Category: Reading the Hymns

Reading the Hymns: Jesus Paid it All

If there’s a hymn that encapsulates the impulse and theology behind the evangelical revivals in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, “Jesus Paid it All” is it. But the “Jesus Paid it All” that was brought to prominence by...

/ May 8, 2010

Reading the Hymns: Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

Simply put, this might be the most beautiful hymn in the English language. It’s still commonly sung by our friends across the Atlantic.  Too bad they had the misfortune of ranking it their second most favorite hymn behind How Great...

/ May 1, 2010

Reading the Hymns: Let Thy Blood in Mercy Poured

There is no better example of the  interesting and surprising collisions that mark the development of our church hymnody than this week’s hymn. While a communion hymn from the Eastern Orthodox tradition, it found its way into both the Episcopalian...

/ April 24, 2010

Reading the Hymns: All Praise to Thee, my God, This Night

Quick: name the four most popular hymns in Anglicanism as measured by their inclusion in the 52 hymnbooks published around the world in the 19th century? Rock of Ages, Cleft for Thee? Yup. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing? Absolutely. Lo!...

/ April 17, 2010

Reading the Hymns: A Charge to Keep I Have

It’s impossible to talk about hymns for very long without running into that hymn making machine that was Charles Wesley.  While he is most famous–and justly so–for his Christmas offering , he wrote some 6000 hymns. A Charge to Keep...

/ April 10, 2010

Reading the Hymns (for Holy Saturday): Psalm 13

Holy Saturday is the most difficult day of the Easter season.  While it is often overlooked by those who are not members of rigorously liturgical traditions, Holy Saturday reminds us above all of the stark sense  of failure that the...

/ April 3, 2010

Reading the Hymns: All Glory, Laud, and Honour

Notice the Oxford comma and the British spelling of ‘Honor’? Well, there’s a reason for that.  This quintessential Palm Sunday hymn was originally written by Theodulf of Orleans, an 8th century Bishop and advocate of public education.  But it was...

/ March 27, 2010

Reading the Hymns: How Great Thou Art

How Great  Thou Art is as close as a hymn can come to a ‘controversial hymn’ these days.  N.T. Wright targeted the final verse in his book on the resurrection, using it to highlight the problems of the contemporary escapist...

/ March 21, 2010

Reading the Hymns: An Invitation

Hymns are an invaluable source of understanding the Christian faith. Like the Psalms, they are often grounded in particular human experiences and undergirded by doctrinal commitments, which makes them interesting to reflect about as both theological and sociological documents.  They are,...

/ March 20, 2010