This is the deadline for submitting one’s list of the top ten hymns, and I just sent mine in. Here is the complete text of my email to sherryDOTearlyATgmail:
You know perfectly well that’s impossible… I’ve been working on this list for almost two weeks now, ever since ConjubilantWithSong.blogspot.com mentioned the project, and each time I draw up my list it’s different, perhaps with as few as two or three hymns in common with the previous effort. I think I’d have an easier time deciding on the top 200. Anyhow, with no further ado, here’s the latest version of my top ten, which shall have to do for the purposes of your survey:
1) How firm a foundation
2) His voice as the sound of the dulcimer sweet
3) Be thou my vision
4) O Mighty God, when I behold the wonder
5) When Jesus came preaching the Kingdom of God
6) Crown him with many crowns
7) A mighty fortress is our God
8 ) Mine eyes have seen the glory
9) Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
10) For all the saints who from their labors rest
1) How firm a foundation — tune FOUNDATION (aka BELLEVUE, PROTECTION and various other names) – Preferably all seven verses (once I latch onto a good hymn I like it to go on for time and eternity 😉 and the four verses our hymnal provides do not cut it with me). If one must make do with four verses, I’d rather have the deep waters stanza than the fiery trials, personally, but the best solution is all seven.
2) His voice as the sound of the dulcimer sweet — I love the circular (typologically = eternal) pietistic love of God that this Southern Harmony hymn evokes for me. The tune (shared with #5) is SAMANTHRA (aka ZION’S PILGRIM), though it can be sung to DAVIS (aka MEDITATION) to no ill effect. But I definitely prefer (if forced to choose) the circular His voice/Samanthra setting to the more frequently encountered, more linear O Thou in/Davis.
3) Be thou my vision O Lord my heart — tune SLANE – five verses (most hymnals leave out the third, “buckler” verse)
4) O Mighty God, when I behold the wonder — I am deeply offended by the way Manna Music and Stuart Hine expropriated Carl Boberg’s fine hymn “O Store Gud” and claimed copyright in it for all these years without so much as an acknowledgment that Hine was only a translator, not the author. So I refuse to include “How Great Thou Art” in my list; which is okay, actually, since I think Boberg’s hymn has been better translated several times, including the Esperanto translation by W. J. Downes and at least two other English translations, including the one I have chosen to include, which is hymn #9 in the current Covenant Hymnal.
5) When Jesus came preaching the Kingdom of God — tune SAMANTHRA above @ #2, this is #545 in Yale’s A New Hymnal for Colleges and Schools (1992); a Fred Pratt Green text. It’s also #647 in the Collegeville Hymnal, set there to KINGDOM OF GOD, a tune that I’m not familiar with.
6) Crown him with many crowns — to DIADEMATA (or NEVIN’S PROCESSIONAL or OLIVA SPECIOSA if you’re tired of DIADEMATA, I suppose); imho, of course four crowns does not constitute “Many” crowns. I would just as soon sing all nine of the stanzas in the Cyber Hymnal, or at least the seven found in the Christian Life Hymnal, but if you must stick to four I’d suggest using at least three that are NOT in whatever hymnal your congregation is accustomed to singing from…
7) A mighty fortress is our God — nuff said
8 ) Mine eyes have seen the glory — again, all the verses if possible. I feel the same way about “the hero born of woman” here that I do about “deep waters” in “How firm a foundation”: I’d rather excise on of the others than leave it out. But if at all possible, do all six!
9) Amazing grace, how sweet the sound — again, all verses, and I like to top the full seven off with a round of “Praise God, praise God…” followed by a last reiteration of “Amazing grace” but ending “Was bound, but now I’m free!”
10) For all the saints who from their labors rest — this one is basically in the list for the tune. I love SINE NOMINE, unison or harmonized, and this is one with lots of great verses, too (11 in the Cyber Hymnal, though I’ve never seen more than 8 in a print hymnal), a winning combination in my book.