Monday, January 23, 2012

Then Sings My Soul

Over the last few months, I have had it in the back of my mind to choose various hymns and research their history.  When I hear a new "contemporary" song that I really like, I often find out that it is actually a re-make of an older hymn.  The Art History major in me is interested in the story behind these hymns.  What was the writer going through?  What did the song mean for that time period? 

So, needless to say, I was really excited when I saw that there was actually a book that already did the work for me.  Then Sings My Soul: Book 3 by Robert J. Morgan is the third (obviously) in a series of books that takes a deeper look at Christian hymns and their origins.  After the introduction, Morgan divides the book into four parts: The History of Hymnody, Do You Know These Hymns?, Six Hymn Stories I Love to Tell, and Hymning in Private and Public. 

Just the introduction had me.  Morgan gives an exciting explanation of St. Francis of Assisi's "All Creatures of Our God and King" and illustrates how God truly has created the universe to sing praises to Him, just as Psalm 148 describes.  I was excited to read that this third book is actually the first in the series to look more deeply at the history of certain hymns.  For example, I didn't know that people used to carry hymnals to and from church, just like they did their Bibles.  That explains to me why the elders in our church are still so darn set on how important it is to sing from the hymnals... (one of the silliest (I think) conflicts in our church (and probably many) is how the worship service should be conducted), but there is more to it than just music preference.  Hymnals have a long rooted tradition.

It's true that there is a long and rich history to be celebrated in these hymns.  Morgan chose some of my favorites, "I Am Not Skilled to Understand", "Victory in Jesus", "How Deep the Father's Love For Us", "The Old Rugged Cross", and "In Christ Alone".  For some reason, knowing the story behind these songs makes them that much richer.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

5 comments:

  1. I am always fascinated by the origins of things. Like you said, it's makes our understanding of them so much richer.

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    1. Yeah - I spent so much of my life thinking hymns were kind of *gasp* lame and antiquated. It turns out that so many of them are amazing, especially when you know the history.

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  2. I think that would be so interesting. I can't carry a tune, but I love singing hymns in church.

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    1. I can't carry a tune either. The part of the book that is no good to me is the actual song page with the words and notes. I used to play clarinet and attempted piano... but it didn't stick. I don't mind singing in a crowd where my voice can hide though!

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  3. Hi, I found your blog through booksneeze (I'm also a booksneeze blogger). I thought you might be interested in reviewing an ebook I'm releasing at the beginning of next month, "The Matthew 6:33 Piano teacher, how to teach piano for the glory of God" The book is written for Christians who are currently or interested in teaching music lessons. I'm a fairly new author so I will take all the reviews I can get : )If you're interested please e-mail lessons from ivy at gmail dot com
    Thanks!

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