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Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Hymn for Weary Pilgrims

“Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” is still one of my favorite hymns, although I haven’t heard a congregation sing it recently. Like most hymns, it is resting in a seldom-used hymnbook in a pew rack or on a shelf in a supplies closet. Choruses have relegated hymns to dusty antiquity.

If anyone knows how to restore grand old hymns to new-generation churches, please let me know. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not opposed to doctrinally sound choruses that lift our hearts to heaven; I simply believe the grand old hymns of the faith belong in our worship services because they echo Biblical teaching and fortify us for life’s challenges.

In the first stanza of “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah,” the writer described himself as a pilgrim through a barren land and weak. But knowing God is mighty, he requested, “Hold me with thy pow’rful hand.” The older I get the better I understand I am a pilgrim on a journey through this spiritually and morally barren world. How much I need God’s strength to complete the journey!

I think I will spend some quality time with an open hymnbook this week.

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