Question: I’m having a hard time with the tunes of some of the hymns that you use.
Can you help me so that I can sing them better?
Pastor Bill responds:
Few things make us feel more awkward in a worship service than when we ‘re supposed to be singing a hymn, and we don’t know the tune. Hymn tunes simply aren’t hard-wired into us from birth! Like anything that’s new, we need to learn how to use it! While the one who organizes the worship service should work to keep the tunes relatively simple, we all need to work to learn the tunes so that we can sing them heartily joyfully, and believingly (our three most common adverbs to describe our worship). The Scriptures even tell us to “make his praise glorious” (NKJV) - which means we need to work at it!
Here are a few suggestions as we all work together to make our praise better reflect the glory of the God we’re worshipping:
- In some cases, we have a “Listen” note under the hymn that we use. These give a link to a YouTube site where you can hear the hymn to the tune that we use. You’ll be blessed by hearing the hymn sung by others. You can sing along. And, in the process, you’ll learn the tune for the next time we use it. (I can send you the PDF of the bulletin once it’s completed on the Tuesday before the Lord’s Day. Then you can use the links to practice before the worship service. Give me your email address, and I’ll add your name to The Haven Friend and Family list. You’ll be able to join us in our weekly “choir practice”).
- Make use of hymnary.org (and other sites that make collections of traditional and contemporary hymns available for you to read and hear) to familiarize yourself with the world of hymns, tunes and helps for singing them. Like studying the Word of God, studying hymns is part of the staple diet of a healthy Christian life. (And you’ll enjoy the hymns and tunes much more when you learn about them.)
- Put our Sing! meetings into your calendar. This is the first of our “community groups” (there will be more of them beginning in September), and its purpose is - you guessed it - to sing Psalms and hymns - both traditional and contemporary. We meet at John and Mary Vaeth’s home (46 Monell Ave., Islip) on the first Wednesday of a month (our next meeting is June 5) from 7:30 - 9:00 p.m. With Mary Vaeth’s spirited accompaniment, we’re learning to “make (God’s) praise glorious.” Join us - and I assure you that you’ll be blessed. (So will The Haven, OPC, as we work together to learn new songs and tunes.)