In March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic moved worship out of traditional sacred spaces, I recorded and shared a video of Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah. I included the text as an encouragement for folks to sing along. The following week, I shared another video. Each week brought a new hymn recording, and now two years later the collection contains more than 100 hymns. The videos are collected here, beginning with the most recent. I hope you enjoy these recordings that draw on a few of my favorite pages in the hymnal.
I Know Whom I Have Believed (Daniel Webster Whittle, 1883)In the Great Thanksgiving, Christians proclaim the mystery of faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. Beginning each verse with the phrase, “I know not,” I Know Whom I Have Believed leaves space for mystery to accompany faith. Much about God’s wondrous grace is beyond our understanding, yet we have confidence that we continue in God’s steadfast love and care. The text is included, so please add your voice and sing along.
Lead Me to Calvary (Jennie Evelyn Hussey, 1921)Written by Quaker poet Jennie Evelyn Hussey, “Lead Me to Calvary” invites the singer to hold in mind the events of Christ’s passion. Like many gospel hymns of its day, the perspective is first person singular, with the last verse offered as a prayer to identify with the sufferings of Christ, drinking the cup of grief that he drank. The text is included so you can add your voice and sing along.
My Faith Looks Up to TheeRay Palmer was 22 years old when he wrote ‘My Faith Looks Up to Thee’, which Amos Wells would later describe as “the greatest hymn written by an American.” The text is included here, so please add your voice and sing along. (Recorded July 2020)
We Sing the Mighty Power of GodAlso sung as “I Sing th’Almighty Power of God,” Isaac Watts published this and other hymns in his collection, “Divine Songs Attempted in Easy Language, for the Use of Children.” Watts believed it was important for children to learn hymns. Children could grow in the faith by singing the faith. He referred to the songs as “a constant furniture in the minds of children.” The text is included, so please add your voice and sing along.
The Ninety and NineElizabeth Clephane composed this text near the end of her life under the title The Lost Sheep. Ira D. Sankey set the verse to music in 1874, after discovering the poem in a newspaper while working in Scotland with evangelist Dwight L. Moody.
Doc Watson recorded a version of this hymn on his gospel album, On Praying Ground. I offer here a rendition that draws on Doc’s recording and that I included on an earlier CD of hymns, Picking the Faith. The tempo is brisk, the rhythm of the melody is different from the 6/8 meter in hymnals, and the text varies. Still, the text is included, so please feel free to grab hold, add your voice, and sing along.
Find Picking the Faith at https://www.deanphelpsmusic.com/picking-the-faith/
I Love to Tell the Story“I Love to Tell the Story” reflects the evangelical fervor of the 19th century in England and the U.S. Like many gospel hymns of its time, it uses language of intimacy, of closeness in one’s relationship with Christ. The text is included, so please add your voice and sing along. (Recorded April 2020)
How Can I Keep from Singing
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