A friend told me about a Shaped-Note harp sing that he attended recently in Brooklyn. It must have been amazing. I have to say that I was very sad when many of the Mennonite Churches changed their hymnals to what seems to now include very few of the old standards. I recently attended a Mennonite Hymn Sing
where their newer hymnal was used, and I was heartened by the requests that folks called-out, even those among the younger demographic-I made a mental note that all except one, were old standards! This lead me to wonder how many of us are even singing any of the other songs in this new, more modern, Mennonite Hymnal? I personally feel that the old hymns are what I connect with most in my Mennonite faith. I apologize if I seem to be complaining, I just grew up a very traditional Mennonite.
I still get teased by my NYC friends, because while so many of them grew up reading the classics, I was busy memorizing The King James version of the Bible, much of which can still recite. Many churches don't read from that version anymore, but I cannot help myself as I still reverse-translate whatever scripture is being quoted to me, back into the good ol' KJV!
I leave you with this beautiful sacred hymn that a kind soul sent to me with the hope I'd find some comfort as I mourn my cousin's passing:
Tune: Thomas W. Carter, 1844
Words: Philip Doddridge, 1755
Meter: Common Meter Double (8,6,8,6,8,6,8,6)
Not many years their rounds shall roll,
Each moment brings it nigh,
Ere all its glories stand revealed,
To our admiring eye.
Ye wheels of nature speed your course,
Ye mortal pow’rs, decay;
Fast as ye bring the night of death,
Ye bring eternal day.
Ye weary, heavy-laden souls,
Who are oppressed and sore,
Ye trav’lers through the wilderness
To Canaan’s peaceful shore.
Though chilling winds and beating rains,
The waters deep and cold,
And enemies surrounding you,
Take courage and be bold.
Though storms and hurricanes arise,
The desert all around,
And fiery serpents oft appear,
Through the enchanted ground.
Dark nights and clouds and gloomy fear —
And dragons often roar —
But while the gospel trump we hear,
We’ll press for Canaan’s shore.