samedi 4 novembre 2017

The Inspirational Hymns That Motivate People

By Cynthia West

A hymn is a devotional song. We usually associate it with a song of praise to God, although it could be one of allegiance to a nation or even a cause. Hymns that motivate are often written for secular reasons, even though God may be invoked. Some of the most beloved songs in America were written to advance the Christian faith, both for believers and for outsiders that the Church wanted to invite in.

The very word, which comes from the Greek, means a song of praise. Early religious music of the ancients has been found; historians have recovered odes from the Greeks and devotional songs of Egypt. Most churches have collections of songs and music called hymnals that are used in worship services.

'The Battle Hymn Of The Republic' is a good example of a song written for secular purposes which has become a tradition in American churches. Julia Ward Howe wrote the lyrics during the Civil War and it was quickly adopted by the Union army and the people of the north. The tune was a familiar one to many, as was the 'Glory, Glory Hallelujah' chorus. This stirring song used to be taught in public schools and sung at patriotic gatherings.

The story behind many of our best-loved hymns is as inspiring as the words themselves. 'Amazing Grace' was written by a former sailor and slave trader to describe his conversion and salvation experiences. John Newton became an Anglican minister and a formidable opponent of the British slave trade, which was abolished during his lifetime.

Those who love the traditional songs they heard as children and still appreciate have many resources today with the internet. YouTube has great renditions of songs like 'How Great Thou Art' and 'Holy, Holy, Holy'. Talent shows sometimes have wonderful performances of old favorites. There are cable TV stations that play Gospel and traditional church songs, and radio shows that feature the 'Old Gold' of hymns. Church, for many, would seem barren without the chance to sing. People can visit Mennonite church sings and monasteries and convents for chants as old as the Catholic church.

Many measured songs of praise extol the majesty and worthiness of God. 'What A Friend We Have In Jesus' and 'Jesus Loves Me' are about a savior we can approach like a father. 'At the Cross', 'The Old Rugged Cross', and numerous other descriptions of the sacrifice Jesus made for us remind us of what it cost God to keep us in His family.

Peace and joy are other aspects of the Christian life that are extolled in song. 'I Come To The Garden Alone' and 'Blessed Assurance' try to tell others of personal experiences with a personal God. Many churches put the Psalms to music and sing the biblical words back to the One who inspired them.

Everyone loves Christmas carols. Easter is marked with triumphant paeans of praise and exaltation. Thanksgiving and harvest time have special music, as do funerals and weddings. Hymns enrich our lives at all seasons, both of the year and of our lives.

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