O the deep, deep love of Jesus / vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
My hope is built on nothing less / Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
Be still my soul / The Lord is on your side / leave to your God / To order and provide
There’s nothing like a song or scripture in my head to keep me focused on truth and protected against lies, discouragement, or fear. So lately I’ve enjoyed browsing through an old songbook that includes the words quoted above - also, of course, found many other places! It’s a 1972 edition of Young Life’s publication, “Songs.” Remember it? The little paperback, brown cover?
This may bring it back:
From mountains high cool waters flow / the singing breeze, green meadows grow / Shine tall pine trees, blue skies above / Are all expressions of my Lord’s love / And this one God who made all these / Is interested in you and me / His greatest gift is to make men free / New self, more life, abundantly!
The edition I sang from in the mid-1980s may have been a bit different from this one, but not much. It features lots of Yohann Anderson, John Fisher, and the like: Jesus music.
It also includes a lot of not-so-Jesus-y artists like Bob Dylan, John Denver, and the Beatles. And lots of folk music and pop songs from the 60s and before. They were pretty hip tunes at the time. I remember learning most of them by hearing them stream from the little yellow transistor radio which my mom carried from the kitchen to the garden. Now you can only hear them on the oldies station...
With its mix of Christian and secular music, new song and old ones, often with a new flavor, this book was pretty contextualized to its audience. Though perhaps open to the charge of syncretism. "Puff the Magic Dragon" and "Blessed Be the Tie That Binds" make strange bedfellows. I wouldn’t mind singing “In Christ There Is No East or West” to the tune of “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” (try it!) but “A Mighty Fortress” to the suggested alternate tune of - oh this makes me laugh - “Come on Baby Light My Fire”? Hmm. Would Ol’ Martin Luther be rolling - or rocking and rolling - in his grave?
I wonder if something like this exists that is more contemporary, a compact words-only songbook, with songs I know, old and new? Or are we too far beyond the days of people sitting around with a guitar just singing for this to be relevant? Of course it would be quite easy now to make my own, and maybe a good devotional exercise.
I’d also experience the same fun and encouragement by enlarging my collection of worship-music CDs but it is hard knowing where to start. Any suggestions? What are you listening to and loving, lately?