[Update]: In honor of my 62nd birthday, an old friend (former student at JMU, named Andrew) recorded a simple version of one of my favorite old hymns, The Love of God. It's below. May your heart be touched by the magnitude of God's bottomless love for His own:
I love hymns because they express rich, unexpected truths about God, extracted faithfully from His Word. It's difficult to narrow down the list of my favorite hymns, as so many have left a permanent imprint on my heart. Some favorites include:
- How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds (John Newton. Nearly made it to #1 position)
- Praise To the Lord, the Almighty (Joachim Neander. Especially v. 2)
- Come, Thou Fount (Robert Robinson. Especially v. 3)
- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Charles Wesley. Many rich biblical allusions)
- Jesus Cast a Look on Me (John Berridge.)
The Love of God
But if I had to choose just one, It would be The Love of God, by Frederick Lehman, 1917. Why? Because Lehman paints images in verse three that artistically approximate the bottomless nature of the love of God. It is an inexhaustible love that God has for someone undeserving, like me. O Lord, let me never forget that you died to rescue me, a sinner. What love, what love, what unfathomable love!
Here is Lehman's hymn. Focus especially on the imagery of verse 3: the ocean of ink, the stalks of pens, the scroll unfurled across the sky:
The love of God is greater far, than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star, and reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair (Adam & Eve), bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win;
His erring child (me) He reconciled, and pardoned from his sin.
When hoary time shall pass away, and earthly thrones and kingdoms fall;
When men who here refuse to pray, on rocks and hills and mountains call.
God's love so sure, shall still endure, all measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam's race, the saints' and angels' song.
Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade.
To write the love of God above, would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.
Oh love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong;
It shall forevermore endure, the saints' and angels' song.
In addition to Andrew's song above, here is a second version by Deborah Kim (though she skips verse 2, it is beautifully done).