Things to Do Until Jesus Comes

Things to Do Until Jesus Comes

An insignificant event from many years ago keeps coming to mind. It was a denominational gathering of ministers and others that, of course, involved a hearty dinner. At the conclusion, the facilitator asked everyone to encircle the room, join hands and sing: “We’ll...
By the Way | Weeping in Church During Roll Call

By the Way | Weeping in Church During Roll Call

I wept in church recently. Didn’t see it coming, but during the refrain of “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder” there it was. No one sings the old gospel songs like that anymore. Evangelicals perform what they call “praise music,” a kind of dreamy meditation that makes...
That Will Be Glory for Me

That Will Be Glory for Me

In 1900, Charles Gabriel published one of the most me-centered hymns of praise to be found in any hymnal. The song celebrates the glories of heaven for one whose “labors and trials are o’er,” leaving them “safe on that beautiful shore.” The chorus imagines the...
“O Holy Night” and the End of Oppression

“O Holy Night” and the End of Oppression

I participated in a social media debate (yes, I know better) ranking classic Advent and Christmas hymns in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day. The lead candidate was “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” This is understandable. The melodic, somber chords beautifully convey...