Hymns

When we feel, a kind of lyric is sung in our heart.
When we think, a kind of music is played in our mind.
In harmony, both create a beautiful symphony of life. (Toba Beta, author, poet)

A hymn is actually only a text, "...a lyric poem, reverently and devotionally conceived...designed to be sung."  So these texts are always paired with a hymn tune.   In some instances, they have an almost exclusive partnership with each other, such as Reginal Heber's text Holy, Holy, Holy sung to John Dyke's tune NICAEA.   In other instances, a text may be used with a variety of tunes that fit its meter and stressed syllables, as Lord, You Give the Great Commission is sung to either ABBOT'S LEIGH or HYMN TO JOY.   And in yet other instances, a tune may partner with several texts, such as DIX for As with Gladness, Men of Old; Farther than the Farthest Sun and For the Beauty of the Earth.
 
Following are some brief hymn stories which explain the history and meaning of some of our most popular and traditional hymns and their tunes.  (A few songs are also included, although unlike hymns, the lyrics and melodies of songs are not interchangeable.)  Reflecting upon their backgrounds can bring new insight into them; broaden our spiritual vocabulary; and give us a fresh way to share this communal form of sung prayer with one another.
 
Subpages (1): Hymn Request