Tag Archives: hymn

Before We Begin

before we beginIn these early days of the new year, it is good for us to remember what we are called to do before we begin events or journeys of any kind in life. Martin Luther suggested that the first thing we do before beginning our day is to make the sign of the cross. Like we do in worship, it is good for us to begin our day, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” And it is always a good thing to begin a new day with prayer. Many church traditions have even established times for more formalized morning prayer services.

Beyond the beginning of each new day, it is important to begin each meal with prayer and begin each night’s sleep with an evening prayer. I remember my dad having a prayer with the whole family in the car as we started on each summer vacation.

As we start on this new year and go about our new as well as our regular routines, it is good practice to stop for a moment before we embark on each endeavor, and say to ourselves, “Before we begin, let us pray, let us praise, let us give thanks to our God who has brought us to this moment to take part in this activity, event, job, meeting, meal, day, vacation” or whatever it may be.

I am reminded of this hymn:

With the Lord begin your task;
Jesus will direct it.
For his aid and counsel ask;
Jesus will perfect it.
Ev’ry morn with Jesus rise,
And when day is ended,
In his name then close your eyes;
Be to him commended.

Let each day begin with prayer,
Praise, and adoration.
On the Lord cast ev’ry care;
He is your salvation.
Morning, evening, and at night
Jesus will be near you,
Save you from the tempter’s might,
With his presence cheer you.

Keep these thoughts and words in mind each day of this new year, and remember, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).


The Power of Hymns

At the end of my time at the Best Practices conference in Phoenix, I experienced something unusual and unexpected: I wept.

It happened during the closingsinging hymns worship service when all participants were gathered in the traditional worship space and we sang with the organ from the hymnal (or from memory) the beloved hymns: “Lift High the Cross,“ “Thy Strong Word,“ “Hark the Voice of Jesus Crying“ and “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” (in harmony and a cappella). That’s when I lost it.

“So why the tears?” I pondered.

Hearing the participants sing with such gusto and experiencing the sounds of the 2000 voices echo through the vaulted space of the church brought out an emotional response in me in a way that the wonderful contemporary music I had been listening to and singing with over the previous days of the conference had not elicited.

Continue reading →