Tried, trusted and traditional hymns

Malcolm Hicks reflects on traditional hymns

Hymns play a large part in our worship at Church, and we all, I am sure, have our preferences. I must confess to being an unrepentant traditionalist: I delight to see piles of the green covered hymn books, the New English Hymnal, for distribution on a Sunday morning, and trust that the numbers posted on the hymn board will yield something stirring from Charles Wesley, or  something equally satisfying from some earnest Victorian who is perhaps but a name to me. And we can all get a sense from the robust response of many others in the congregation that we are not alone.

Jesu lover 2Why should this be?

It’s surely the happy marriage of words and music that is such a source of spiritual and psychological wellbeing (nicely complemented by the moving harmonies of our choir at the time of Mass).

Recollect some of your many first choices. Perhaps the stirring tune of Immortal, Invisible, with its perfect formulation of Divinity, ‘O Lord we would render, O help us to see ‘Tis only the splendour of light hideth thee.’ And then what of the profound effect of those hymns in minor key mode: ‘Eternal Father, strong to save,  Whose arm doth bind the restless wave,’ or ‘Jesu, lover of my soul,  Let me to thy bosom fly’?

The list may not be endless, but it is far too rich a repository to do justice to in a few words. So here’s to the next time that we swell with vocal inspiration once the cryptic number on the board leads to that thrill of recognition of a tried and trusted favourite.

So what is your favourite traditonal hymn? Have you one you would wish to be rescued from oblivion? (You can read one man’s choice by clicking here).


About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
This entry was posted in Anglican, Anglo Catholic, Catholic, Christianity, Spirituality and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Tried, trusted and traditional hymns

  1. A favourite of mine has to be the George Herbert hymn with the tune (Sandys). The visionary concept of looking on glass or seeing the heaven beyond always inspires me. William Sandys shapely melody needs only his simple harmony and does not usually tempt me as an organist to deviate significantly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.