Any regular reader of this blog knows that I love psalms. I love reading and meditating on them. And I love singing them in worship. But I also like singing hymns during the service, especially when they tie in well with the sermon and focus the mind on the divine.
Hymns often duplicate the message of many psalms: Life is hard, but this life is not all there is. And God is great and good.
Noticing little literary touches increases my appreciation for hymns. Although the hymn, “My Jesus, I Love Thee,” includes many personal pronouns, I like its reiteration of commitment to Christ now and into the future, including our heavenly home. And I love the assonance in the final stanza: “I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow: If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.” Notice the short “i” sounds in “sing” and “glittering”? And the similar vowel sounds in “crown” and “brow”? Such literary techniques increase my worship experience with appreciation for the hymn writer, but primarily with awe for the Lord. He created people with an emotional component. He generates within their hearts and minds a love for himself and his beauty reflected throughout creation. And he leads people to express that love for beauty in their work and artistic endeavors.
I love literary lyrics, not because they make me praise the creator, but because they lead me to praise the Creator.