New blog project: Hymnology

HymnalI feel like I’ve been neglecting this blog a little of late. Part of it has been the fact that the last term was quite busy (for some reason I always find the Autumn term the busiest one of the year), but part of it is that I haven’t really felt compelled to write about anything in particular. Over the past few years I’ve written about marriage quite a bit, I’ve written about atheism and secularism, I’ve written about a number of things – but, quite frankly, I think those subjects have been done to death and I’m not sure it really helps to be blogging about them.

I was thinking the other day about maybe following up my post about I the Lord of sea and sky with another hymn, when it struck me: so often we sing hymns which have profound and deep theological roots, but we simply gloss over them. I think many people sing hymns without really understanding what they mean.

I am a firm believer in singing hymns with both good tunes and good words – heart and head working together, so to speak. I think this is what Paul meant when he wrote Colossians 3:16:

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

And it struck me that it might be helpful for the word of Christ to dwell “richly” in us to blog occasionally about a particular hymn or song and expand on the theology of the song. I’ve found it very helpful in the past when the preacher has connected the sermon with a song that we were about to sing – for example, I always remember a sermon Mike Neville preached at Fordham on the book of Romans referring to the end of “And can it be”. I often think of it when we sing that verse. (I think it’s also helpful sometimes to pick out dodgy theology, as I did in ‘I, the Lord of sea and sky’ – we need to know what to watch out for!)

I’ve picked the name ‘Hymnology‘, simply because it means something like “the study of hymns” – and that’s what I want to do here. In order to sing hymns and songs better, it’s good to think more deeply about them. I’m excited about this little project, I hope it’s beneficial to you too.

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