One of the things that drew me into the charismatic scene was the vibrant praise and worship. However, I've also always had a love for hymns, especially redemption and Wesleyan hymns. In the last few years prior to transitioning into a more traditional context, I was increasingly aware of the impoverishment that the churches were experiencing due to the lack of hymns that were being sung in churches.
However, this led me to fresh discovery, it is not only hymns that have been neglected, the bible's one and only divinely inspired hymn book has also been buried by many churches.
As I flicked through my book of Psalms, the realisation dawned upon me that I was holding in my hands the ancient hymn book of the church. 150 scriptural songs, which had sustained the saints and been sung by saints from the time of David onwards. And here I was without the foggiest clue how to sing any of them!
With a bit of research, I found out that most of the psalms in the Scottish Psalter are in common meter– and fortunately there were a handful of hymns I knew which were also common meter — fantastic — and so for the next few weeks — much to my wife's dismay– it was the psalms to the tune of Amazing Grace, There is a Fountain and Auld Lang Sine!
Regarding the lack of Psalm singing in contemporary churches — N.T Wright says:
"The enormously popular "worship songs," some of which use phrases from the Psalms here and there but most of which do not, have largely displaced, for thousands of regular and enthusiastic worshipers, the steady rhythm and deep soul-searching of the Psalms themselves. This, I believe, is a great impoverishment.
By all means, write new songs. Each generation must do that. But to neglect the church's original hymnbook is, to put it bluntly, crazy. There are many ways of singing and praying the Psalms; there are styles to suit all tastes. That, indeed, is part of their enduring charm. I hope that one of the effects of this little book will be to stimulate and encourage those who lead worship in many different settings to think and pray about how to reintegrate the church's ancient prayer book into the regular and ordinary life of their fellowships."
Amen to that — we need the old and new!
Extract from Bible Study Notes
; thy goodness did me stay.
- How would you describe this experience of psalm singing?
As you were singing the verses, what words struck you the most?
How would you compare the experience of singing a psalm with the experience of singing our usual choruses/contemporary songs?
What are the main differences?
Is it more difficult?
Are there truths that we are faced with in the psalms that we are not faced with in modern songs?
What place do feelings have in both modern songs and the psalms?