Confession: Around the office we frequently (and affectionately) refer to the early clergy health advocate Charles Wesley as “Chuck.” It is in tribute to him and his hymn-writing contemporaries that I share this post, with credit to my colleague, Ed Moore, who has introduced this topic during his lectures at Duke Divinity School.
I grew up in a church that mixed contemporary worship music, old hymns, new hymns, and even the occasional ancient chant. (I didn’t exactly love that last part as a middle schooler). From song to song and Sunday to Sunday, our congregation never quite knew what we were going to get once we stood up from our seats. Because of this tendency, I developed an appreciation for both the lyrical strength of hymns and the sounds of contemporary worship music.
But it was not until a summer camp guitar class and my later involvement in campus ministry that I learned that others shared my fascination with combining musical styles. An entire subset of worship music existed. I discovered old hymns set to new tunes. Eighteenth, 19th, and 20th century poetry turned into hymns. Hymns with creative instruments. Melodies that made the thoughtful, informed verses come alive in a new way. I was hooked.
Now, you might be wondering, how does this relate to our dear old pal Chuck Wesley?
Well, it turns out that Wesley is the author of many of the hymns I have come to know and love in a new form. I’m not knockin’ the old sounds. I love a good organ and a classic tune. But perhaps, just perhaps, some of these new sounds might catch your ear and captivate your heart in the way they have mine.
Below are a few sites where you can find these modern hymn-writers and even a few free downloads. Enjoy!
— Ellie Poole
Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
LOVE SINGING THE “KLOVE” SONGS WITH THE REALLY ROCKIN’ BAND AT THE CHURCH I ATTEND – BUT MY HEART – HOPEFULLY INSPIRED BY THE LORD – LONGS TO PUT AT LEAST THE WORDS OF THE OLD HYMNS I GREW UP ON IN THE HEARTS OF THE CHILDREN. NOTHIN’ BUT THE BLOOD – APPEARED IN A RAP TYPE FORM IN A VBS RECENTLY AND IT MADE ME WONDER IF THERE WERE MORE OF THAT TYPE ADAPTATION AROUND THAT I COULD BORROW TO HOOK THE KIDS UP TO THE OLD/AWSOME MESSAGES. ANYONE???