Hymns By Number

Christianity Today recently conducted a study on hymns. This was not a popularity contest but rather a study that focused on the numbers. Editors at the magazine gathered 28 hymnals from six denominations. Then they began counting, asking themselves, "Which hymns appear most often?"

There were 13 hymns that appeared in all of the hymnals studied. Nine appeared in 27 hymnals. And the last five listed in the chart appeared in 26 of the 28 hymnals. For the complete list, click here.

Many of us will read the list and automatically point out the hymns that are absent. And yes, there are many favorites missing. But the point of this study was not about the favorites or most meaningful in Christian hymnody. This was more of a "survival" study that asked: Which hymns have managed to get through the editing and scrutinizing of numerous committees in different traditions to meet the printed page over and over again? More importantly, why do these particular poetic words bear witness with our spirits across generations?

Take a moment to review this list. Are there hymns that you don't recognize? Take a moment to look up the words to that unfamiliar hymn. Sit with those words, and invite God to speak to you through them. If you know all of them, choose the one with which you're least familiar and do the same thing.

And when you come to worship at Grace UMC, prepare to sing these and many more as we make a joyful noise together.

grace to each of you,
Pastor Darian