After reading my 15 reasons, many of you chimed in with your own.
Here’s what some of you had to say…
Hymns of Response
We should use hymnals because…
“…hymnals give a a sense of unity as a body. This goes beyond the corporate worship of the local church. When I am able to travel and visit different churches, the hymnal, even if it is not the same one I am accustomed to, gives me a sense of unity with this local congregation and reminds me that I am part of a larger body.” – Brian
“…we can sing every single song in them without ever having known them before. When all we have are words projected on a screen, we don’t know what notes we’re supposed to sing unless we’ve already heard the song multiple times before.” – Nathaniel
“…the level of musicianship in churches has taken a giant slide downwards.” – Celia
“…they are full of rich doctrine.” – Beth
“…it is a visible and physical reminder that Christianity is not something new on the block. There are songs in there that have taught and inspired believers for hundreds of years. So I feel not only the unity with believers around the world, but with believers throughout history.” – Brian
“…the music we use in corporate worship ought to reflect and reinforce the theology which we claim to believe.” – Rev. Dion
“…some of us can’t see screens off in the distance because of poor eyesight.” – Billie
“…hymns tie us to the saints of the ages. Our Christian experience is not rooted in the 20th or 21st century. We find kinship with saints who have sung these same words and melodies from the reformation to our day. With the unfolding of history, both advancing and unraveling at times, it is a comfort to sing to each other such great Scriptural truths and doctrine. That these truths rhyme and have meter only help to plant them deeply in my brain.” – Kim“…children learn to sing hymns with help from their parents. This past Sunday I witnessed three different sets of families where one of the parents placed their hymnal low enough for the child next to them to sing and the parent’s finger was sliding along the text and music so the child could learn to use a hymnal. This parent/child worship teaching interaction cannot happen when only screens are used.” – Stan
“…bound, published books encourage the selection and inclusion of material that is intended intended to last and has been deemed by a group to be worthy of inclusion.” – Quiremaster
“…these items do a lot for us in ways of organization, uniformity and acting as passive curators of our liturgy and theology.” – Nic
“…they protect us from committing the sin of chronological snobbery (i.e. newer must be better). – Andrew
“…singing from hymnals joins us together in mysterious ways. We each hold the same hymnal. We each join voices around us. We listen to sounds that surround us. We breathe together, pause at the same time, become quiet, rejoice, smile, soar — all as one. Together we audibly focus on words that strike the chords of our faith. Togetherness. Oneness.” – Mary Jane
“…turning pages of a physical book helps kinetic learners far more than seeing words that will soon disappear on a screen.” – Elise
“…each generation includes what it values most in its traditions as publish new versions, giving us theological time capsules of congregational and denominational evolution on the nature of God, the persons of the Trinity, the presence of Christ in the world, grace, forgiveness, discipleship, and service.” – Rev. Ruth
“…when I sing from the hymnal, I’m not just singing with the people near me in “the big room” … I’m singing with a “congregation” stretching out over decades and centuries, backwards and forwards.” – John
“…they help us break away from the constant barrage of technological stimulation that we encounter throughout our week. Corporate worship is meant to be a unique experience as compared to watching TV, going to a movie, or a rock concert. But when our corporate worship experience is filled with many of the same elements that we could get at a cinema or a concert it is hard to understand, appreciate, and experience the uniqueness of worshiping God corporately.” – Andrew
This is quite a list, isn’t it? I wish I’d seen some of these before I wrote my own. I think it’s safe to say that the case for hymnal use is a strong one, and I hope it’s a tradition that is carried on through a digital age.
Feel free to carry on the discussion in the comments.