Sunday, July 20, 2008

an old hymn

From the time I was in the 5th grade to the time I left Arizona in my twenties, I attended a Baptist church. Very traditional. Organ, old hymns, pews, and all the pomp and circumstance that goes with established, conservative churches. Week after week we'd sing the old hymns ~ sometimes at a pace too sluggish for my taste. I only wore dresses or skirts to Sunday morning services. The church did not approve of dancing. The decons took the offering and served communion. The deasons were, of course, men. And there was no hand-raising of any sort during a song that may have moved you to do so. Like I said, very conservatively traditional.

Now we go to a nondenominational church that is very modern. We do not sing hymns. We sing upbeat and often rockin' worship songs. I often wear jeans to Sunday morning services, even though it somehow feels a little wrong. Dancing is just another expression of worship or fun. Anyone can take the offering or serve communion. I've done both. Those who feel moved to do so, raise their hands in praise. Very different from how I grew up.

Every once in a while, we sing an old hymn ~ How Great Thou Art ~ with a different arrangement. The tune is the same, but the song is more modern with quite a livelier beat. When we sing this song, I am strangely transported back to the days in the Baptist pew. I feel as if I am stradling a line of who I was and who I am now. I feel like I have roots that allow me to grow into a more colorful person. I am glad I know the old hymns and their familiar tunes. At the same time I am glad that some have new arrangements that meet the needs of a more modern church.

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