Hymn Search

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On April 9, the day after the eclipse, the family gathered to play Eye Know, the trivia game with the cool box. The resulting blogpost was “Everyone (Doesn’t) Know.” The scenario I now approach is one that I didn’t attend. On May 2, the National Day of Prayer, I attended the one hosted by Thanks-Giving Square with David Brooks. Other friends chose the local one in Duncanville instead, with a different format. Downtown we did open with three long prayers by leaders from Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders. The closing, less than a minute, was by Rev. Peter Johnson, an important figure in the civil rights movement. (He is quite impressive; here is a brief interview in which he discusses forgiveness.) In the middle we had David Brooks, the Dallas poet laureate Mag Gabbert, and President Biden’s Proclamation.

The Duncanville event did not have the presidential proclamation, but they did have Governor Abbott’s proclamation read. No luncheon or speaker, but multiple prayers on topics important to the citizens. And singing, which Dallas did not have. A friend in attendance knew only one of the hymns, hence my project to enlighten him. I thought it would be easy. It’s not. Here’s why.

There are indeed a few songs that everyone knows. That list is very short: “Amazing Grace”  by Andrea Bocelli at the national event this year or Pentatonix or Judy Collins; “How Great Thou Art” by Elvis in 1977 (not sure what adjective—dramatic seems too mild) or George Beverly Shea, in 1957, all different interpretations; and “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by the Tabernacle Choir or a music video that will make you weep.

The 10 hymns in most Protestant hymn books reduces to 8 with the first two above left out.

Are there only 10 we all need to know? No. Take a breath and consider these.

  • “Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty” here at an Anglo-Catholic church in Philadelphia.
  • “The Old Rugged Cross” by the Redeemed Quartet in a country arrangement (/steel).
  • “Blessed Assurance” by CeCe Winans.
  • “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” by Mahalia Jackson, whom you need to know.
  • “Crown Him with Many Crowns” with a congregation at Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California.
  • “Hymn of Promise” is a modern hymn by Natalie Sleeth, a prolific hymn composer of our day who was a member of Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas. Here is a solo version with Debra Nesgoda. It was the final hymn sung at the recent funeral, so pay close attention to the lyrics based on Ecclesiastes 3:3—To everything there is a season.
  • “In the Garden” with Anne Murray and yes, more steel guitar.
  • “This Little Light of Mine” by a gospel choir auditioning for America’s Got Talent.
  • “Jesus Loves Me” with a little boy and others signing in ASL. Perhaps you can after watching.
  • “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” or the Doxology, the shortest of the short.

Only 20? Again, no. I’ve even left out some of my favorites in the interest of bedtime. (Slipping in one, “Standing on the Promises” which I’d never heard and was told that, yes, everyone knows it.” This site has 100!

Technically, this is just a list. Checking out the links will take a while if you do that. What I’m most interested is your reply. What isn’t here that absolutely should be? Simple enough. A favor for my friend…!


3 thoughts on “Hymn Search”

    1. I am glad to get “On the Wings” and can hear the melody in my mind. The other one is on the list as “In the Garden.” Thanks!

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