by Macy Johnson
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.”
(Psalm 100:1 NIV)
A dear friend let me borrow her copy of “The One Year Book of Hymns.” I started reading it in January, excited to learn the personal stories of authors of different spiritual songs. Every verse was penned to glorify God.
Two weeks into the devotional guide I realized many verses of hymns were unfamiliar to me. As a church pianist I knew the music well, but the words had inadvertently stumbled past me, over and over again. I had missed so many opportunities to share each rhyme with the other worshippers. My calling was to instrumentally accompany their voices, not sing along.
I love my connection to hymns. As a young member of the children’s choir at my family’s church in the 1960’s, I memorized many selections in our congregation’s hymnal. A copy of “The Hymnbook” published in 1955, by the Presbyterian Church still sits on my shelf. My name is beautifully embossed on the cover as a reward for passing the hymn-proficiency test.
When I play the piano for congregants to sing, I miss sitting in the pews, contemplating the words, and remembering the power of the hymns of old. So, I have decided to read through the verses and silently sing along with the choir as they lead in a worshipful noise. You won’t see my lips move as my hands glide across the piano’s keys, but I will sing the words in my heart. I want to again experience God’s power through the words and music of the beautiful hymns, the joyful songs.
“The righteous man sings and rejoices!”
(Proverbs 29:6b AMP)
I will sing the Lord’s praises here on earth and into eternity. I hope you will, too!