I like singing. There’s no escaping that part of the reason I love hymns (and by hymns I include worship songs/praise choruses/whatever else) is because I like to sing. But there’s something more to it than that, a spiritual dimension if you will.
I can express myself in hymn form much better than I can in speech. I can sing what it would make me uncomfortable to say (not because I disagreed with it but speaking the praises of God just doesn’t come naturally to me). I suppose it helps that the Charles Wesleys of this world have expressed in beautiful poetry so many glimpses into the nature of God.
It’s not just how I express myself though; it’s the effect it has on me. I often get a little shiver up my spine when singing something particularly fantastic. This isn’t the same one I get from performing in an orchestra or singing in a choir. It comes when singing Love Divine, And Can It Be or Thine Be The Glory. I think it comes from singing the Truth beautifully put.
Do all hymns do it? Of course not, there are many hymns old and new that drive me crackers because I find the imagery questionable (Onward Christian Soldiers), the message poorly expressed (Trust and Obey) or I just simply don’t agree with the theology (numerous very penal-substitution atonement heavy songs). There is also the bland pap – the so called ‘Jesus is my boyfriend’ genre – that is to Christian song what most of the top 10 in the charts is to secular music.