Sunday, May 22

Sunday's Hymn: Reader's Choice

This week's choice is suggested by Doug, who listed three hymns, but I've made an autocratic executive decision to go with number three on his list because it is my very favorite hymn. It seems that Doug and I have good taste, too: Yesterday I read in a couple of places that many hymnologists consider this one to be the finest hymn in the English language, and that Charles Wesley once said he would give up all of the thousands of hymns he wrote to have written this one.
When I Survey The Wondrous Cross
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o'er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Isaac Watts was from a non-conformist heritage and he continued in that tradition. Watts was a man of many talents and interests. Besides working as a pastor and writing hymns, he wrote at least 52 books on varied subjects--grammar, pedagogy, ethics, psychology, astronomy, geography, collections of sermons, theology, and a book on logic that was widely used in the universities.

Doug (Mr. CoffeeSwirls) says, "Oh how I long for the church to return these God-focused songs to the prominance they deserve!" You won't find me disagreeing.

Want to listen to this hymn? This is a piano version in the tune that I know best (Hamburg) from Joyful Noise Music, and here is a choir version from Songs of Praise of another common tune for this song (Rockingham).

You, too, can choose a hymn to be featured here on Sunday.
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