Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Those Old Hymns

I stole a hymnal from a church pew one day.  How bad is that?  I wanted to take it back later, but could never muster up the courage.  As it turns out, most churches threw away all the hymnals anyway.

When you go to church these days (if you go) - you don't sing hymns anymore.  Most churches have gone contemporary - and you don't even hold a book, you read from the big screen on the wall.   
But occasionally, and what I now find fascinating, when they do sing the old ones - I seem to know every word and even most of the versus.   Why?  Why do I know the words to so many hymns?  My mom and dad is why.  He was a preacher and I was the little kid in the front row sitting not-so-still.  But I heard and sang every song for a very long time: week-after-week, month-after-month, year-after-year.  Dad loved the old hymns (still does), and back then there wasn't much contemporary music out there (and if there was, the blue-haired lady at the organ couldn't play it).
Now, the hymnals are gone (some stolen, some thrown away).  I remember as an eight or nine year old, I would occupy my time in church finding all the hymns written by "Fanny" Crosby.  I'm not proud of this mind you.  I would whisper and laugh with my friends, "I found another 'fanny' - hee, hee, hee".  But I was eight and I was a good boy after all - that was as bad as I got in those days - living on the edge of darkness, making light of Fanny Crosby.  Ya, I was a bad one.
But I'm not kidding - I know all these hymns.  Even if I can't recite every verse, I know the timing, the tune, and I can hum along with the best of them.  I can still see the page numbers like "429" or "278".  I can still see the 'written by' and 'composed by' descriptions.  I remember always wondering why a song writer rarely wrote his or her own music to go with it - strange I thought:  if you're gonna write a song, wouldn't you sing it to some music or tune that you also made up?  Then, there was the closing prayer and I moved on to other thoughts ......
If I was ever to be a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam, in the dark dense forests, in a cage with rats, I would still have my hymns to fill my mind.  This would keep me alive.  And they ARE awesome.
Thanks mom and dad - for imprinting the great hymns on my mind over those years.  And I promise, when I finally meet Fanny Crosby upstairs, I will laugh with her at my silliness, I'll get her autograph, we'll take pictures and sing "To God Be The Glory" all night long!

No comments:

Post a Comment