Sunday, July 22, 2012

How Great Thou Art

I was raised attending Lutheran church services primarily (and Sunday School and youth group, etc.).  If you're not familiar with that part of the Christian church, it's a little like going to a Catholic church without all the focus on saints and Mary, mother of Jesus.  So ours was pretty formal and our church services were very old school -- hymnal usage, group readings, formulaic and predictable.  It gave me a fine foundation, but compared with the churches I've belonged to as an adult, Lutheran churches couldn't compete for my dedication and spiritual growth.

That being said, even though my adult life has led me to churches whose services are more contemporary and lively, there is still a part of me that will always feel comforted by classic hymns.  Fortunately, our contemporary church here in New Mexico does, occasionally, dabble in classic hymns at the end of a run of contemporary worship songs.  I like it.  It reaches the places inside me that remind me of childlike faith, the comfort of my mother's singing (all the time) while I was growing up and extends through the generations, bringing something old into the new and introducing our children to something of my past.

Today, our music worship was led by some of the teens in our church.  They led us in a lot of contemporary songs and they did great.  I was really into it.  But then, A, the song leader today, busted out a really beautiful rendition of the hymn How Great Thou Art.

I told her after the service that it was the best I have ever heard that hymn sung.  I was so caught up in listening to every lyric and how it sounded as the keyboardist played and the words came like honey from A's voice, that I could not even sing along.  I was speechless, but not tearless.  I felt closer to God in that moment than I have in days or weeks, maybe months.

I shared with you that Amazing Grace would always be my favorite hymn, but How Great Thou Art has to be a close second.  I wouldn't have known it before today.  But I was reminded of how great that hymn is.  And how truly great our God is.

For your reference, here are the lyrics to this amazing hymn:
I snagged this screen capture from this website, which also shares a bit of history of the hymn.
You can view or print a PDF of the sheet music for this hymn here.


On a lighter note, the kids were all very well behaved today.  Sundays are usually notorious for trouble as we transition from house to car to church to car to house and I always assume someone is out to prevent us from going to church services.  But it was not like that today.  I felt like I was getting a second Mother's Day this year.

On the way home from service, I was praising the kids for their good behavior this morning and when I got to J, I said, "You have been sitting in the grown-up service lately, which is fine if you don't want to be in the kid service, but what I'm most proud about is how you sit there so calmly, quietly and respectfully..."

"And so uncomfortably!" she interrupted.

Our folding chairs are pretty uncomfortable, that's true, but her comment just came at a funny time.

C said, "Well, when we're uncomfortable, that's when it's the hardest to stay calm and quiet, so it's a good time to demonstrate that."

How quickly I start to whine in periods of discomfort.  Please forgive me for whining about my overwhelming list earlier this week.  I know I bring a lot of it on myself.  I aim to encourage others and not to use this blog just to vent to my readers.  Thank you for taking the time to read even in the moments when I forget to realize just how great our God is and how easily he can bring peace to my life if only I would give him the time and space to do so.

As always, I'm still a work in progress!


  1. Well, you brought tears to my eyes. "How Great Thou Art" has always been a favorite Hymn of mine!

  2. Sometimes in the middle of a church service I'll get "This Is The Feast" stuck in my head and I can't get it out until I sing the whole thing. There are these little parts of SOTV that will probably always stick with me.

    Though I like the more contemporary services that I attend now, there are times when I just miss some of the things I grew up with. I do advent and lent on my own at home now...because I still find them important, and they aren't observed in the church I attend.