I learned a lot of theology sitting on the front row on the organ side of a little country church in the hills of East Tennessee. I am sure I learned from the preaching and teaching, but the way that I learned much of the theology I believe today was through the singing of those old hymns.
I sat on the front row because that is where the organist sat…and I was in love with her. The only problem was…she was in love with someone else…nothing to say about the fact that she was a college student and I was in elementary school. I also was allowed to park myself on the front row because my Papaw Roberts sat on the second row. Should I need to be brought back to the straight and narrow, he would flip me on the ear and I would adjust my behavior immediately.
But, back to theology. I can close my eyes and still hear those old hymns reaching the rafters of that little country church in the hills of East Tennessee. I can hear the melodies that I grew to love so dearly. I can still hear Aunt Sally’s voice as it boomed out on the chorus of each song. I remember the melodies that were so sweet and it was sitting in that little church that I learned about harmony. Call me old fashion, but to my ears there is still nothing sweeter than to hear a strong harmony…
Today, I was sitting in church, a church I had never worshipped in before, when the familiar lyrics of one of those precious, theology teaching hymns was sung by the congregation. Now the melody was different, the rhythm was not the same, but the lyrics was the same and so was the theology. For a minute I was lost in the flood of memories, but then I snapped out of it in time to hear:
Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
watching and waiting, looking above,
filled with his goodness, lost in his love.*
I can’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t known this song. But today, the Holy Spirit pricked my heart with lyrics that I had somehow missed all these years.
Theology couldn’t be richer than the words I heard: “Perfect submission, all is at rest: I in my Savior and happy and blest” Holy Spirit, teach me to live in perfect submission to You. How I long to be at rest with all…
Before I knew what was happening I had lifted my hands and my voice to proclaim:
This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.*
Father, thank You for the great hymn writers who knew You and penned great songs based on their relationship with You.
*Lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby