My Jesus I Love Thee (in Defense of Old Church Songs)Posted: May 18, 2020
I was looking for the right song for us to sing as we shared Communion together yesterday (over live stream), and the Spirit led me to this old hymn I remember singing in church growing up, “My Jesus I Love Thee.” I like its emphasis on the cross and its emphasis on the present moment. And what a present moment we are in right now!
I made a comment about the inclusion of old songs (this was already an old song when I first heard it!) on the live stream (see this video here). It might be helpful for you to think about if you are involved in planning the worship of your congregation. I often get feedback from the congregation about how easy it is to participate with older hymns, and even with newer songs I write (those that are for congregational use), I strive to emulate the simplicity of melody of songs like this one that make it easy for even average singers to participate with, rather than melodies that show off my vocal abilities.*
I love the new songs we are hearing in Christian churches too, but we have to recognize that our music culture is a performance-oriented one and even the music of the church can be driven by record sales of performing artists rather than community participation, heritage, and body-life of the church. (Dr. David Gordon has written much more about this.)
Do you have a thought about this? Please leave a comment if so! I love hearing from y’all.
*I must say it does help me as a congregational songwriter that I’m not a particularly gifted singer, but for an example of songs I write where I’m singing higher or not-as-simple melodies, see my alt-pop project “Ties to the Light.” Some familiar only with my church music have even wondered if it was really me singing on some of those songs!
Intro to the congregation on live stream for the singing of the hymn: