I’m sure you’ve noticed a trend over the past several years of taking classic hymns and updating the melodies or adding in a chorus or bridge. I’m not sure what your musical tastes are but I, for one, enjoy a lot of what this trend has introduced. I think it is very much in-step with how the church has dealt with cultural shifts throughout history: “The medium may change, but the message stays the same”.
There is a reason there are so many hymns that have proven timeless. Despite traditional hymnals gathering dust in many churches, many of the songs within have persisted in our contemporary language and psyche. I think one of the main reasons for this is that in general, hymns tend to tell the whole story. They start with our fallen state, and our need, then move into the redemptive story, and finally celebrate our promised eternity. Contrast that with many of today’s worship songs that tend to focus on a single spiritual truth.
I think there are wonderful things about both techniques and I’m glad we sing both in our services. In an effort to bring these two worlds together in a cohesive worship experience, many of the old hymns have been updated, both musically (adding in some contemporary music sensibilities) and through adding choruses. This version of How Great Though Art by Ascend the Hill rearranges the text of the original hymn so there is a steady build throughout the whole song, culminating in the in the traditional chorus of the song:“Then sings my soul,My Saviour God, to Thee,How great You are! How great You are!Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great You are!How great You are!”
I think I say this a lot, but this is one of my all time favorites that we play at the Collingswood campus.