On the rare occasion I find the impulse to post on Facebook, it usually is a verse from a hymn. When I preach, hymns are a prevalent and common starting point for the sermon. People have asked me why I like hymns so much.
Obviously, there is a sense of nostalgia: I grew up singing hymns, they were practically the only music I listened to as a child. I never had an interest in pop music, or really any other kind of music, but I did sing with the rest of the congregation at church every Sunday morning. As I got older and joined the choir, hymns were usually the foundation of what we sang in the choir.
But the truth is that hymns are powerful: they share many of the fundamental Truths that we need to know in very simple terms, and when set to music become something we can use to easily remember these Truths. Deuteronomy 6 speaks about keeping Scripture close to our minds, about sharing the Commands and Truths of God with our children, about sharing them at home and everywhere we go. I used this passage at church recently to share about how important it is to read our Bibles, so that we can use Truth to give us strength and to comfort us. Hymns help by doing the same thing.
As an example, take Amazing Grace, which if you read the words, tells of the Christian's journey from the day he accepts Christ until he goes home to eternal peace. How Firm a Foundation reminds us that God loves us and will always be with us through every struggle. Crown Him with Many Crowns tells of the many ways in which Christ has proven Himself capable of doing all things, and worthy of our praise. Have Thine Own Way is a prayer from us to God as we submit ourselves to Him wholly and completely.
Modern songs certainly can and do accomplish some of the same things, and I enjoy some of the ones that do. Many hymns were written in times when many people could not read, so the Bible was not available to them. Hymns became a primary tool to share Truths with each other, and so most were carefully crafted, prayerfully considered by congregations before using them, and utilized to keep God close in the minds and hearts of those who listened.