Hymnology: O Jesus I Have Promised

I mentioned the other day that Prince Louis was going to be baptised on Monday. According to details released online, William and Catherine chose two hymns – O Jesus I have promised and Lord of all hopefulness. I was generally impressed with the selection of hymns and readings – they’re not the hymns and readings…

Hymnology: Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken

Although I don’t normally pay attention to such things, last weekend Pippa Middleton married her fiancé James Matthews. (I was only taking an interest because the wedding was conducted by the former vicar of our parish here in Clacton!) Apparently they had four hymns during the service, one of which was Glorious Things of Thee…

Hymnology: Away in a manger

I’m going to level with you right of the bat: I’m not a fan of Away in a manger. It’s too romanticised, too cute for me. I think I did like it as a child, but as an adult – not so much. However, I have an issue with the carol itself which is beyond…

Hymnology: Dear Lord and Father of mankind

The hymn “Dear Lord and Father of mankind” is one of the UK’s most popular hymns. It is usually (in the UK at least) sung to a brilliant tune (REPTON) and its poetic lyrics capture many people’s imagination. It is a well loved traditional hymn and an established part of our repertoire. But there is…

Hymnology: Love Divine and perfectionism

This morning I read an interesting post on the Church Society blog: Should we stop singing ‘Love Divine’? Charles Wesley is a great hymn writer and Love Divine has always been one of my favourites, but this post did make me reconsider. The goal of this little ‘hymnology’ series is to think about hymns and the theology…

Hymnology: Trinitarian Worship

Last year, Andrew Wilson wrote A Songwriting Rant about modern worship songs. He brought a number of charges against contemporary worship songs, but the one which really made me think was the third one: 3. Lack of Trinitarianism. I was at a funeral recently singing “Eternal Father, strong to save” … The entire hymn, Victorian and…

Hymnology: The greatest day in history

At Easter time, one of the things I often wonder is why we (and, I should say, I’m very much preaching to myself here) spend so much of the year more or less ignoring the resurrection. We talk about the cross an awful lot of the time, but often we don’t talk so much about…

Hymnology: By Faith we see the hand of God

February here at St Mark’s is ‘all-request’ month. People have the opportunity to request a favourite hymn or a song, and we’ll sing them  at services throughout the month. My request for the month was “By Faith” by Townend and Getty. This is a song which is particularly inspired by the famous chapter 11 of Hebrews,…

Hymnology: And can it be – "My chains fell off…"

Last weekend I travelled down to High Leigh for a residential weekend with my fellow curates in the Chelmsford Diocese. On Friday evening we sang ‘And can it be’, one of my favourite hymns and one of Charles Wesley’s finest (in my opinion). The hymn tells the story of salvation from a first person perspective…

Hymnology: In Christ Alone and the wrath of God

As I said in my introductory post, I’m starting up a new blog series about hymns and their theology (which I’ve called ‘hymnology’. Great name, right?). I thought it would be appropriate to kick off the series by thinking about one of the most well-loved modern hymns, ‘In Christ Alone’ by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty….