Hymns and Memories
I have always enjoyed singing, sadly however with no real skill, and in church I always have a quick look before the service begins to see what the hymns are and to check whether I know them or not. I know, there are hymns that seem to speak to me more than others. The ones that I am most fond of bring back memories of occasions from the past. For one of the services whilst I was out in Spain, we were asked to name a hymn that had particular significance for us and to explain to the rest of the church what that was. I found that I had 4 and I would now like to share with you what they were and their significance to me. I had to choose only one for that service!
The first was when I went as an additional adult on a school trip to Liverpool, which included a visit to the new Catholic Cathedral. The building was so different from the parish church I worshipped in, round in shape, chairs not pews which seemed to surround the altar in the middle. We joined in the service and one of the hymns that was new to me was ‘Bind us together Lord’, most appropriate for the occasion as we were there with people we did not know, probably of different denominations but sharing in an act of worship.
Next, I thought of when we moved back up north and I had signed up to be a supply teacher in Bolton. I had received a call from the head of Sacred Heart Primary School to see if I could cover a staff absence, and at the start of my first day there was Infant assembly. This was obviously a well-loved hymn as they sang with gusto and as I read the words they really struck a chord with me. ‘Father, I place into your hands’ to me is a prayer, which as you may have noticed I often borrow from when writing intercessions, and the words sum up for me what I believe. To hear those young voices singing that was really moving.
In the days when we had a Boys’ Brigade Company in Blackrod we took part in the BB Show at Blackpool Tower Circus. We had had to submit our idea, someone came out to see it, we were accepted and did our version of a snooker match, with the boys as the balls and the players. At the end all the participants, back in their uniforms, filled the ring and filed down all the aisles. Everyone stood to sing ‘Majesty’. It was incredible, I get shivers as I write this, as I can hear it even now. This was a hymn new to me again, but was a perfect end to the evening, signifying what it was that drew us together as part of the Boys’ Brigade family, to praise our God.
The fourth hymn is one that was sung at my nephew’s baptism ‘I the Lord of sea and sky’ which is based upon Samuel 3, the calling of Samuel. I am sure this was particularly chosen by the minister as my nephew was to be baptised Samuel Luke, and he was the only child baptised that day. It comes to mind quite often as I try to fulfil whatever it is the Lord wants me to do.
I realise these are all modern hymns written in the 70s and 80s; and I know that there are some of the more traditional ones that when we sing them I get that shiver down my back as they resonate with me. Sadly 3 of my favourites no longer feature in our new hymn books, so I have typed them up for you to read, the sheets are on the table in the lower room. You will have your own favourites which I am sure recall special times in your life, how fitting that we associate them with words about our faith and our God.
P.S. When talking with a friend from Nottingham the other day I was telling her about what I was going to write, she said that for her hymns are threads woven into the tapestry of life. I like that image. Sheila Kinrade