hone our discernment in choosing them. We often change words we don’t agree with in a hymn that otherwise is wonderful in our view. Here are suggested criteria for a strong hymn. It…
- presents biblically correct doctrine,
- develops it in a tightly woven, progressively unfolding text through thoughtfully sequenced verses,
- has melody, harmonies and rhythms that correspond with (and complement) the words,
- is singable, both in its range for the four voices and in its musicality, and
- has beauty, is memorable, and feeds your spirt as it returns to you—sometimes days after you sang it.
In short, a wonderful hymn, like a choice meaty passage of scripture, can become like a good lifetime friend. It will stick with you and crop up unexpectedly. You may find yourself humming it, whistling the tune, and singing it in all its fullness while you’re breezing down a ski slope, hiking a trail with a buddy, washing dishes, weeding, riding a horse, or sitting around a campfire with friends. Your investment in learning a great hymn will join you at some of the most intense (or relaxed) seasons of life.
Another way in which we can celebrate His new life is to love His Word and to teach our children to do so. For a boost on doing that, join more than 20,000 others worldwide who have signed up for this week’s online virtual conference April 5th through 9th on the God-Centered Homeschool. On Thursday afternoon, April 8th you can be encouraged by Renee’s thoughts in a video interview that begins at 3:30 Central Time on the topic of how to teach a child to love the Scriptures: Six Ways to Pour the Love of God’s Word into Your Children. Immediately following that, starting at 4:30 pm, US Central Savings Time, you may join the Zoom call to participate in the live Q&A session where you can submit questions to her. It is easy to register ahead of time or this online event, at no charge, to watch and hear a bevy of world class speakers throughout the four days of this online summit.