Hymns

Do you know the stories behind your favorite hymns?

Whether it’s Rock of Ages, Amazing Grace, or Just As I Am, each hymn has a fascinating story behind it. And it’s often once you know these stories that the lyrics and melody take on a whole new meaning. That’s what Robert J. Morgan helps accomplish in this new episode of the Great Stories Podcast.

Robert J. Morgan pastored in Nashville, Tennessee, for 40 years and has written popular books, including Red Sea Rules and Then Sings My Soul — the latter of which is the basis for this interview. This episode covers many of the most significant hymns of the church, the story behind how they were written, and the impact they continue to have in our hearts today.

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There’s something about music that powerfully connects our minds with our hearts. Few people know this as intimately as Joni Eareckson Tada, who became a quadriplegic after a diving accident 55 years ago. She has also battled stage 3 cancer, pulmonary hypertension, and chronic pain. In the moments when it becomes too painful to even string two words together to form a prayer, Joni says that hymns are often her most dependable source of comfort that leads to Jesus.

In this conversation with Charles Morris, Joni discusses how hymns have been a constant companion in her relationship with Jesus. Even in her darkest moments, these “songs of suffering” are what the Lord uses to comfort her, guide her, and give her hope.

Whatever is going on in your life today, we pray this musical and encouraging conversation with Joni Eareckson Tada will help you discover new ways to rejoice in Christ’s peace and goodness, even during your own painful seasons in life.


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How do you define worship?
For many of us, worship is what we do when we sing to God in church. Others would define it as the entire church service. Some would simply say we worship God by living our day-to-day lives as believers who seek to honor Christ.
None of these answers would be wrong. In fact, each could make one very complete definition of worship. The problem is, we don’t often realize the implications of what we are doing, who we are worshiping, or why we should do it in the first place.
We need a refresher.
The word “worship” is derived from the old English word weorthscripe, which refers to worthiness, or the acknowledgement of worth. Basically, we worship God because He is worthy of our
 

praise

adoration

exultation

admiration

gratitude

honor

reverence

and veneration.

 
Why is He worthy of these things? Because He is our
 

Creator

Provider

Savior

Comforter

High King

High Priest

and Lord.

 
The point? It’s not about us. It’s all about God, the object of our worship.
When we don’t fully understand why we worship, we begin to take it lightly. We begin to treat the singing of hymns and praise songs as just another thing we do once a week.
But worship needs to be more than that. It is an activity that should be at the center of our lives.
One of the best calls to worship I’ve seen comes from Psalm 96:

Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

. . .

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice before the LORD, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his faithfulness. (Ps. 96:1-3,11-13)

We worship God when we are focused on Him, and it’s when we intentionally spend time with the Creator of the universe that we bring Him glory. This is the true meaning of worship.
 
Corum Hughes works on the production team for HAVEN Today and is the managing editor of the All About Jesus blog. His passions include running, biking, reading, watching movies, and seeking Jesus in places He is seldom sought. Corum lives with his wife in California.
 


 
 

Just as parents love to see their children spending time together and loving one another. How much more our Heavenly Father must love it when His kids come together in worship—loving each other and loving Him!

Here are two great songs from Tommy Walker’s Generation Hymns 2a remarkable album that truly captures multi-cultural, multi-generational worship.

It Is Well

Blessed Assurance

Generation Hymns 2Generation Hymns 2

In recent years, hymns have often times divided the generations in church worship. This project is a humble attempt to present these treasures of our faith in such a way that they will bring the generations together again.

 https://www.haventoday.org/images/pictures/orderalbum.jpg


In 1909, J.R. Harris discovered fragments of what are now known as “The Odes of Solomon.” Written between 80 AD and 125 AD in Ancient Syriac and Greek, these 42 Odes were penned at the dawn of Christianity, shedding new light on how the first Christians worshiped.
Learn more about the research behind the Odes Discovery.
Out of all the music and literature that have been uncovered from this early era in church history, the Odes have held up the most to Scriptural integrity. Dr. Hughes Oliphant Old, Professor of Theology and Worship at Erskine Theological Seminary, has devoted his whole life to studying the worship of the early church. He appreciates the Odes most of all because of their great similarities to the Psalms.

But who wrote the Odes?

This is still a mystery. Many scholars have speculated that the writer was a disciple of John, or at least a strong admirer of his letters to the early church. This is mostly due to the strong connection these songs have to themes found in John, such as light and life.
But as amazing as this discovery was, it wasn’t well known until a few years ago when Dr. Charles Fromm teamed up with composer John Schreiner to adapt the English translation of these early Christian songs into music. The Odes Project reflects on the music, themes, and time-period of when these songs of praise were originally used.
To put it into context, many of the Christians at this time would have been facing stark persecution by Roman authorities. At times, Christians were taken away and brutally killed in the public arena for their faith. Therefore, early Christ followers had to worship in secret. They would meet privately in houses or catacombs, praying they wouldn’t be caught.
Ode 5 offers a profound look into the mindset of these early believers:

I Shall Stand

I thank you O Lord because I love You
I praise you O Lord I will not fear
Freely did I receive Your grace
You won’t forsake me
For You are my hope, You are my hope

Oppressors will come, let them not see me
Let darkness like a cloud fall on their eyes
So they won’t take a hold upon me
Hallelujah for my salvation

Though all things visible should perish
And everything should be shaken
I shall stand, I shall stand, I shall stand for the Lord is with me
Though all things visible should perish
And even if everything should be shaken
I shall stand, I shall stand, I shall stand for the Lord is with me

He is a garland upon my head
And I shall never be moved
In Him is all my confidence
The Lord is with me and I am with Him

These words show us the powerful faith and courage early believers needed in order to worship Christ.
Today, we live in a culture where most people understand the concept of tolerance. Though religious persecution continues to happen everyday around the world, most of us will never know the same oppression that these early believers faced.
But even now, we can join them in worship. Let us sing the Odes together, as we worship our Messiah in spirit and in truth.
 
Corum Hughes works on the production team for HAVEN Today and is the managing editor of the All About Jesus blog. His passions include running, biking, reading, watching movies, and seeking Jesus in places He is seldom sought. Corum lives with his wife in California.
 
 

odes-cdThe Odes Project

This recently discovered collection of ancient hymns is known as the “The Odes,” and The Odes Project sets these hymns to music for the first time in 2000 years. Blending ancient and modern styles of music, this unique Christ-centered CD powerfully leads our hearts in worship.