A letter from the vicar
A letter from the vicar
May 2008 What's your favourite hymn? And why?

Good hymns are a combination of poetry and great tunes, expressing our own thoughts better than we can ourselves. The tunes are ones that you find yourself whistling whilst you get on with the jobs for the day, or on the way to work.

Some become favourites through the associations they have: the words and tunes bring back memories of sights, people, places. These associations can be the time of year (which is why carols in October in the shops always seem so jarring - great music, wrong time). Or they can be occasions (Abide with me and the FA cup).

And one or two succeed through great tunes and greaty poetry, even if they don't make a great deal of sense in the cold light of day (Jerusalem is a great hymn, affecting our emotions greatly, without being particularly transparent in what it means).

It's easy to take hymns for granted. In the church we become familiar (even over-familiar) with them. Yet in our worship, they often have the power to move hearts and minds of visitors that are unreached by other methods. Their popularity is shown by programmes such as Songs of Praise (running for over 47 years on the BBC).

So next time you're in church, give thanks to God for hymns. The last word goes to Martin Luther:

I have no pleasure in any man who despises music. It is no invention of ours: it is a gift of God. I place it next to theology. Satan hates music: he knows how it drives the evil spirit out of us.



This letter appears in our monthly church magazine. Contact us if you would like to receive the magazine.

Vicar's photo Jonathan Tallon
Rev Jonathan Tallon
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