Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Singing Hymns

Matthew 26:30-35 (ESV)
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. [31] Then Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' [32] But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee." [33] Peter answered him, "Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away." [34] Jesus said to him, "Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." [35] Peter said to him, "Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!" And all the disciples said the same.
They sang a hymn. It’s a funny detail. My guess is they didn’t have hymnals, neither did they have a big screen with a bouncing ball. But I’m betting the hymn was a good bit more complicated than “Lord I Lift Your Name on High.” One wonders why the world must be tortured with such ditties in the name of Christ.
It makes sense though, to sing a hymn at such an occasion. It had to be quite the somber moment. Jesus announcing his death, instituting the sacrament. The early Christians knew to sing at those times, they had songs memorized for such occasions. It helps carry a person through, buoys the spirit. It’s not a bad practice to get into, memorizing hymns. Of course, I always forget them after a while. Then it irks me and I have to go back and rememorize them. By the way, if you have children, that is a good time to memorize hymns, just singing them to sleep at night. I still remember visiting John shortly after the divorce. He was about two, and had a little photo album with pictures of our house. He was flipping through and saw a picture of his room, he pointed to the chair I used to sit in with him and said “singing daddy, singing!” At two, he had the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostle’s Creed, and a few hymns memorized. To this day he likes singing hymns. He tells me he likes going to a Lutheran School because he gets to go to chapel. But he hates VBS, and doesn’t care for Sunday School. I have a hard time blaming him. He knows good music. Hymns are where its at, for teaching the faith.
Well the rest is history. The shepherd is struck, the sheep scatter. They all promised not to run, they all betray him. Are we any different? Ah, But Christ is. He doesn’t abandon us, but follows through with his plan. He remains faithful.

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