This is number fourteen in a series of posts I'm writing on the hymns I've sung during my life.
In 1991 the Southern Baptist Convention published a new hymnal now with a "the" in the title -- The Baptist Hymnal. It has a much more formal setting and was more coherently organized into sections. I'm assuming a more formal hymnal was published because many churches were no longer using hymnals so the churches that were were the more traditional ones?
Miami, First Baptist did buy the new hymnals, but I largely was familiarized to it while attending college. This would be the primary hymnal during my years of theological growth and transformation from adolesence to young adulthood.
The hymnal, while being more formal, did select out some of the praise choruses that had gained popularity in the decade before. In a way, this canonized them. For example, "Shine, Jesus, Shine."
Lord, the light of Your love is shining,
In the midst of the darkness shining;
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us,
Set us free by the truth You now bring us;
Shine on me.
Shine on me.
Shine, Jesus shine, fill this land with the Father's glory;
Blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire.
Flow, river flow, flood the nations with grace and mercy;
Send forth Your Word, Lord, and let there be light.
A quartet performed this song at my farewell service at Rolling Hills Baptist Church.
The hymnal also introduced us to new hymns. One of my favourites was number 3, "Worthy of Worship." (Note, while "Holy, Holy, Holy" remained the first hymn in the hymnal, it was now number 2. Number one was a responsive reading, as each of the new sections opened with one.)
Worthy of worship, worthy of praise, worthy of honor and glory;
Worthy of all the glad songs we can sing, worthy of all of the offerings we bring.
You are worthy, Father, Creator.
You are worthy, Savior, Sustainer.
You are worthy, worthy and wonderful;
Worthy of worship and praise.
I very much enjoyed the third verse:
Almighty Father, Master and Lord,
King of all kings and Redeemer,
Wonderful Counselor, Comforter, Friend,
Savior and Source of our life without end.
I adapted this for use once with these changes. In the refrain change "Father" to "Spirit." And in the third verse, change the first line to read "Mother and Father, Lover and Lord, Wellspring of Joy and Redeemer." I would really enjoy for a a gender inclusive adaptation of this song to be available for my current use.
There was one great new hymn which was introduced to us Southern Baptists in this hymnal, but which other denominations already knew. Our version was entitled "The Servant Song" and was set to the tune BEACH SPRING.
We are travelers on a journey,
Fellow pilgrims on the road;
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.
I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the nighttime of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
Speak the peace you long to hear.
Other variations of tune, specific words, and word order appear in other hymnals. But in every church I've been in for the last twenty years, that is among the favourite hymns. And isn't that phrase, "I will hold the Christ-light for you" simply among the best?