Sunday, June 10, 2007
Hymns are "an essential part of our church meetings. [They] invite the Spirit of the Lord." They often do this quicker than anything else we may do. President J. Reuben Clark Jr. said, "We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer."
..."some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns." My testimony and conversion to the restored gospel were strongly influenced by singing the hymns of Zion as a young boy. I grew up in the small town of Mapleton, Utah, and attended meetings in what is known today as the "old white church." My 95-year-old mother still lives in Mapleton. When I visit her, I drive past the "old white church," and a flood of sweet memories fills my mind. Among them is the converting power of the hymns we sang in priesthood, Sunday School, and sacrament meetings. My experiences were similar to that of President Hinckley when, as a deacon, he attended a stake priesthood meeting with his father. They sang "Praise to the Man." Later he would say, "I had an impression that has never left that Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of God." I believe that many of our Saints experience this again and again. Hymns play an essential role in spirituality, revelation, and conversion...
...Sacred among all hymns are those that capture the sacrifice and the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ and His infinite Atonement.
My earliest memories of the healing power of the Savior are associated with sacrament hymns. This sentence is real to me: "I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me."
My understanding of the doctrines of the Atonement is connected to the hymns. This verse is illustrative:
How great, how glorious, how complete, Redemption's grand design,Where justice, love, and mercy meet In harmony divine!...
..."Teach your children to love the hymns. Sing them on the Sabbath, in [family] home evening, during scripture study, at prayer time. Sing as you work, as you play, and as you travel together. Sing hymns as lullabies to build faith and testimony in your young ones."...
...I pray that we may eliminate any inappropriate music from our lives and follow the counsel of the First Presidency: "Brothers and sisters, let us use the hymns to invite the Spirit of the Lord into our congregations, our homes, and our personal lives. Let us memorize and ponder them, recite and sing them, and partake of their spiritual nourishment. Know that the song of the righteous is a prayer unto our Father in Heaven, 'and it shall be answered with a blessing upon [your] heads.' " Of these truths I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I have always loved the hymns. On Sunday we turn on the BYU instrumental radio stream online and listen to all the variously styled hymnal music. It definitely adds peace to our Sabbath day.