Your Great-Grandma Didn’t Like That Hymn
I just read a transcript from a sermon by Nicky Gumbel and in the sermon he had a letter written from someone in the church, who was complaining about the song selection and music.
The letter said:
“I am no music scholar, but I feel I know appropriate church music when I hear it. Last Sunday’s new hymn – if you can call it that – sounded like a sentimental love ballad one would expect to hear crooned in a saloon. If you insist on exposing us to rubbish like this – in God’s house! – don’t be surprised if many of the faithful look for a new place to worship. The hymns we grew up with are all we need.”
This letter was written in 1863 and the song they were concerned about was the hymn “Just As I Am“.
Another letter said:
“What is wrong with the inspiring hymns with which we grew up? When I go to church, it is to worship God, not to be distracted with learning a new hymn. Last Sunday’s was particularly unnerving. The tune was un-singable and the new harmonies were quite distorting.“
This letter was written in 1890 and about the hymn “What A Friend We Have In Jesus“. It is fascinating how our own personal choices and preferences dictates what we feel is appropriate worship or not. The Scriptures themselves do not give us instruction about what style or instruments to use. I definitely have personal bias and preferences when it comes to various worship expressions and song styles. But I hope when I get older and there are new styles and approaches to worship that develop, that I will remember these letters and desire more for future generations to worship in ways that culturally they express their praise and worship to God.
Fascinating, hilarious, classic, and sad.