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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Memorable old hymns still live

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The lyric had been running through my head, "All I have needed Thy hand has provided ..." but I couldn't remember the title of the song.

I tried singing it to my husband, but was pitifully out of tune.

I could have Googled, but instead grabbed an old hymnal off the bookshelf. I love the memories the old hymnal holds for me. My dad, smelling of Old Spice, and singing the low parts like a Statler Brother, "In the sweet (in the sweet) by and by ..."

I was excited as a child to realize those slide-in numbers on the wooden board at church were the hymn numbers for the day. It provided a diversion, looking up the songs for the morning while the pastor was talking.

As much as I ever learned to read music, I learned from the hymnal. Your voice goes up when the notes ascend, down when they descend. You hold a note at the parenthesis.

The hymnals also provided a means of transit for notes passed between friends -- back before we had electronic devices with which to ignore the preacher.

"Him-what?" My kids have grown up on lyrics projected onto the wall -- Hillsong and Vineyard, not Marantha, Gaither or Shea. They don't understand why Tommy and I smile at one another and sing a bit louder when the worship leader selects some "Old" song they've never heard before, "I'll fly away, oh glory, I'll fly away ... "

They are probably too young yet in their faith to understand why Mum's eyes always get misty when the opening notes of Amazing Grace begin to play.

There's a comfort in visiting older churches, the songbooks lined up like soldiers in their racks on the back of each pew, right next to the slots for Communion cups. There's comfort in hearing those 'old' songs, and just like remembered Bible verses, I found "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" rising up in my spirit over and over this week.

Sometimes it seems as though God places an aura over my vision -- lately there is no area in my life I can look and not see His provision. Every thing my hands once built is gone, and in its place are an array of blessings which, when viewed in the aggregate, could only be God-sent. Morning by morning, new mercies I see.

-- Tracy Simmons is a features writer for the Times-Gazette. She may be reached at (931) 684-1200, ext. 217, or by e-mail at tsimmons@t-g.com.

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Tracy, when you described your Dad, you also described mine. He smelled of Old Spice and had the most wonderful rich bass voice singing God's praises. It was enjoyed by everyone in the room. Thanks so much for this great trip down memory lane.

-- Posted by Nana2many on Wed, Mar 28, 2012, at 12:18 PM

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Tracy Simmons
Spirited Scribe