When I first began my series Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth a year ago, I had no idea that it would run this long. I thought it would probably run several weeks, a few months — six, maybe nine — and I’d run out of material. I had no idea until I began looking back into old hymnals that we had sung so many hymns that remain familiar to me even today… even though I’m not often in a hymn-singing context anymore.
Still, these old hymns evoke memories and cause me to be thankful for a heritage of faith, even though I am glad to have left the traditions in which I first learned them. We do still sing some of these hymns, such as today’s selection, the Doxology. I recall singing this one in my youth, not regularly or routinely, but whenever it was sung it seemed to have some extra reverence attached to it. This is not the oldest hymn I’ve covered, but it ranks. Thomas Ken, a bishop in the Church of England, wrote the hymn in 1674, and it is most often sung to the tune of Old 100th, composed in 1551 and usually attributed to the French composer Loys Bourgeois.
Whatever else one can say about it, this is one of those hymns with staying power. Just what makes a good hymn last is something David Neff recently reflected upon, and I would submit that part of the reason is associations like I’ve had and mentioned with respect to few of the hymns I’ve covered in the past year. Hymns help us to feel rooted, and The Doxology is a good example, one which not only helps us to feel rooted, but also to feel properly orientated.
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.