My recent post on hymns that should be forgotten spawned quite a bit of discussion on the blog and Facebook page, and much of that discussion, especially one request from a pastor friend of mine, has led me to consider the other side of the coin. Which songs are worth keeping?
Well, here’s a list of 100 hymns worth singing, in (sort-of) descending order, chosen by endurance, historical importance, and theological content. Of course, they reflect both my low church evangelical upbringing, and my high church Protestant leanings, and the American perspective that I don’t embrace, but can’t easily shake.
This is not a list of my personal favorites. These are not hymns that merely make me feel good about God and myself. Instead, these are hymns that sustain, that challenge, and that clearly tell the Christian story.
That being said, this is not supposed to be an objective list in any way. Any of you could certainly add some and take some a way. What I do hope is that you will find a group of hymns that each tell the gospel story in a unique way, and get a feel for the depth and breadth of excellent hymns that can enrich our corporate worship – if we would only use them, of course.
As you read, come up with your own list of five or ten or twenty (or a hundred) and leave it in the comment section.
100. Built on the Rock, the church doth stand – Nikolai F.S. Grundtvig, 1854; trans. Carl Doving
Surely in temples made with hands
God, the Most High, is not dwelling
99. Forward through the ages – Frederick Lucian Hosmer, 1908
Bound by God’s far purpose
in one living whole,
move we on together
to the shining goal.
98. There’s a wideness in God’s mercy – Frederick W. Faber, 1854
For the love of God is broader
than the measure of our mind;
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
97. I want to walk as a child of the light – Kathleen Thomerson, 1966
and show me the way to the Father.
96. There is a fountain filled with blood – William Cowper, ca. 1771
E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
thy flowing wounds supply,
redeeming love has been my theme,
and shall be till I die.
95. There is a higher throne – Keith Getty & Stuart Townend, 2002
And there we’ll find our home,
Our life before the throne;
We’ll honor Him in perfect song
Where we belong.
94. At the name of Jesus – Caroline M. Noel, 1870
In your hearts enthrone him;
there let him subdue
all that is not holy,
all that is not true.
93. O splendor of God’s glory bright – Ambrose of Milan, 4th c.;
trans. Robert S. Bridges, 1899
O splendor of God’s glory bright,
O thou that bringest light from light;
O Light of light, light’s living spring,
O day, all days illumining.
92. When in our music God is glorified – Fred Pratt Green, 1971
So has the church in liturgy and song,
in faith and love, through centuries of wrong,
borne witness to the truth in every tongue,
91. What child is this? – William C. Dix, 1865
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.