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History of Hymns: Priest bases hymn on call to be ‘fishers of men’

Of his five hymns in the UM Hymnal, “Pescador de Hombres” (“Fisher of Men”), the original Spanish title, is the most popular and indeed, one of the more popular newer hymns in the hymnal. Written in 1979, “Tú has venido a la orilla” (the Spanish opening line) is based on the parallel passages found in the synoptic gospels on Jesus’ calling of his first disciples (Matthew 4:18-20; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11).

History of Hymns: Hymn celebrates role of music in worship

Even though it is a 21st-century hymn text, it is hard to separate “When Words Alone Cannot Express” from the familiar 17th-century hymn tune for which it was written—LASST UNS ERFREUEN, a tune often associated with the hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King.” The Rev. John Thornburg’s hymn uses this singable and triumphant melody to provide an explanation of the role of music in worship.

History of Hymns: Poetic touch enriches hymns by Anglican bishop

To create a fully functional hymn that has as much poetic integrity as “Jesus, the Saving Name” is a testament to Bishop Dudley-Smith’s mastery of the craft, just as his talent for “hiding the obvious” is a testament to his creative imagination.

History of Hymns: Wesley hymn invites all to ‘the Gospel Feast’

We are reminded that truth, as well as sustenance, is found in the gospel. Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast” is an invitation to that table and a reiteration of that truth.

History of Hymns: ‘Softly and Tenderly’ famed as invitation song

The genius of a gospel song is usually found in the refrain and this one is no exception. The refrain extends the invitation to “come home” four times in the melody, and an additional two times in the accompanying lower voices.

History of Hymns: Sermon on the Mount inspires ‘Purify My Heart’

One of Mr. Leach’s most beautiful hymns is “Purify My Heart” which was part of a self-assigned project of writing hymns based on the Beatitudes. It is sung with a wonderful tune in F minor, TURN MY HEART, that was composed by Amanda Husberg, a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod musician in New York City.

History of Hymns: Famed Wesley hymn offers praise to a loving God

The youngest of 18 children, Charles possessed prodigious talents that soon blossomed. Little did he know that “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” would rise to become one of the most popular and consistently vocalized Christian songs.

History of Hymns: This ‘Song of Bethlehem’ isn’t just for Christmas

Louis Fitzgerald Benson (1855-1930), born in Philadelphia, was a person of varied talents. Trained first in law, Benson also was an ordained Presbyterian minister, and served a congregation in Germantown, Pa. He then worked as an editor for the Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, where he published a series of hymnals. He was known, during his own lifetime and today, as one of the finest American hymnologists.

History of Hymns: ‘Alleluia! Give Thanks’ celebrates resurrection

Among the songs of this genre that has stood the test of time is “Alleluia, Alleluia! Give Thanks” by Donald Emry Fishel (b. 1950). Following good folk song practice, the refrain of his tune ALLELUIA NO. 1 is easily learned and memorized after one hearing. The accompaniment and even the key in which the song is written (E Major) are perfect for the folk guitar, though most hymnals also make use of a piano version as well.

History of Hymns: ‘Alas! and Did’ explores our response to the cross

“Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed” belongs to a much larger family of Passion hymns which serve as rhapsodies on the wonder of “forensic justification” (a theological term meaning that through Christ’s sacrifice we receive a righteousness that is not our own). Indeed, Watts’ chief competitor in this category is probably . . . also Watts.