I knew God would have some gems for me and he did not disappoint. As I went through the index of songs, (300 total), I searched for the ones I grew up singing. My excitement grew as I found them one by one.
Paul listened to me sing a few more stanzas of my favorites, and let me share some stories. This one made me laugh.
The song, "A mighty fortress is our God," was written by Martin Luther. This surprised me, (not really sure why), but my smile came in the knowledge that this song was a staple in the Catholic church I grew up in. (Still smiling.) He based it on the 46th Psalm and reflects Luther's awareness of our intense struggle with Satan. As I sang the next line to my audience of one, it carried all the passion I'd had as a child. "A bulwark never failing." Then I laughed as I realized I had absolutely no idea was a bulwark was. I don't think I ever asked anyone, maybe I did. If I did, I don't remember, so I looked it up. ("Bulwark: a wall of earth built for defense) Makes perfect sense now, right?
The next song that struck a deep chord in me, "Now Thank We All Our God," is based on 1Thessalonians 5:18 and Colossians 3:17. The next line says, "With heart and hands and voices." Wow, Lord. This was written by a Lutheran Pastor in 1636, and is considered one of the few but rich hymns devoted exclusively to thanking God.
The song, "Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty," was written 1826 and based on Revelation 4:8. "Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee."
"Crown Him with many Crowns, the lamb upon his throne. Hark how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own. Awake my soul and sing, of Him who died for thee. And hail him as thy matchless King, Through all eternity." This was written in 1851 and based on Rev. 19:12.
"Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before. Christ the royal master, Leads against the foe, Forward into battle, See his banners go." Written in 1865 and based on 2 Chronicles 20:17.
I will end with the song that makes me weep. I can't remember getting through it without tears. The story behind this song is great and long, so I will leave you with just one thing. In the New York Crusade of 1957, (this is the year I was born) it was sung by Bev Shea ninety-nine times, with the choir joining in the majestic refrain. "Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, How great Thou art! How Great thou art!