by Rev. Dr. Dale Azevedo,  Sr. Minister

If the stories I was told in seminary were true, then in the late 1980’s the United Methodist Church conducted a survey of its membership to determine which hymn in its new hymnal was the most beloved and which was the most disliked. The results of this survey were hilarious and “How Great Thou Art” was rated BOTH the most beloved and the most disliked. Apparently, because so many people liked the hymn it was often sung at funerals. And because it was so often sung at funerals, other people disliked it or had negative connotations associated with it. What do you think of “How Great Thou Art?” Personally, I like it!

However, I would probably not classify it as one of my favorites.

I have numerous hymns that I like. Some I like because I love the tune that they are paired with. These would be songs like “Now the Green Blade Rises” or “What Child is This?” Others, like “De colores” or “What Wondrous Love is This,” I like because of the words or the theology they proclaim. Still others hold a special place in my heart because they invoke fond memories or emotions from days long gone. I’m talking about you, “Old Rugged Cross” and “Here I Am, Lord.”

What about you? What hymns do you like? What hymns make you smile, or cause you to tear up? What hymns transport you to another time or place? What hymn do you wish we sang more often, and why?

We have a special opportunity coming up to explore these questions and hear the answers from one another. As many of you may recall, Racquel tore up her knee quite badly last summer. Surgery wasn’t needed immediately, but it was recommended once her leg had some time to heal from the initial trauma. That surgery has been scheduled for April 4th, the Thursday after Easter. As it turns out, Racquel was scheduled to preach on April 7th. When we realized this, we decided that alternate plans needed to be made. So, we are planning a new experience:

We’re going to have a hymn sing!

But this is not going to be just like any other hymn sing. We are going to sing your favorites and learn why they mean so much to you!

Between now and April 7th, I am inviting everyone who wants to, to pick out one of your favorite hymns that you would like to share that Sunday. You will be given the choice to announce which hymn you have chosen and share briefly about why it is so meaningful to you. As you see from what I shared above, there can be any number of reasons why that hymn may be so meaningful. Your reason doesn’t need to be revolutionary or entirely profound. It means something to you, and that is good enough for us. Maybe your grandmother used to sing it to you, or maybe it was played at your wedding, or maybe it spoke to you at a turning point in your life. Who knows? But I invite you to share your story and your hymn with us on the 7th. Then, after you share, we will sing your hymn together as a congregation.

So, do you have a favorite hymn, or one of many favorites? Is there a hymn that holds special meaning in your faith, family, or past? If so, let me know. Not everyone needs to reserve their spot ahead of time, but if you want to make sure you get a chance to share, send me an email or call me up and I’ll make sure we save time for you.

In the meantime, keep on singing!

Oh, and if you like or despise “How Great Thou Art,” that’s okay. Apparently, you aren’t alone!