Saturday, 9 July 2011

So many old (and good) hymns have been lost

It may mark me down as a man of a certain age but I do recall, very well, the hymns that we sang in our parish church as a child but that are never heard today.
They were formative years and formative hymns, all with a clear meaning and always relevant to one's life.
I find modern hymns, even those with a grudgingly admitted catchy tune, to be less than satisfactory when it comes to making a contribution to the worship of Almighty God. My case for so much of modern church music is that it exists to satisfy and delight those who sing it. It does little in terms of reverence, enhancing spirituality or increasing one's inner fervour - I am sure it does a great deal for one's outer fervour but that is not what is required at Holy Mass.

The hymn featured in this post is a golden oldie, the words by Sister Mary Xavier and the composition by R.R. Terry and dating, I believe, from c. 1880.
The sentiments are so appropriate in today's world of high speed and profound worries concerning future problems, health, career, one's children, blogging (?).
If I said that, as a very small child, my mother used to sit on my bed and sing this to me after night prayers, would that bring a tear to your eyes? No? You have a heart of stone!
It is a hymn that all mothers especially, should know by heart.

Here it is:

Posted by Richard Collins - Linen on the Hedgerow


  1. Love old hymns, an especial favourite of mine from schooldays is From Greenlands Icy Mountains, the words are now hopelessly outdated but it's a happy memory!
    The tune of course is still in use most often to another of my favourites The Churches One Foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord.
    As you say Richard not just a good tune, but profound truth rather than repetitive bland phrases.many modern hymns will not I feel stand the test of time, just as many old hymns didn't, true gold shines through the grime of years!

  2. I love this hymn - I've always called it the "happy nun hymn" and felt that if I could only live by its simplicity things would be much, well, simpler. I've requested that it be sung at my funeral, but I never thought of singing it to, or with, my children at night. Thank you for this.

  3. That's lovely, thank you.
    We used to sing this at school, but I couldn't remember all the words.
    It is a lovely hymn to sing with children.

  4. It is a beautiful hymn Richard, it evokes memories of school days somehow but I don't remember singing it at mine.

  5. Thanks Richard, that is beautiful, and so focused on knowing, loving and obeying God. Like all these solid old hymns, it lifts the mind and teaches you while you sing.


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