I have a thing for music. I always have. I love beautiful melodies and enriching orchestrations.
I have a thing for words. I always have. I love beautiful phrases and enriching quotations.
Take those two things about me, and that will tell you why the hymns are so important to me. Beautiful melodies. Inspiring words. Poetic statements of truth. I love singing a hymn and getting revelations not only through the melodic sensations happening, but also from gaining new insight to gospel principles. I love hearing words issue from my mouth that describe the exact feeling I have wanted to express to my Father in Heaven that have been verbally eluding me.
That happened a few times for me today. Indulge me a moment to share. [I will hide this personal and pictureless display of emotion under a post with pictures later today :)]
Our opening hymn in Sacrament meeting was 'Lord, I Would Follow Thee'. This has ALWAYS been a favorite of mine. I love how it is a personal dialogue with our Savior. I love that as we sing it, we promise to love others more fully. I love that I get to sing out my testimony that I know He loves me while also listing ways to improve myself. Today a line, that has touched me a number of times before now, hit me again because it pertained to some silly feelings and judgements I had been making about a few women in the ward. I won't go into detail just in case by some random stroke of e-coincidence they find this.
"In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see."
Now, the women I am referring to have actually not been very quiet. They have been quite vocal. Obnoxiously and offensively so. Lately, I have had a hard time keeping my mind out of that judgement place and labelling them with horrible things like 'Pest', 'Selfish', or 'Oblivious'. As I sung that beautiful truth of humanity, however, I knew that while these particular women might be very vocal about certain complaints, they were also being very quiet about some hidden sorrows that my eye can't see. The Spirit bore witness to me in that moment, quite powerfully, that those women did not need or deserve my judegement- but rather they need and deserve my love and my prayers (and maybe one of my cinnamon rolls?- we'll see. . .).
The second moment came in the Sacrament hymn, 'O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown'. One of my favorites. The music is an etude by Bach which is why it is not very popular. It is LOVELY, but it is probably one of the most challenging hymns in the Hymnal to play or to sing. Anyway- it is hymn 197 and I think everyone should go look it up right this instant and read the whole thing like it is scripture (because it is- President Hinckley said so!). The words are breathtakingly beautiful and I always find myself pondering on them for hours after singing it. Here are some of my favorite lines.
No creature is so lowly, No sinner so depraved, But feels thy presence holy And thru thy love is saved.
Tho craven friends betray thee, They feel thy love’s embrace; The very foes who slay thee Have access to thy grace. (MY FAVORITE!)
Thy mercy is extended To ev’ry time and land. No more can Satan harm us, Tho long the fight may be, Nor fear of death alarm us; We live, O Lord, thru thee.
The last moment of musical musing I will share came while I was sitting in Singing Time in Primary. It is actually something that happens often, but gets me teary every single time. When all those children (and there are a lot in our ward) sing together in unison 'I Am A Child Of God', I just melt. I can't help it. It is beautiful. It is so true! They sing it with such confidence and conviction. President Hinckley once said that our church will always be one generation away from apostasy. Friends, know now that this next generation is strong, stable, and full of the testimony of Christ. They know. I love getting to see and hear just how much they know.
I am grateful for the hymns of the Church, and I am grateful for the emphasis that has always been placed on them by the prophets and other leaders of the Church. I truly believe that there is inspiration lying in those words and melodies that cannot be tapped in any other way.
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