NCH #397 Thanks Our God for Sisters, Brothers

1957_church_supper

12 y.o. piano player 6’1″ me standing in line at the archetypal church potluck supper

This whole online church presence thing is constantly evolving. One of the things that only now is finally falling into place is when to post some hymns for folks to sing at home. I’d done some before, but it was early in the pandemic and I recorded them more to have something to do at 3 a.m. when I couldn’t sleep because of worry. Now, however, it seems that what I did then is what to do now: have a hymn or two mid-week as sort of a mid-week touching base.

So, this is the first hymn posted purposely mid-week for you to enjoy and sing along to if you wish. NCH stands for New Century Hymnal. If you don’t happen to have one, often you can find the words at hymnary.org, perhaps under a slightly different title. You can also look there for all the hymn texts that fit that hymn tune. The hymn tune name for this hymn is PLEADING SAVIOR (melody from The Christian Lyre, 1831).

1831 definitely qualifies this tune as “old timey!” Even though I’m a conservatory trained composer/organist and a retired music professor, my roots are in deep, deep Southern Illinois…Snuffy Smith country, down where Illinois meets Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri. In fact, if you’re up on Lookout Mountain, you can see all four states.

My father was a Methodist minister and I was pressed into playing for Wednesday night prayer meeting and Sunday night services. Those must have been very patient parishioners because I was doing this long before I really was able to do it proficiently. But…before long I was good enough to do the big camp meeting at summer church camps under the giant circus tent. I learned how to jerk all the right emotions for altar calls and whoop’em up happy-dance hymns.

I guess I’ve never lost the fondness for those kind of hymns even though I adore a good Bach chorale. This hymn is definitely old-timey. Just play the video below and sing along…

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