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In the days ahead our daily devotions will invite us to reflect on the rich
and beautiful expressions of faith that are found in hymns—both hymns
treasured and familiar and hymns new to some or all of us.

Each of the hymns can be found in
Glory to God, the new Presbyterian Church (USA) hymnal that was published just last year. Upon that publication,
the Session of Fourth Church voted in December to adopt the new hymnal
and to begin to use it in worship at some point in 2014.

In the weeks ahead, information will be made available about the hymnal—
how it came to be, how it combines the hymns we love from our current
hymnal with more sung Psalms as well as songs from other cultures and
recent writing. There will also be information how you might donate hymnals
in memory or honor of loved ones, so that on the first Sunday of Advent,
as we begin a new church year, those gathered at Fourth Church will
sing to the “glory of God” from new hymnals.

In the meantime, we hope you find comfort and hope, joy and reassurance—
and perhaps a melody or two in your head!—from these hymns
on which we reflect.

Monday, July 14, 2014

O for a thousand tongues to sing
my dear Redeemer’s praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of God’s grace!

The name of Jesus charms our fears,
and bids our sorrows cease,
sings music in the sinner’s ears,
brings life, and health, and peace.

Charles Wesley’s “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing”
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

Writing has always been an easier form of communication for me than verbal expression. To me, words on paper can be absorbed, digested, studied, and responded to in time, while a conversation requires a whole lot of processing to happen in a moment’s notice—the words’ meanings, the emotion behind them, the tone of delivery, and, of course, the obligation to respond accordingly. For someone on the shy and rather sensitive side like me, communicating—especially with a group of people—can be overwhelming, and I sometimes clam up or say the wrong thing. For this reason, talking to others about God and my faith has always been difficult and awkward for me. My love for God is strong, but in a world that often seems chock full of haters and cynics, sharing the joy and peace of God’s love is like navigating a mine field.

Charles Wesley’s words in the hymn “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” are so brave and confident! In eight lines he proclaims the countless gifts we receive through our relationship with Jesus—triumph over death, comfort from our sorrows and fears, life, health, peace, and, most importantly, the opportunity for sinners like us all to feel like we belong, that we are heard, and that we are all connected to a great and loving God. The fact that these words are expressed in song makes them the perfect channel for both shy and bold believers to express the wonders of God’s love. 

God, push me to share your love with others, through my actions, my words—both written and in conversation—and through songs that express my gratitude. Amen.

Written by Patty Donmoyer, Receptionist

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