A different perspective on our hymns

While getting ready for a song service this Wednesday night I came across this website and thought it was fascinating.  


You can find historical information on hymns, including what song books they were published in, download the sheet music for the songs (for some songs you can download powerpoint presentations of the songs for display) and read about the authors.

Have you ever known the first few words of a song, or just the chorus, but couldn’t remember the name?  Use the search box to find songs that have those few words in them.  Ever want to know what other songs Tillit S. Teddlie wrote?  Just search for his name.

We always talk about how important context is in our Bible study.  What if we apply that same thing to the songs we sing in our worship services?

I’m not saying it’s necessary or that we’re doing anything wrong right now.  But when we sing There Is A Habitation do the words “A city with foundations-Firm as th’eternal throne; Nor wars, nor desolation-Shall ever move a stone” take on a new meaning when we consider they were written while our country was still struggling to recover from the Civil War?

I found eleven popular songs that were about Heaven for our service Wednesday night.  And do you know what I found that they all had in common?  Every one of those eleven songs were written during or immediately surrounding a major American war.  1.8 million Americans were killed in war as those songs were being written and published.  I’m sure there are plenty of other hymns about Heaven that have been written in times of peace and safety, but I also have no doubt that times of trials and persecution will most certainly turn our attention away from this life and toward Heaven.

It’s been interesting for me to learn more about the stories behind our favorite songs.  Obviously not all hymns are on the site, but the search for some of my favorites was worth it.  If you checked out the link, did you find anything interesting about your favorite songs?