• Whitney

Old Rugged Hymnal

On Sunday morning, my sister, niece, and I were blessed with the opportunity to go to church with our sweet Meme. As worship began, I couldn’t help but notice that the hymnal in my hand looked as if it could fall apart if it were gripped just a little too hard. It was old and worn. The color has faded and the cover is tearing. Some of the pages even appeared to be discolored. My sister looked at me and said, “I bet this is older than I am.” She was probably right.  I couldn’t help but wonder how many pairs of hands had held the hymnal. Some may have been the hands of children while others may have been the hands of elderly men and women. People from various walks of life may have held the hymnal in that small country church on various Sundays. Someone may have sung from that very book on the day that they got saved. Others may have held it on the same day that they went to be with our Lord. It’s crazy that a simple, red hymnal made me wonder all of these things.  The biggest and most important questions that I couldn’t stop thinking about were: How many people who have sung from this very book are now singing praises to our Lord?Did anyone fail to listen to his call before it was too late? Did the hymns that were sung bring peace to those who were suffering and joy to those who were not? Were life lessons taught from the song in this book? Hopefully those who have held that very hymnal are devout Christians who have learned and truly worshiped from the old songs in the little book. I’ve heard that a Bible that is falling apart often belongs to someone whose life is not, can the same argument be applied to the song book? But perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from the hymnal. Although it is no longer “beautiful”, it isn’t shiny and new, and it is far from perfect, it can still be used to worship the Lord. God overlooks the outside appearance (of both the hymnal and of human beings) and looks on the inside, where it matters. You see, the inside of the hymnal is still filled with songs of worship that will never cease to be worthy of use to praise the Savior. Just like the Lord looks past our outward appearance, but instead focuses on the appearance of our heart. God doesn’t care whether we have the best material items, he cares about how we use our resources to bring praise and honor to his name. He certainly doesn’t care about the appearance of the hymnal in our hands, but he cares about whether or not we mean the words of praise which we sing to him from the pages. He cares whether or not we respond to his call at the end of the service, he cares whether or not we took time our of our “busy” schedule to spend time with him in prayer and to worship him. He cares about the condition of our heart, not the condition of our song book.  1 Samuel 16:7English Standard Version (ESV) 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” I’m very thankful to have two Christian grandmothers who have taught me so much. I am thankful that I get the chance to attend church with them and learn things from both the preacher and the hymnal. Although the latter cannot talk, each page tells a story that words alone simple aren’t enough to tell it completely. (I don’t mean the words in the songs, per se, I mean the stories of the individuals who have sung them). I hope that God has abundantly blessed those who have sang from this hymnal and that each person who has held it will one day get to worship him together in Heaven.

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