Visiting Austin is a feast of pleasure, one of the courses is attending Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church, and one of the treats is the hymn singing there with its great pipe organ. This last visit, the congregation sang a hymn I have heard very little over the years - I believe it is "Lutheran" if one is to apply a tradition to it - and that is Open Now the Gates of Beauty. I found an MP3 of the tune here.
The lyrics are here.
We get a steady diet of "Praise Music" at our church. It has attracted some people and driven away others. I enjoy that music, but it takes a visit to WHPC to remind me of how rich is the tradition from which the popular church has turned away. I drank in that hymn like a thirsty man, as I did the singing of Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty! just prior to it. During the singing, I was off to the side, on the very front row (we were there for Aidan and Honor's baptisms), and beneath a rank of pipes, so that I could sing out without annoying anyone (at least I don't think I did.) Oh, that was fun! What a blessed background to seeing your grandchildren baptized!
Having said all that, there was a lovely song that Donna, Ginger, and Rick, the core of our praise team, sang for us today at our service, In Christ Alone. This contemporary work is hymn like, especially in the depth and extent of its lyrics, and the tune recalls "Oh Lamb of God" (lyrics here), a favorite of mine that I have solo'd a number of times.
So let's have both, why don't we?
"In Christ Alone" is SUCH a lovely song--we sing it at my church, too!
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