Once again, I am glad to share a selection of letters to the editor. All of these have been submitted in response to recent articles. I hope you enjoy them!
Letters on and What We Lost When We Lost Our Hymnals and What We Gained When We Lost Our Hymnals
Your article regarding the use of Power Point over the use of traditional hymnals was spot on! Obviously, the feedback and comments have indicated the hymnals portray a special place in many people’s worship experiences. In addition to the pages of the old, great songs having been worn in appearance, I often wondered who was the person that “dog-eared” that page? And why? More than that I miss the label on the inside cover reminding me in who’s memory this particular hymnal was dedicated. Yes, we have lost more than just the songs…
—John T, Murphy, TX
I liked this article a lot, and agreed with all the points you made that were pro-hymnal. With all these great reasons to use hymnals, I wonder why you say that you don’t think we should go back to using them. Hymns were a great part of my upbringing, and ended up being more memorable than much of what was taught in the church I was raised in.
My husband and I are part of a small home church and also a weekly Bible study, and sing from the hymnal at all those meetings. Once in a while we’ve had to change where we met for a meeting, and the hymnals were forgotten. At times like that we find the hymns’ words on our smartphones.
I love both the music and message of the older hymns, and the connection they give us to saints from earlier times. When the meaning of a lyric is unclear, we look it up.
I’ve made a point of keeping hymn singing alive because I think that many of them are wonderful. Every three months since the fall of 1999 my husband and I have held hymn sings in our home. Hymn Sing #70 was in March! We invite believers that we know who attend many different churches (some that sing hymns, some that don’t). We sing a cappella for two hours, then have a potluck dinner. It’s a precious time of worship, and I think especially special for those who don’t have a chance to sing hymns with others often.
—Xara, Lake Orion, MI
Letters on Christian Men and their Godly Moms Series
Thank you so much for your series on godly mothers! It has been a great encouragement to my heart as I seek to raise my 4 pastor’s kids to live Jesus with all their hearts, mind, soul, and spirit (even when sometimes just making it through a short prayer time with them proves challenging!). Although I do not have a specific person in mind, I was wondering if you could research some godly mothers from more diverse ethnicities (I appreciated your entry on Christopher Yuan as one of our sons is adopted from China and I hope it helps him to learn of other godly Chinese leaders) and thought African-American, Hispanic, and other ethnicities may be encouraged by hearing stories of godly mothers from their ethnic background. Thank you for spreading God’s faithful Word!
—Michelle, Frankfort, Ky
Tim: I am very eager to include people from around the world and representing all ethnicities. My research has taken me far and wide, but has landed mostly on Americans and Europeans. There are some exceptions, though, including Yuan, Timothy, and Augustine. I remain open to other tips or suggestions!
Tributes to Moms (based on Will You Write a Mother’s Day Tribute?)
A few weeks ago I put out the call for Mother’s Day tributes. Here is one a reader submitted:
It started as just me and you. As a baby you held my hand and rocked me to sleep, twirled my hair and wiped my mouth. You changed your world to better mine. Your sacrifices were too numerous to count but I grew in such joy.
As a child you held my hand as I made my way to the pastor who would lead me to Christ. We got baptized together, how lucky are we? I know, I know, we did everything together. But you taught me to know and love the Lord. A thousand lifetimes could not compare to the importance of that. I knew the word “Jesus” at such a young age and knew who He was more as the days turned to years.
As a teenager your hands held a firmness and strength though they didn’t hold mine as much anymore. You were always nearby guiding me slowly during my departures from childhood and entrance into adventures. A word of wisdom was always on your breath, I needed to only ask for it.
In my 20’s we held each other’s hand as we sat with Dad-Dean in Hospice while he left this life and went to his new one. Those years were full of growth. Full of learning what my hands held. Could my hands have the same strength, compassion, and discipline? Could my hands serve others relentlessly without asking for a return? Could my hands turn the pages of a Bible every day, a Bible that was worn from years of seeking truth? You were there for all my questions, my heartaches, and my decisions whether good or bad. Those were the years you turned into my best friend.
Now I sit here and watch you every day, barely in my 30s. I will hold your hand and rock you to sleep while this cancer rips your strength and resolve from you. I will hold your hand with firmness and strength because I know that your suffering is not bigger than you, not bigger than God. There is victory in these hands because of their Maker. The One who gives us beauty, life, and love. The One who defeated death and who is our Hope.
It’s just me and you again. I’ll take your hand. This hand with it’s beauty all weathered from a life truly lived. And I will ask God if He will allow me to hold your hand as you will be lead to Christ. What an honor that would be.
—Nina H, Winston Salem, NC
Letters on The Hottest Thing At Church Today
I’m not in disagreement with anything you say. Good points, and I’m glad good biblical exposition comes out on top. But is it possible to have proper biblical exposition and smoke and lights? Is it ok if we do, or should we ditch everything down to padded seats and air-conditioning just because people find them comfortable (Quakers do, I suppose)? One person may be distracted by smoke and lights, and another distracted because there are no smoke and lights, but both may chiefly desire proper biblical exposition and will, we hope, mark it first in a survey. I shudder to think that anyone would list anything above proper preaching. Who would do that? Some may say “relevant worship,” is tantamount, but has any survey ever revealed that most people want a light show and good coffee more than good preaching? Is it even close? Of course, in the end, people may mark a survey one way, but they vote with their attendance, right or wrong.
Ah, after looking at the actual survey, it didn’t even mention smoke and lights of coffee. Or anything like that. So you could have said, “Church-goers prefer proper Biblical exposition over being eaten by a crocodile” (That’s a bandwagon I’ll jump on!). Taking that into account, is your article a proper commentary on this subject?
Of course, you could say that our church really likes smoke, because we had a guy start vaping during worship last Sunday. But I still don’t think he would list it first on a survey.
—Tim L, Bentonville, Arkansas