But we make His love too narrow By false limits of our own; And we magnify His strictness With a zeal He will not own.

I love modern worship music: Spring Harvest, Hillsong etc, Graham Kendrick too. It probably isn't really modern now.

I've had some interesting reactions over the years to the music that I like. Sometimes, you wonder if the other person considers you quite lost, judging from their reactions to what you like. I've come to realise from the blogosphere, that as with much over which Christians squabble, hymnody can be the cause of some significant debate.

So I challenge you - what do you consider the most supreme hymn? Of course, it all very subjective but perhaps you could also suggest how you rate a hymn.
For example
Does it have to be doctrinally sound?
Does it need to communicate as best as words can our amazing God's nature?
Does it have to bring you to a place of contemplation of the relationship you have with the triune God?
Does it need to be about the cross?

A hymn I found interesting the other day is written up below. We sang it last Sunday. It could be because I've been a bit obsessed with PSA of late, having to write a defence of it for college. I was struck by the picture it gives of God's generosity. I was particularly captured by the stanza:
11. But we make His love too narrow
By false limits of our own;
And we magnify His strictness
With a zeal He will not own.

This really made me wonder if that is not the case, exactly. I'm still in a flurry about PSA, although I concluded that it is part of what I understand the cross to be about. I'll post up some paragraphs, once I get my mark back next week.

Is our modern music shallow and unbiblical compared with what came before or do Christians romanticise a certain period of history, particularly the hymn writers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and are their reputations deserved? Faber's work below, although I liked it last Sunday, contains some very unfortunate rhymes because they are overly-sentimental.

My favourite hymn, by the way, is 'Be Thou My Vision'. So I don't know what this reveals about me. Anyway, I would be interested to know what you think about the words we sing in worship.

I know that Chris Tomlin's 'Jesus, I am so in love with you', caused quite a lot of debate, which you can listen to below, if you've not heard it yet.

There's a Wideness in God's Mercy by W F Faber

1. There's a wideness in God's mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There's a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.

2. There is no place where earth's sorrows
Are more felt than up in Heaven;
There is no place where earth's failings
Have such kindly judgment given.

3. There is welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Savior;
There is healing in His blood.

4. There is grace enough for thousands
Of new worlds as great as this;
There is room for fresh creations
In that upper home of bliss.

5. For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of our mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.

6. There is plentiful redemption
In the blood that has been shed;
There is joy for all the members
In the sorrows of the Head.

7. 'Tis not all we owe to Jesus;
It is something more than all;
Greater good because of evil,
Larger mercy through the fall.

8. If our love were but more simple,
We should take Him at His word;
And our lives would be all sunshine
In the sweetness of our Lord.

9. Souls of men! why will ye scatter
Like a crowd of frightened sheep?
Foolish hearts! why will ye wander
From a love so true and deep?

10. It is God: His love looks mighty,
But is mightier than it seems;
'Tis our Father: and His fondness
Goes far out beyond our dreams.

11. But we make His love too narrow
By false limits of our own;
And we magnify His strictness
With a zeal He will not own.

12. Was there ever kinder shepherd
Half so gentle, half so sweet,
As the Savior who would have us
Come and gather at His feet?


David Ould said...

Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending.

I'd always liked this one but it has now a permanent grip on my brain and heart since writing an essay on the Return of Christ almost 3 years ago.

in answer to your questions above - yes, doctrine is vital - an apparent "closeness" to God is no closeness at all if artificially generated or built on false truths - that would then be a false God we are "close" to.

Rachel said...

Thanks David
Essays can do that.

I've read the lyrics - probably the thees and thous have caused it to fall out of fashion a little. I don't think I've ever sang this hymn. Interesting, nevertheless.

fibrefairy said...

Lo he comes is one of my favourites too - really you've never sung it Rachel!? It's a classic Advent hymn.

Totally agree that doctrine in hymns is vital - we learn an amazing amount through singing, lyrics stick, links are forged. Many hymns were written to re-inforce credal statements and doctrinal ideas. Children's workers know very well how important this is - look at Ishmael's song writing -


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A little background reading so we might mutually flourish when there are different opinions