Pastor Daniel’s(EM) of The Week
What is the first impression when you hear the word, ‘hymn’?
Boring, dull, antiquated, ancient, old, Korean Adults, traditional Worship, transcendental, high & dignified, and maybe even, early Christian Church. Whatever our impressions, hymns, as a genre has remained with us; they have been almost timeless in accord with some other traditions like Responsive Reading and reciting Creeds. No matter the tradition they largely remain outside our purview- they have no direct correlation with our faith. I say ‘with our faith,’ to juxtapose with faith in a general sense because there is power in hymns in the same manner as there is power in contemporary Christian praise music. Why? For no other stronger reason than simply that the individual with faith can sing any genre of Christian music including hymns just as powerfully as those individuals centuries ago. In essence, these old, ancient songs allow us to join in melody with our Christian forebears who sang them with such joyful melody as they, the hymns, were considered contemporary for the time period.
Can we at the very least admit that we have cause to celebrate in this time period: we can thoroughly enjoy Christian praise music in whatever form and structure they appear, no matter the genre. This allowance gives us the unique ability to enjoy all forms of musical accompaniment and style to be of one singular mind of glorifying God regardless of style and genre; to enjoy glorifying God without limits in musical Christian genre. So then, let us throw off that may exceedingly bound us and tie us from allowing us to fully enjoy music rather to enjoy music for what it is: an instrument created by God to illustrate the vastness of His creativity as the archetype of our derivative creativity in our understanding and fascination of it.
Thus, I lend you one of my favorite hymns: “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” by William Whiting (1860)
Based on Psalms 107:23-26, it is officially the United States Navy’s hymn and it is a prayer offered to those whose livelihood was based in the ocean. Unlike nowadays where most of us enjoy ocean cruises and a sojourn to the shore during the hot summer months, in the days gone-by people did not venture near to the shoreline nor even dared to tarry on the ocean either for entertainment, pleasure, or employ. The perils seemed to be far greater than humans to wrest control and the ocean was and still is, greater than the eyes can see. Thus Whiting is offering a prayer of praise to the Lord to protect and shield these finite Mariners, lest the mighty unknown depths and the perilous waves make their lives miserable and destitute. Their very life hanging in the balance unless the fingers of the Almighty grants security and grace to those in need.
Taking a cue from Psalms 107, this is most analogous to our humble estate: where even though our feet firmly fixed on land, our lives also are just as finite and limited; we live daily unsure of how the unknown depths of life and its hidden vagaries might undo us and swallow us. Unless, the Hand of the Almighty grants us security, solitude, and grace through His Sovereign Mercy, crowned the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who is both our Salvation and our Living Hope, in this life and the next. Our Supreme Perfecter of our faith promised that our journey on this life’s ocean regardless of how perilous, dangerous, and mysterious will grant us safe passage to the Right side.
Follow the Psalm 100 Spotify Playlist to listen to all of our picks!
Songs from this Past Lord’s Day
1. YOur Love Never Fails – Jesus Culture
2. Shepherd – Amanda Cook
3. You Say – Lauren Daigle