Posted by: rcottrill | July 15, 2019

Midst the Darkness, Storm and Sorrow

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Emma Frances Shuttleworth Bevan (b. Sept. 25, 1827; d. Feb. 13, 1909)
Music: Almaden, by S. H. Price (no further information available)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Emma Bevan) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Emma Bevan was the daughter of Philip Shuttleworth, warden of New College at Oxford, and later bishop of Chichester, England. In 1856, she married Robert Bevan, of the Lombard Street banking firm that later became Barclays Bank Limited. She wrote many fine hymns. Some have attributed the present hymn to Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676), but it seems certain it was original with Bevan.

The late Agatha Christie (1890-1976) is the top selling novelist of all time–three billion books sold, and counting. Her speciality was cleverly plotted mystery stories. Popular books such as The Mysterious Affair at Styles, And Then There Were None, and more than sixty more, built her reputation as the Queen of Crime.

With many misleading clues along the way, Christie tries to keep us guessing as to the solution of each puzzle until the very end. But in a book published in 1934 she daringly put the answer at the beginning, in the very title. Once the meaning of the question Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? is understood, all the tangled threads of the plot fall into place, showing what happened, and why.

In a way, it’s the same with the Bible. It starts with the words, “In the beginning God” (Gen. 1:1). And that’s the answer and explanation of everything that follows. God alone is eternal, “from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps. 90:2). Human history begins with God, because all things begin with Him, are sustained by Him and, in one way or another, find their final destiny in Him (Rom. 11:36). And “by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Heb. 11:3).

Evolutionists strive mightily to convince us that everything came spontaneously from nothing, that life sprung somehow from non-life, and each intricate marvel of creation is the result of billions of years of blind chance. Matthew Henry (1662-1714) began his commentary on the Bible more than three hundred years ago. And, in the opening chapter’s description of creation, he says:

“Concerning this, the pagan philosophers wretchedly blundered, some asserting the world’s eternity and self-existence, others ascribing it to a fortuitous concourse of atoms. Thus ‘the world by wisdom knew not God’ [I Cor. 1:21, KJV] but took great pains to lose Him!”

The entire Bible is about God and His relationship with man. It’s difficult to determine exactly how many times He is mentioned, given the many names and titles plus personal pronouns used for Him. But even the words God and Lord are found in the Scriptures more than ten thousand times. And over and again the inspired authors anchor their beliefs and actions in the creative work of the Lord (e.g. Ps. 148:1-5; Jer. 32:16-17; Zech. 12:1ff; Acts 4:24, 29).

The New Testament makes clear that the Lord Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, had an active part in the work of creation. “All things were created through Him and for Him” (Col. 1:16-17; cf. Jn. 1:1, 3). And through faith in Him and His sacrifice on the cross we’re redeemed and receive everlasting life. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).

The long record of human history is to end with eternal blessing in His presence, when Christ returns to take us to the heavenly home He’s prepared for us (Jn. 14:2-3). “Surely I am coming quickly,” Jesus says. And with the Apostle John we reply, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20). What a shattering and yet glorious experience it will be to stand in the presence of our Creator and Redeemer. To borrow and insightful observation of C. S. Lewis, We’ll be “too afraid to be glad, and too glad to be afraid.”

That day is wonderfully portrayed by English hymn writer Emma Bevan in her fourteen stanza hymn about heaven.

CH-1) ’Midst the darkness, storm and sorrow,
One bright gleam I see;
Well I know the blessèd morrow
Christ will come for me.

CH-2) ’Midst the light, and peace, and glory
Of the Father’s home,
Christ for me is watching, waiting,
Waiting till I come.

CH-10) He and I together entering
Those fair courts above–
He and I together sharing
All the Father’s love.

CH-14) He and I, in that bright glory,
One deep joy shall share–
Mine, to be for ever with Him;
His, that I am there.

Questions:
1) How should the anticipation of our heavenly home with Christ affect us here and now?

2) The C. S. Lewis quotation above comes from The Chronicles of Narnia. Explain, in your own words, how it fits our future meeting with Christ.

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Emma Bevan) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | July 11, 2019

May the Mind of Christ, My Saviour

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Kate Barclay Wilkinson (b. Aug. 27, 1859; d. Dec. 28, 1928)
Music: St. Leonards, by Arthur Cyril Barham-Gould (b. _____, 1891; d. Feb. 14, 1953)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Little is known of the British author of this hymn. Her maiden name was Kate Johnson. She married in 1891 (using the name Katie) Frederick Barclay Wilkinson (ca. 1855-1937), a clerk from London. This is the only hymn she is known to have written. The composer of the tune was an Anglican clergyman.

The human mind is a wonderful thing. Scientists are still exploring its powers and functions. And we have many colourful expressions that use the word, though they may not always relate directly to our mental faculties. Consider: changing your mind, mind your own business, I’ve half a mind, out of his mind, make up your mind, a mind of his own, bear in mind, it blew his mind, mind you, it’s all in your mind, mind games, mind over matter.

But we need to ask: What is the mind? It might be harder to define precisely than we suppose. If there’s life after death–which many of us believe–we need to make a distinction between the mind and the brain. The brain is a physical organ. When the body dies, the brain dies. But a conscious existence after death will surely involve thinking, feeling, perceiving, deciding, and remembering–all functions of the mind.

Possibly the mind is what the New Testament refers to as the soul. It’s the psychological part of man. And the Greek word commonly translated soul is psuche (soo-kay), from which our word psychology comes. With the body (through our physical senses) we have world consciousness; with our souls we have self consciousness. And through our spirits, when we are born again of the Spirit of God, we gain God consciousness, and a new awareness of spiritual realities.

There’s a verse in Philippians that uses the word mind in a slightly different way. Paul is exhorting his readers to humbly and graciously serve one another…

“Being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:2-4).

As the supreme example of what he means, he speaks of the humbling of the Lord Jesus, when He came to this earth to suffer and die for our sins (vs. 6-8). And he says (in the King James Version), “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (vs. 5).

Modern Bible translators often use the word attitude there, instead of mind. It’s speaking of our point of view, particularly as it relates to others. Rather than a selfish and self-centred outlook that’s concerned primarily for our own advantage, we’re to think of the needs of others and adopt a perspective of humble servanthood.

If the Lord had thought only of Himself, He never would have left heaven’s glory to suffer the pain and ignominy of Calvary. But He wanted to redeem lost sinners, so they might be fitted to spend eternity with Him. It was “for the joy that was set before Him [He] endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2).

His humble sacrifice is to be a pattern for His followers.

“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (Jn. 13:14-15).

“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (I Pet. 2:21).

It’s an exalted purpose, and only by the daily grace of God can we begin to live it out (Heb. 4:14-16). Around 1913, Kate Barclay Wilkinson wrote a beautiful hymn based on Philippians 2:5. The six stanzas can serve well as a practical application of what the text should mean when it’s lived out in our daily lives.

CH-1) May the mind of Christ, my Saviour,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

CH-2) May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

CH-4) May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.

CH-6) May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.

Questions:
1) Is there someone you know who regularly shows he/she has the mind of Christ?

2) How does this show itself in the person mentioned?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | July 8, 2019

Lord, It Belongs Not to My Care

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Richard Baxter (b. Nov. 12, 1615; d. Dec. 8, 1691)
Music: Evan, by William Henry Havergal (b. Jan. 18, 1793; d. Apr. 19, 1870)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (nothing in the Almanac for this hymn, but for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Richard Baxter was a clergyman in England during a time of great upheaval. There was the removal and execution of King Charles, under Oliver Cromwell. Baxter served as chaplain of one of Cromwell’s regiments. Later, after the Restoration, there was a new king, Charles II, whom Baxter served as chaplain. William Havergal, also an English clergyman, was the father of hymn writer Frances Havergal.

It’s likely an expression we’ve heard–maybe even used ourselves. One person will ask another, “What time have you got?” Meaning, what does your watch say the time is?

But there’s another, and much more sobering, way to read that question. What time have you got left of your mortal life? Medical discoveries seem to be pushing the limits of the average life span on a little. But that’s just it. It’s an average, not an individual guarantee. Yes, there seem to be more people living into their nineties and beyond. But not all do. Maladies, mishaps and malice can bring someone’s life to a sudden and unexpected end.

As Ecclesiastes puts it, there’s “a time to be born, and a time to die” (Ecc. 3:2). But did those on September 11th of 2001, going to work as usual at the World Trade Centre, know that would be their time to die? No. Nor, in Christ’s day, did those “eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them” (Lk. 13:1-5). The Lord doesn’t give each of us a guarantee that we’ll have a long pilgrimage on this earth.

It’s no good being anxious and worried about that. In truth, chronic worry may itself shorten our lives. The Bible says, “Do not fret–it only causes harm” (Ps. 37:8). “Who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (Matt. 6:27, NASB). Even so, there are some things we need to do.

First, be ready.
“Be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Lk. 12:40). However long we live, it’s less than the blink of an eye in comparison to eternity. Each of us needs to be ready for that by claiming God’s remedy for sin. We do that by putting our faith in the Saviour, who died on the cross to bear sin’s punishment for us (Jn. 3:16; I Cor. 15:3). It’s also important after that to deepen our fellowship with the Lord by spending regular time in His Word and in prayer.

Second, be busy.
We ought to use the gifts an opportunities the Lord gives us to serve Him. And a related point: We need to plan for the future to some degree (Lk. 14:28), but we must not become possessive of our plans, demanding that God has to do things our way. “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit;’ whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow” (Jas. 4:13-14).

Third, be far-sighted.
As Christians we can look beyond the uncertainties and the trials of this life to the eternal future God has prepared for the saints. It’s said of the patriarch Abraham, “He waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:10). The Lord Jesus promised, “ I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:2-3). Christians have that to look forward to which is “far better” (Phil. 1:23).

This relates to a touching and insightful hymn by English clergyman Richard Baxter. His hymn wrestles with the issue of time discussed above.

CH-1) Lord, it belongs not to my care
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve Thee is my share,
And this Thy grace must give.

CH-2) If life be long, I will be glad,
That I may long obey;
If short, yet why should I be sad
To welcome endless day?

CH-5) Then I shall end my sad complaints
And weary sinful days,
And join with the triumphant saints
That sing my Saviour’s praise.

CH-6) My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;
But ’tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.

Questions:
1) What are some common worries about the future?

2) Why do you think God does not commonly reveal to us how much time of life we have left?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (nothing in the Almanac for this hymn, but for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | July 4, 2019

Just As I Am

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Charlotte Elliott (b. Mar. 18, 1789; d. Sept. 22, 1871)
Music: Woodworth, by William Batchelder Bradbury (b. Oct. 6, 1816; d. Jan. 7, 1868)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Charlotte Elliott) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Charlotte Elliott was the granddaughter of a pastor, and two of her brothers also entered the ministry. She carried on a long correspondence with César Malan, who led her to the Lord. Miss Elliott was invalided for the last fifty years of her life, but she wrote several books of verse, and about 150 hymns. According to Hymnary.org, Just As I Am is found in 1,629 hymn books, testifying to its effective use as an invitation hymn, and a statement of saving faith.

In 1902, British author Rudyard Kipling produced a book of stories that went on to become a classic of children’s literature. With illustrations drawn by Kipling himself, it told fanciful tales of how animals got their unique characteristics–how the camel got his hump, how the elephant got his trunk, and so on.

The chapters had their origin in bedtime stories Mr. Kipling told his daughter Josephine (“Effie”). The book’s unusual title, Just So Stories, came from that nightly ritual. As young children often do, Effie would ask for the stories to be told and retold. And the author says:

“You were not allowed to alter those by one single little word. They had to be told just so; or Effie would wake up and put back the missing sentence.”

There are other things that have to be “just so.” Computer language provides an example. Some addresses to a particular page can involve a hundred letters, numbers, and symbols. Get one wrong, and the machine won’t take you where you want to go. It’s no good arguing that your effort is 99% perfect. It just won’t do. And we can be thankful for this precision when we add passwords to sites we want to keep private.

This has its application to God’s plan of eternal salvation. There’s a theory that entry into heaven has to do with whether, when we stand before our Maker, our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds. But here’s what the Bible says:

“Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them” (Gal. 3:10). “Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (Jas. 2:10).

We might liken it to someone hanging over an abyss by a long chain. How many links of the chain would have to break for the person to fall? Only one. Likewise, God’s standard is “just so.” Perfection is required, and none of us qualify. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

Our condition is hopeless, unless God intervenes. And He has. The perfect Son of God came to earth as Man, and suffered the wrath of God in our place. “Christ died for our sins” (I Cor. 15:3). That’s the meaning of Calvary.“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).

Not that there’s anything wrong with trying to live a good life. It’s simply that no life is good enough to gain God’s heaven. When we come to Him just was we are, “warts and all,” and put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we’re trusting that our sins were charged against Him, long ago, and now His perfect righteousness is credited to our account (II Cor. 5:21).

What we’ve been considering was lived out in the life of Charlotte Elliott. For a period of time, in 1822, she was deeply burdened about her spiritual need, but was unsure of how to become a Christian. She spoke about it to a minister of the gospel named César Malan, saying she supposed she needed to do something to make herself acceptable to God. But he replied that she needed to “Come to Him just as you are.” And she did.

Some years later she wrote a now familiar hymn about her experience that day–which she looked upon as the date of her spiritual birthday. The song says:

CH-1) Just as I am–without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee–
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

CH-2) Just as I am–and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot–
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

CH-3) Just as I am–though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without–
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

CH-5) Just as I am–Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe–
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Every verse of this hymn is insightful. You can check them out on the Cyber Hymnal link. And that site includes a beautiful seventh stanza not found in many hymnals. It carries the believer’s relationship with Christ on into eternity.

(CH-7) Just as I am–of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above–
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Questions:
1) Was there a day when you came to Christ “just as you are” to receive His salvation? (If this has not been your experience, I invite you to check out God’s Plan of Salvation.)

2) What are you doing currently to share the gospel, and support the sharing of the gospel by others?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Charlotte Elliott) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | July 1, 2019

I Want to Be Like Jesus

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Thomas Obediah Chisholm (b. July 29, 1866; d. Feb. 29, 1960)
Music: David Livingstone Ives (b. _____, 1921)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Thomas Chisholm born, died) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal (Thomas Chisholm)
Hymnary.org

Note: Mr. Chisholm became a school teacher at the age of sixteen, then a newspaper editor, and he became a pastor for a short time (before ill health led to his resignation). But it’s as the author of hundreds of hymns that we know him today.

Note also that Chisholme died on February 29th, one of the few hymn writers who were born or died on that leap year day. Because 2010 was not a leap year, when the Almanac portion of this blog was written, I included articles for that date at the bottom of the page on February 28th.

Desire. The dictionary says to desire something is to wish for, long for, crave, or want it, often for our own enjoyment or satisfaction. The term seems to have come, centuries ago, from the phrase de sidere, meaning from the stars. Perhaps this indicated a belief in astrology, looking to the heavens to see what fate, or good luck would come.

We have many desires. Some seem to be good and worthy. We have a desire for financial stability, and the safety of our children. But because of the sinfulness of the human heart, we may also crave things that are bad, or harmful to us. When greed or lust come into play, our desires have taken a wrong turn.

And are there ever neutral desires–ones that are neither good nor bad? Possibly. There are at least ones that seem relatively inconsequential. But we don’t always know what the final outcome will be of the desires that result in a multitude of choices and decisions each day.

More importantly we need to think about this: what is our greatest desire? What’s the one that sets the direction of our lives, the one that influences and guides the lesser desires of our days? It’s possible to say of this overarching desire that, rather than us having it, it has us. It grips us. It flavours all we do, either with sweetness or bitterness, depending on what it is. Hatred or jealousy toward some individual can do the former, and wholesome love can do the latter.

In the Bible, some form of the word desire is used over 200 times. The first reference provides a negative example. The devil (in the guise of a serpent) contradicted God’s warning about not eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge (Gen. 2:17; 3:4-5), and the Bible says, “When the woman [Eve] saw that the tree was…desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate (Gen. 3:6). It effect, they were saying God had lied to them, and Satan was speaking the truth.

Overwhelmingly, on the positive side, we see the people of God desiring to know Him, and to live to please Him.

“Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You” (Ps. 73:25).

“O Lord, we have waited for You; the desire of our soul is for Your name and for the remembrance of You” (Isa. 26:8).

In the New Testament, this becomes a desire to know Christ, to serve Him, and to follow His example in both character and conduct (Phil. 3:7-11). Paul says:

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain…having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Phil. 1:21, 23).

“One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).

Understandably, this deep spiritual craving has entered our hymnody. There’s James Rowe’s, “Earthly pleasures vainly call me; I would be like Jesus.” And Johnson Oatman’s “Shining for Jesus everywhere I go.” But it’s to a lovely hymn by Thomas Chisholm that we turn here. I Want to Be Like Jesus presents the ruling desire of his long life.

1) I have one deep, supreme desire,
That I may be like Jesus.
To this I fervently aspire,
That I may be like Jesus.
I want my heart His throne to be,
So that a watching world may see
His likeness shining forth in me.
I want to be like Jesus.

4) O perfect life of Christ, my Lord!
I want to be like Jesus.
My recompense and my reward,
That I may be like Jesus.
His Spirit fill my hung’ring soul,
His power all my life control;
My deepest prayer, my highest goal,
That I may be like Jesus.

Questions:
1) What is the quality you most admire in the Lord Jesus?

2) What are some practical ways this can be revealed in your own life?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Thomas Chisholm born, died) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal (Thomas Chisholm)
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | June 27, 2019

Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words:
Paul Gerhardt (b. Mar. 12, 1607; d. May 27, 1676)
Music: St. Catherine (or Walton), by Henri Frederick Hemy (b. Nov. 12, 1818; d. June 10, 1888)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Paul Gerhardt born, died) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Paul Gerhardt was a German pastor and theologian who also gave us a number of beautiful hymns. From 1653 comes this lengthy (sixteen stanza) hymn, translated into English nearly a century later by John Wesley. For the wonderful story behind another hymn by Pastor Gerhardt, Give to the Winds Thy Fears, see here. It gives insight into the man’s character.

The expression “staying power” has been around for nearly two centuries. Originally it referred to the stamina and endurance needed to maintain speed through a race. But it has since been applied to human endeavour in other areas, and to human relationships such as friendship and marriage. The question in the latter case is: will the bond last?

The enduring partnership of George and Ira Gershwin produced many popular songs and Broadway musicals in the early part of the twentieth century. As a composer, George created a unique style of music, combining the classical genre with American jazz. His older brother Ira provided effective lyrics for George’s melodies.

In 1937, George composed his last tune–before a brain tumour took his life at the early age of thirty-eight. After his death, Ira wrote lyrics for the music as a tribute to his brother. The result was a charming, and often recorded love song entitled Love Is Here to Stay–“not for a year, but ever and a day.”

Contrasts are made in the song to things that may simply be “passing fancies,” such as “the movies that we know.” Even the seemingly unshakable Rocky Mountains, and the rock of Gibraltar may some day be gone, “they’re only made of clay,” but “our love is here to stay.” It has staying power, or so the song claims.

It’s a warmly touching sentiment. But we all know many such pledges are broken every day. The unconditional vows of the traditional wedding ceremony, “to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, turn out to be “I’ll still love you if…” or “I’ll remain faithful to you if…”

This issue enters the spiritual realm when we consider the Lord’s love for us, and our love for Him. As to the former, it reaches from eternity past, into the eternal future. It was the love of God that sent His Son to Calvary to pay our debt of sin (Jn. 3:16; Gal. 2:20). Our Saviour “loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev. 1:5). And it’s a tender love that guides us all the way to our eternal home.

Of our own love, the Lord Jesus says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37). But the truth is often different. Sometimes, He noted, “people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honour Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matt. 15:8). We need a work of the Spirit of God within to develop a deep and enduring love for the Lord (Gal. 5:22).

Gerhardt’s hymn celebrates both the Calvary love mentioned above, and the ongoing power of that glorious love in his life.

CH-1) Jesus, Thy boundless love to me
No thought can reach, no tongue declare:
O knit my thankful heart to Thee
And reign without a rival there;
Thine wholly, Thine alone I am;
Be Thou alone my constant flame.

CH-12) What in Thy love possess I not?
My star by night, my sun by day;
My spring of life when parched with drought,
My wine to cheer, my bread to stay,
My strength, my shield, my safe abode,
My robe before the throne of God!

But, in contrast, the author sees his own love for the Lord pitifully weak and inconstant. He confesses, in stanza 6:

“More hard than marble is my heart,
And foul with sins of deepest stain.”

So he prays:

CH-2) O, grant that nothing in my soul
May dwell, but Thy pure love alone;
Oh, may Thy love possess me whole,
My joy, my treasure, and my crown.
Strange fires far from my heart remove;
My every act, word, thought, be love.

May this be true of each of us.

Questions:
1) How have you shown and shared the love of Christ with others during the past week?

2) What do you believe is still lacking in your life of the expression of the love of Christ? (For a list of some characteristics, see First Corinthians 13:4-8a.)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Paul Gerhardt born, died) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | June 24, 2019

Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Bernard of Clairvaux (b. _____, 1091; d. Aug. 21, 1153)
Music: St. Agnes, by John Bacchus Dykes (b. Mar. 10, 1823; d. Jan. 22, 1876)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article on the hymn see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Bernard lived about eight centuries ago. He was a deeply spiritually minded man. Centuries after his time, Protestant reformer Martin Luther called him, “the best monk that ever lived, whom I admire beyond all the rest put together.” The Cyber Hymnal has fifteen stanzas for this hymn, including other lines from the longer poem from which the hymn was taken. Most hymnals use only four or five of these.

Sometimes there are sentiments expressed in romantic songs–wholesome ones–that seem to point to our relationship with the Lord, in a deeper and more spiritual sense. That’s not to say there’s no difference between sacred and secular, or between human and divine. But there are some parallels.

In 1934, English band leader Ray Stanley Noble wrote words and music for a tender ballad called The Very Thought of You. With recordings by well known singers such as Billie Holiday and Nat King Cole, it soon became a popular standard. A look at the lyrics invites the comparison mentioned earlier. The song begins:

The very thought of you
And I forget to do
The little ordinary things
That everyone ought to do.

Being in a loving relationship affects our behaviour. At the human level, the intensity of emotion can induce a kind of absent-mindedness bordering on amnesia. Accidentally putting on socks that don’t match, or leaving the house and forgetting to close the door, could be symptoms of it.

That might sometimes happen occasionally in the Christian’s relationship with the Lord, but there’s another aspect of it to consider. Our love for the Lord Jesus ought to affect our behaviour. But it should prompt us to do those things, morally, “that everyone ought to do.”

“If you love Me, keep my commandments,” Christ said. “Whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected [brought to maturity] in him” (I Jn. 2:5).

Then Noble’s song says:

You’ll never know
How slow the moments go
Till I’m near to you.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, says the old proverb. Being away from each other for a time can increase the desire to be together again. But, as with many maxims, there’s another one that says just the opposite: out of sight, out of mind.

In the spiritual realm, the knowledge that we have a personal relationship with the eternal God should excite a desire to fellowship with Him, through prayer and the study of His Word. But what if it doesn’t?

Sometimes the dulling of our desire results from a neglect of the activities mentioned, regular times in His Word, and in prayer. Also, a prolonged absence from the house of God, and fellowship with His people can do the same. But the most common cause is sin in our lives that has not been confessed and forsaken. It was when Adam and Eve sinned that they were moved to hide from God (Gen. 3:8).

Finally, the lover in the popular ballad says:

I see your face in every flower,
You eyes in stars above.

Everywhere he looks, he sees things that remind him of the one he loves. And there’s a spiritual correspondence there too. We see God’s hand at work in everything. Everywhere, there are tokens of His grace and power.

An 1876 hymn called Loved with Everlasting Love, by clergyman George Robinson, puts the spiritual parallel this way:

Heav’n above is softer blue,
Earth around is sweeter green!
Something lives in every hue
Christless eyes have never seen.

Believers are given a new perspective on life, we view things in a different way. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (II Cor. 5:17).

Bernard produced a hymn that echoes Noble’s secular ballad in a profoundly spiritual way.

CH-1) Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills the breast;
But sweeter far Thy face to see,
And in Thy presence rest.

CH-2) Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find
A sweeter sound than Thy blest name,
O Saviour of mankind!

CH-5) Jesus, our only joy be Thou,
As Thou our prize will be;
Jesus be Thou our glory now,
And through eternity.

Questions:
1) Do you know Christians for whom Christ is a real and beloved presence in their daily lives?

2) How does this show itself?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article on the hymn see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | June 20, 2019

Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: John Newton (b. July 24, 1725; d. Dec. 21, 1807)
Music: All Saints Old, from Darmstadt Gesangbuch, 1698

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (John Newton)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: The tune Regent Square, by Henry Smart (1813-1879) works with the present hymn too. This is the tune used for the carol, Angels from the Realms of Glory.

Some consider Orson Welles’s 1941 masterpiece, Citizen Kane, to be the greatest movie Hollywood ever produced. In it, among many gems of acting, staging and cinematography, there’s a famous scene depicting Charles Foster Kane having breakfast with his wife.

Using a montage of short clips, Welles shows the passage of time, and the increasing estrangement of the couple. In the first shot, Charlie kisses Emily good morning, and tells her he adores her. In the next there’s complaining, later comes criticism, then angry contradiction. And in the final scene, coldness. They sit at opposite ends of the table reading newspapers, and communication has ceased. It’s become a marriage in name only. (You can view the montage here.)

We have an expression for that: going through the motions. It means doing a thing without enthusiasm or personal commitment. Maybe even faking it, putting on an act as if something is real, when it’s not.

That can happen in a marriage. It can also happen in a local church. A church can have magnificent decor, robed choristers, perhaps a great pipe organ–or even an orchestra. It can have stirring rituals, candles, incense, and large numbers in attendance. But if those present aren’t doing business with the living Christ, if it’s all surface and no soul, all words and no holy wonder, then it’s an abomination to God.

That was true of a church described in the Bible–a church in the city of Laodicea, situated in what is modern day Turkey. The glorified Christ describes several things wrong with them.

1) One was their insensitive and prideful self-satisfaction. They were totally blind to their spiritual poverty. “You say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’–and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17).

2) Then there was their lukewarmness concerning service for God–about which He has searing criticism. “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (vs. 15-16).

3) And finally, the Lord pictures Himself on the outside, looking in. They may have had fine music about Him, they may have read Scriptures about Him, they may have had rituals meant to represent Him, but He was not a living presence among them. Christ says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine [fellowship] with him, and he with Me” (vs. 20).

Expressing a stark contrast to this is a little known hymn by English clergyman John Newton, the author of the hymn Amazing Grace, and many others. Published in 1774, his song Let Us Love, and Sing, and Wonder is a call for a depth of heartfelt passion that should regularly characterize our assemblies. We need divinely inspired love, songs from the heart, and awed wonderment at the greatness of our God.

The last lines of the hymn (in stanza 6) are sobering. They call attention to the weakness of our praise, even at our best. Congregations for which the singing of our great hymns has become a kind of meaningless ritual need to give Pastor Newton’s words careful thought.

Lord, we blush, and are confounded,
Faint our praises, cold our love!
Wash our souls and songs with blood,
For by Thee we come to God.

CH-1) Let us love and sing and wonder,
Let us praise the Saviour’s name!
He has hushed the law’s loud thunder,
He has quenched Mount Sinai’s flame.
He has washed us with His blood,
He has brought us nigh to God.

CH-2) Let us love the Lord who bought us,
Pitied us when enemies,
Called us by His grace, and taught us,
Gave us ears and gave us eyes:
He has washed us with His blood,
He presents our souls to God.

CH-3) Let us sing, though fierce temptation
Threaten hard to bear us down!
For the Lord, our strong salvation,
Holds in view the conqueror’s crown:
He who washed us with His blood
Soon will bring us home to God.

CH-4) Let us wonder, grace and justice
Join and point to mercy’s store;
When through grace in Christ our trust is,
Justice smiles and asks no more:
He who washed us with His blood
Has secured our way to God.

Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth….loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev. 1:5).

Questions:
1) What does it mean to “wonder,” (or have wonder) as John Newton uses the term?

2) How would you assess the hymn singing of your own church?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (John Newton)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | June 17, 2019

Jesus, These Eyes Have Never Seen

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Ray Palmer (b. Nov. 12, 1808; d. Mar. 29, 1887)
Music: Sawley, by James Walch (b. June 21, 1837; d. Aug. 30, 1901)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Ray Palmer) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Ray Palmer, the son of a Rhode Island judge, was an American pastor who served churches in Maine and New York State. He also wrote a great deal of poetry, including the familiar hymn, My Faith Looks Up to Thee. And in the present lesser known song he speaks movingly of our spiritual fellowship with the Lord now, and of the day when we shall see Him face to face. The Cyber Hymnal will give you the little incident that led to the writing of Pastor Palmer’s lovely hymn.

T here are individuals whose words or works are so influential they significantly affect their own time, and even cast a long shadow after they’re gone. We speak of the long reigns of both Queen Elizabeth the First and Queen Victoria that way. The Elizabethan Age, and the Victorian Era have affected many beyond the bounds of their own lives.

And it’s not only monarchs who’ve had a radical effect beyond their span of years. Thomas Edison died in 1931, but the impact of his many inventions continues to be felt. Sound recording, motion pictures, the electric light bulb, and more, have had a part in changing our world. And the theories of Albert Einstein, though he died over sixty years ago, are still built upon in the area of theoretical physics.

In Christianity, the theology of Martin Luther and John Calvin, and the Protestant Reformation in which they had a crucial part, can still be seen in the tenants and policies of many churches today. And, following in the line of prominent American evangelists Dwight Moody, and Billy Sunday, came Billy Graham. His large evangelistic campaigns continued for nearly sixty years, making him one of the most influential Christian leaders of the twentieth century.

In an infinitely surpassing way, the incarnate Son of God became the most significant and history making Man who ever lived. Though He was a physical presence on earth for only about thirty-five years, and though His public ministry involved but the last three years of that, what He did, and what He said, continues to transform lives and whole societies two millennia later. To explore His dominant place, Herbert Lockyer wrote his fine two volume history called The Man Who Changed the World.

It must have been a wonderful thing to be there when Jesus taught the multitudes and performed His miracles. Things that happened were so memorable His disciples, Matthew, Peter, and John, spoke about them and wrote about them years afterward. But His ascension back into heaven (Lk. 24:50-51) ended, for a time, any physical engagement with the Lord Jesus. His departure was, in that sense, the end of an era.

That’s not to say, however, that we’re deprived, today, of spiritual fellowship with the living Christ. At the time of His ascension, He promised His followers, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). He also promised, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20). And, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (Jn. 14:18).

“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (I Cor. 1:9).

The reality of that fellowship is realized, both individually and corporately, when people of faith meet Him in His Word and in prayer. Through the Scriptures, He speaks to us, and in prayer we commune with Him.

Here is Ray Palmer’s hymn in full.

CH-1) Jesus, these eyes have never seen,
That radiant form of Thine;
The veil of sense hangs dark between
Thy blessèd face and mine.

CH-2) I see Thee not, I hear Thee not,
Yet art Thou oft with me;
And earth hath ne’er so dear a spot,
As where I meet with Thee.

CH-3) Like some bright dream that comes unsought,
When slumbers o’er me roll,
Thine image ever fills my thought,
And charms my ravished soul.

CH-4) Yet though I have not seen, and still
Must rest in faith alone,
I love Thee, dearest Lord, and will,
Unseen, but not unknown.

CH-5) When death these mortal eyes shall seal,
And still this throbbing heart,
The rending veil shall Thee reveal,
All glorious as Thou art.

Questions:
1) What truth presented in this hymn is a special blessing to you?

2) How has the Lord demonstrated the reality of His presence with you, in recent days?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Ray Palmer) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Posted by: rcottrill | June 13, 2019

Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun

Graphic Bob New Glasses 2015HOW TO USE THIS BLOG
1) The Almanac. Click on the month you want in the side-bar, then the specific date. The blog will tell you what happened in hymn history on that day.
2) Reflections. There is always a current article on a hymn. But you can find many others by clicking on the Index tab. (More being added all the time.)
3) Topical Articles are opinion pieces on many aspects sacred music.
4) To Donate. If you can help with the cost of developing and maintaining this site, click on the “Support” tab above and the page will show you how.

Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Isaac Watts (b. July 17, 1674; d. Nov. 25, 1748)
Music: Duke Street, attributed to John Hatton (b. Sept. ___, 1710; d. Dec. ___, 1793)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Watts has made a significant contribution, even to modern hymn books, three centuries after his time. Hymns such as: O God, Our Help in Ages Past; I Sing the Mighty Power of God; Joy to the World; Alas, and Did My Saviour Bleed? Join All the Glorious Names; Come, We That Love the Lord; Am I a Soldier of the Cross?, and the superb When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, are his.

The original eight stanzas of the present hymn are not all used today. It’s most common to take the first, and a combination of stanzas two and three, plus Watts’s stanzas four and five. Below they are given as modern editors have printed them.

Songs can become dated, sometime just because things change with the passage of time. Except perhaps in historical enactments or period musicals, not many couples will ride on “a bicycle built for two,” or in “a surrey with the fringe on top,” though there are songs about each.

In a special sense, that can be said of songs in the Bible too–that they’re time related. They have a historical context that needs to be recognized. A case in point. The book of Psalms was the hymn book of ancient Israel. And a number of verses in Psalm 22 are graphically fulfilled with Christ’s death on the cross, a thousand years later. There is certainly value in studying the psalm as it is, in its historical context. But we also need to turn to the New Testament to see how it was fulfilled at Calvary.

But what if a church sang only the Old Testament Psalms. Pastor, theologian, and hymn writer, Isaac Watts grew up in a church that believed only the Psalms should be sung in the services, no newer hymns. But he argued that by so doing they were missing a great deal of New Testament truth. With the church’s permission, he began writing some hymns for the congregation, eventually producing about six hundred of them.

So far, so good. But when a hymn writer takes an Old Testament text and gives it a New Testament meaning, that involves more than merely explaining the initial passage of Scripture and drawing life principles from it. It requires expressing an opinion about how the New Testament relates to the passage. Does it really say what you’re trying to make it say?

Watt’s hymn Jesus Shall Reign is a case in point. He used the latter part of Psalm 72, and turned it into a hymn about Jesus. The psalm is a prayer of David for his son, Solomon, when He ascended to the throne. Watts felt this could also be a picture of the spread of the gospel today. Perhaps it can, in part. (For a wonderful example of this missionary application, see the first Wordwise Hymns link above.)

But it seems better to look beyond both David’s time, and even Watts’s more recent application, and see there a prophetic picture of Christ’s second coming and reign.

“He shall have dominion…to the ends of the earth” (Ps. 72:8) was not literally true of Solomon. Nor was “all kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall serve him” (vs. 11). But at a future day when Christ returns He is called “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16), and we read, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15). As the prophet Daniel describes it,

“Behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven!…To Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:13-14).

Here is Watts’s hymn, picturing the earthly kingdom and reign of Christ.

(Stanza 1) Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom spread from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

(Parts of stanza 2 and 3 combined)
From north to south the princes meet
To pay their homage at His feet;
While western empires own their Lord,
And savage tribes attend His Word.

(Stanza 4) To Him shall endless prayer be made,
And endless praises crown His head;
His name like sweet perfume shall rise
With every morning sacrifice.

(Stanza 5) People and realms of every tongue
Dwell on His love with sweetest song,
And infant voices shall proclaim
Their early blessings on His name.

Questions:
1) In what sense is the Lord Jesus reigning now?

2) How will His reign be different in the coming kingdom, at His return?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

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