hymns in my head

by Kristen

As the refrain “Holy, Holy, Holy” filled the room, a smile spread across my face. I closed my eyes.

Suddenly I was four years old again: third row, center aisle, standing on the pew next to my mom. Up front my dad was leading the congregational singing, and my grandma was tucked away in the organ well. The choir stood fully robed in olive green behind the modesty rail.

Too young to know I couldn’t carry a tune I belted out the words I knew by heart. “Wert” in verse two was a special delight; it felt so satisfyingly grown up in my little mouth.

Before long, I could navigate a hymnal lickety-split. And my parents patiently explained the weighty vocabulary when I puzzled over poetic mouthfuls—royal diadem, terrestrial ball, toils and snares, bulwark, pavillioned, manifold witness, acclamation, consecrated.

These days I enjoy my hymns at a faster tempo with more bass and guitar than organ, but they’ll forever be my first church-music love.

Hymns dug the trenches for my earliest theological footings. I stand on Christ, the solid rock, because verse upon verse from hymnists charted the map to Him. And they still compose the soundtrack of my soul.

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