I’ve spent more time than you might suspect in traditional churches. After all, when I first started going to church there were no other options! So I’ve spent time in high church Presbyterian, middle church Methodist, low church Baptist, and all points in between.
That includes nine years at a traditional-becoming-blended church in Monroe, a time in which I got to know the United Methodist Hymnal very well.
So what are my five favorite hymns from the classic Christian tradition? Here they are:
5. Standing On The Promises (#374 in the UM Hymnal). Standing on the promises is so much better than resting on the premises, isn’t it? Just enough of a Southern Gospel feel to make this one feel right at home.
4. It Is Well (#377). So beautiful, especially when our team sings it at one of our memorial services. Even better when you know the story behind the song.
3. I Stand Amazed (#371). Here’s a bit of irony: I was only vaguely aware of this one before I came to Good Shepherd. I’m always moved by the combination of lights and visuals when we sing this on a Sunday. Here’s a modern take on it, courtesy of Chris Tomlin:
2. Blessed Assurance (#369). Fanny Crosby wasn’t a Methodist. But she should have been. “Assurance” is one of our hallmark distinctives.
1. And Can It Be (#363). This is my favorite hymn?!? It’s almost unsingable in most settings. We never sang it at Mt. Carmel in Monroe and have yet to sing it here. The lyrics are difficult, the melody a challenge, and the harmony is almost out of the question if you want to get it right. So why is it #1? Easy. It’s the National Anthem of Asbury Seminary. You get 1000 seminarians singing “my chains fell off / my heart was free / I rose went forth and followed thee” and if you’re not crying, you’re not breathing.