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History of Hymns: Eucharist hymn reflects black gospel tradition

“Taste and See” James E. Moore The Faith We Sing, No. 2267 Taste and see, taste and see the goodness of the Lord. I will bless the Lord at all times. Praise shall always be on my lips; my soul shall glory in the Lord for God has been so good to me. *   […]

History of Hymns: ‘Just a Closer Walk’ remains a traditional song for jazz funerals

“Just a Closer Walk with Thee” Anonymous The Faith We Sing, No. 2158 I am weak, but thou art strong; Jesus, keep me from all wrong; I’ll be satisfied as long as I walk, let me walk close to thee. Just a closer walk with thee, grant it, Jesus, is my plea, daily walking close […]

History of Hymns: Famed hymn begins as poem in time of sorrow

“What a Friend We Have in Jesus” Joseph Scriven UM Hymnal, No. 526  What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry […]

History of Hymns: Argentine song reflects chamarrita dance form

“¡Miren Qué Bueno!” (“Look, How Good It Is!”) Pablo Sosa The Faith We Sing, No. 2231  ¡Miren Qué Bueno, qué bueno es! O look and wonder, how good it is! Look at how good it is for us to be here all together, it is like precious oil that runs from Aaron’s head and beard. […]

History of Hymns: Apocalyptic vision leads to famous 19th-century hymn

“Shall We Gather at the River” Robert Lowry UM Hymnal, No. 723 Shall we gather at the river, Where bright angel feet have trod, With its crystal tide forever Flowing by the throne of God? Yes, we’ll gather at the river, The beautiful, the beautiful river; Gather with the saints at the river That flows […]

History of Hymns: New Zealand composer bases best-known song on call to servanthood

“The Servant Song” Richard Gillard The Faith We Sing, No. 2222 Brother, sister, let me serve you, let me be as Christ to you; pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant , too.*   Richard Gillard (b. 1953) was born in England and brought at age 3 to New […]

History of Hymns: Famed hymn expresses writer’s longing for heaven

“Nearer, My God, to Thee” Sarah F. Adams UM Hymnal, No. 528  Nearer, my God to thee, Nearer to thee! E’en though it be a cross That raiseth me, Still all my song shall be, Nearer my God, to thee; Nearer, my God to thee, Nearer to thee. The English poet Sarah Adams (1805-1848) was […]

History of Hymns: Spirit of Reformation marks ‘Lift Our Song’

“In Unity We Lift Our Song” Ken Medema The Faith We Sing, No. 2221 In unity we lift our song of grateful adoration, for brothers brave and sisters strong. What cause for celebration! * Ken Medema (b. 1943), one of the most versatile, creative and enduring Christian artists today, is now in his 40th year […]

Evening hymn declares that ‘Christ is our light’

“Now It Is Evening” Fred Pratt Green The Faith We Sing, No. 2187  Now it is evening: Lights of the city bid us remember Christ is our light. Many are lonely, who will be neighbor? Where there is caring Christ is our light. *  The tradition of singing evening hymns in Christianity dates back at […]

‘Battle Hymn’ inspired by visit to troops in Civil War

“Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory” Julia Ward Howe UM Hymnal, No. 717  Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword; His truth is marching on. Julia […]