Singing the Same Words
By Andrew Greer
From my earliest memory, music has connected me to a bigger, spiritual picture. More specifically, hymns were the songs that first opened my heart to God. Their verses, especially when tied to their emotive melodic counterparts, have cultivated an ongoing conversation between Him and me, giving me words to express when my mind is too anxious to formulate a clear prayer, and a melody to hum when my heart hurts so bad I can’t connect what I believe with what I’m feeling.
Recently, I was booked to perform at a church far from home. Its beautiful interior featured wooden pews, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a grand pipe organ. During the early morning benediction, when those massive metal pipes began to rumble a gritty bass intro to Albert Hays Lamotte’s hymn interpretation of “The Lord’s Prayer,” my attention was captured. With eyes closed, heads bowed, and hands clasped, the congregation began quietly singing. As the music climaxed, this community of seekers stood on their feet, lifted their hands to the sky, and sang with fervor: “For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory.”
I observed folks just like me, raising their hands to surrender fledgling careers, broken homes, unchecked addictions—their lives—to God in music-initiated worship. And my faith was again confirmed by the historical context of hymns, knowing my ancestors of faith sang these same words to summon help from the Almighty in the middle of their messes. These songs continue to serve an integral role in connecting God and His people, including me. If not for hymns, I may never have been introduced to my best Friend. And He is saving my life.
Read Greer’s story of how hymns led him back to faith and learn more about some of the historic songs he’s researched and arranged here.
Andrew Greer is a singer-songwriter whose latest record is Angel Band: The Hymn Sessions.