old hymns and rich voices

Date May 20, 2008

I grew up in a little church on a county road in Mississippi. I’d walk over the hill from my aunt’s house with a cold biscuit in my hand and the sound of the organ drifting through the pines. I can still hear Mrs. Dean’s voice ringing rich and sweet through the sanctuary as she sang Just As I Am and the verses of Oh, Victory in Jesus come easily to me even today.

I go to a different church now and the music isn’t the same, but my preacher likes old hymns and Russ inevitably plays Will The Circle Be Unbroken when he picks up his guitar. And those precious songs are still my favorites.

My heart swells with the chorus of How Great Thou Art and tears find their way to me at the very thought of The King is Coming being played by Mrs. Regina on an old piano in that Baptist church of my youth.

I longed for those hymns yesterday sparked, I suppose, by reading Johnny Cash’s autobiography. His stories sounded much like those of my family’s and their growing up in the South. Stories of his mother singing hymns in the kitchen and on porches and in cotton fields.

Thank you, Lord, for sweet gospel music.

One of Cash’s recordings of another favorite hymn of mine. Enjoy.

Farther Along

What’s your favorite hymn?

7 Responses to “old hymns and rich voices”

  1. Deanna said:

    I just recently heard Mrs Regena play “The King is Coming” last week at Mrs. Virginia’s funeral. It was beautiful music; a song I wished would never end.
    Two of my many favorite hymns is “I’ll Fly Away” and “Amazing Grace”. I love the words in both songs, but I particularly love singing “I’ll Fly Away”. Its so upbeat and it reminds me of Mama Doe. She use to sing it to us.

  2. Lou said:

    It is funny that you mentioned The King Is Coming when it was just played and sang at Mrs. Virginia’s funeral last week. I don’t know it you ever heard it sang by the lady who made it her signature song in our church but she sang it last week and trust me it was bitter sweet but we had church. Mrs. Virginia would not have planned it any differently. We also sang as congregation I Want To Stroll Over Heaven which was grandaddy’s favorite hymn that we sang at his funeral. I did not get to sing much Thursday because I was loosing a second mom of my childhood and all the music took me to another loved one that I have lost….but will see again.

    Love Ya,
    Next time you are home we must get Nieca and all gather around the piano and sing some of these old songs.

  3. Lou said:

    I forgot to list my favorite hymn. I really have a hard time chosing a favorite because I love some many but two come to mind first:
    – It Is Well because of the peace and knowing the background of that song, and
    – I Surrender All bacause this was the invitational hymn the night I went down the isle to make my profession of faith public. God saved me in the pew but I had to let everyone know.

  4. Anna said:

    Does “He still loves me” count???? haha. IF not, then As the deer. And nothing is better than my sweet husband playing Will the Circle Be Unbroken.

  5. me.. said:

    Em, you should check out Johnny Cash’s album, “My Mother’s Hymn Book.” It is just him with an acoustic guitar singing songs out of this mom’s old hymn book (that he talks about in his autobiography). It was recorded in the months right after June died, and it’s like he’s singing those songs because they’ve always brought him comfort. It’s really broken beauty. You should check it out.

  6. me.. said:

    That post is not from me. I’m not that clever. Nor do I care that much. Stephen was on my computer so it showed up that way. I just wanted to make that clear. Didn’t want you to get excited thinking I was all into music or something now! 🙂 Love you.

  7. chowle said:

    Hi Em – – Favorite hymn – – Amazing Grace.