Posted by: Kyle Carlson, Pastor of Worship & Prayer, 9/16/11
I grew up in Southern Baptist Churches. Part of the heritage of this spiritual upbringing was a catalog of classic hymns of faith written by Christians, men and women, of ages gone by. These hymns have ingrained themselves on my memory, but more importantly, in my heart. Though I often lead worship playing a guitar, and use a lot of songs written within the last decade, the value and life of these hymns can not be overestimated in the shaping of my spiritual and musical identity.
That's one reason I have been thrilled by a ministry called Indelible Grace. (According to dictionary.com, "indelible" is an adjective meaning "unable to be changed, forgotten, eliminated, etc.") Indelible Grace began as a grassroots community of college students at Belmont University in Nashville nearly fifteen years ago. The campus director of Reformed University Fellowship, Kevin Twit, started taking old hymn texts and setting them to new tunes and/or contemporary music styles. The students under his ministry embraced this move in a big way, and began themselves writing new music for old, often obscure, hymns. The movement has spread unexpectedly across the nation. If you look on the CD shelves of any Christian store, you're likely to see a hymns project from dozens of contemporary Christian artists. This trend, as far as I can tell, was largely initiated and influenced by the songwriting collaborations of Indelible Grace. There are currently six Indelible Grace CD's available, and a number of the collaboraters have recorded their own solo projects containing reimaginings of old hymns.
One of the pioneers of this movement, and currently the engine behind Indelible Grace's national presence, is Matthew Smith. Matthew's full-time job is to travel with a band doing hymn concerts at churches and colleges across the nation. It so happens that Matthew Smith & Indelible Grace will make a stop at BridgePoint on Sunday, November 13. Matthew and his team will lead worship in both morning services that day, and then do a hymn concert in the evening. I hope you'll mark your calendars and plan to be a part of that evening.
Here's a song off Matthew's newest album, Watch the Rising Day. The song is called "Lord Jesus, Comfort Me (A Communion Hynn)," and is a reflection on the suffering of Christ and the rich benefits it provides to the one who trusts in him. The lyrics are displayed below the video so you can read along as you listen.
You have canceled my transgression,
Jesus, by Your precious blood
May I find therein salvation,
happiness, and peace with God
And since You for sinner's suffering
On the cross was made an offering
From all sin deliver me,
That I wholly Yours may be
All the pain You have endured
All Your wounds, Your crown of thorn
Hands and feet with nails through bored
The reproach which You have borne
Your back, ploughed with deep furrows
Cross and grave and all Your sorrows
Your blood-sweat and agony
Oh Lord Jesus, comfort me
Were hymns a part of your upbringing? If so, what are some hymns that are particularly meaningful to you? If hymns are sort of new to you, what are your impressions about them? Would you be interested in discovering more of these old hymns set to new music? Respond in the comments below.