A few months ago our church decided to use the newly published 福音讃美歌 (Evangelical Hymnal). It was a grass roots decision – someone said, “Hey, did you see? If we order now we can get a discount! Who wants to order?” And within a few weeks we all had hymnals and the organist had commenced with her usual “sing-through-the-whole-book” program.
We may be the only church in Japan, certainly the only church in the prefecture, that has sung through the entire 聖歌 - at least twice! (She keeps a chart.)
Now we’ve started on the new hymnal. This time I have decided to really learn the songs.
I love all sorts of hymns. There is a richness in them that reminds me of Jesus’ words:
Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.
Yesterday we sang two hymns that, according to Hymnary.org, faded from (English) hymnbooks in the 1950’s. It was like finding buried treasure.
The Japanese text was quite a different song from this … in fact, I found 4 or 5 English hymns to this tune and none of them was the one we sang in Japanese in the morning. But I think I sang them all!
The other hymn I’m learning this week is “Ah, Holy Jesus”. It is a song particularly suited for Lent and reminds us that ours is not to “do” but to respond with hearts full of love and gratitude.
Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee,
and will ever pray thee;
think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.