I didn’t grow up a Baptist. I did grow up in the church, but I wasn’t properly introduced to Southern Baptist culture until I went to college (at a Southern Baptist university, I might add.) Over those years and through a myriad of experiences, I fell in love with southern church culture.
Although I go to an incredibly contemporary, culturally “relevant” church in the RDU area, I still find myself longing for that small church, “church I grew up in” atmosphere. In a body of believers that gathers in 8 locations across the Triangle, I find myself feeling lost and irrelevant, just a number in a sea a faces. I love the preaching, the missions focus, and the centrality of the gospel, and so I’ve stayed, trying to build community in that sea of people that enters through the doors of my campus each week.
There are rare moments, however, where I feel our church body get a little smaller. I can think of only a handful of times, but one of the most often times is during the worship portion of our service. Here, in this ostensibly “relevant”, modern body of believers, we sing…hymns.
Not only hymns, but the hymns of the greats. The hymns you grew up singing in your hometown, that bring back the fondest memories of unity and small church culture. Today, I offer you a list of my favorites. Hymns that have been reintroduced to me by my friends, my church, and other areas. Timeless words, with gospel refrains.
- It is Well With My Soul: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FexGqNDBK3g
What a classic. I think what has struck a chord with me in this one is the REST of the verses. Most of us could probably sing the first verse from memory, but the rest have faded into the background. This version, sung by BYU’s acapella group called Vocal Point, doesn’t have all of the verses but is a beautiful rendition all the same.
- All Glory Be to Christ: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20eBoDj5i-8
- Before the throne of God Above: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LpjzDCk-Io
- At Calvary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hA1xMB_3-A
- Come Thou Fount: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0wRw-dbmy8
- Come, Behold the Wondrous Mystery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqWiIp_KLUc
Come behold the wondrous mystery
Christ the Lord upon the tree
In the stead of ruined sinners
Hangs the Lamb in victory
See the price of our redemption
See the Father’s plan unfold
Bringing many sons to glory
Grace unmeasured, love untold
What a delightful mystery that Christ, God’s son incarnate, came for us. To die for us, to rise for us, to give us the opportunity to behold Him.
When I listen to hymns, I am reminded that thousands of saints have gone before us, singing their own praises to God. Let us join in that refrain, adding our own choruses, but not forgetting the songs that have come before us.