At SNAC we love to sing hymns. Sure, we sing newer songs too, but since I’ve been at SNAC I’ve noticed that hymns are the songs that we sing the loudest and proudest!
Good hymns are a rich heritage of beautiful theological truth combined with moving and memorable melodies. I think we would miss a lot if we didn’t sing them, and if we didn’t take time to think about their words. Because let’s be honest, we’ve all had that moment when singing a hymn, where we stopped and thought, “What am I even singing? What does this song mean?” So, let’s have a think about the first verse of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, a song which is an ode to the grace that we are given in Jesus.
Come Thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy unchanging love
This verse is a prayer of orientation (it reminds me of a similar song: Psalm 103). In living busy and stressful lives in a sinful and chaotic world our temptation is to forget our good God and his good salvation. But this song calls on God to refocus our minds and emotions towards him because of his graciousness to us.
Line one addresses God as the “fount of every blessing”, which is what he is: he blesses us abundantly both spiritually and physically (Eph 1:3; Matt 6:25-34). Because of this, line two asks that God would “tune” our hearts to sing his grace, that is, we ask God to reorient our minds and emotions to respond to his grace to us by singing praise. In lines seven and eight this request is answered as we praise God for his unchanging love, which is as sure and steady as a mountain.
Lines three and four give us the reason for the above request. Surely, the only appropriate response to God’s constant, abundant mercy to us in the death and resurrection of Jesus is to sing songs of loudest praise (Perhaps we could take this logic more literally – how often is our praise the “loudest”?).
Lines five and six ask God to give us a song (a “melodious sonnet”) from heaven (where “flaming tongues” come from – see Acts 2) worthy to be sung in praise of our great Saviour Jesus Christ. Perhaps a song like that might sound a little bit like these two songs from Revelation 5:12-13:
The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy
to receive power and riches
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and blessing!
Blessing and honor and glory and dominion
to the One seated on the throne,
and to the Lamb, forever and ever!
Well I hope that after even just a brief look at one verse of this great song, that we can agree that Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing is a great song! And it’s a great way to start a church, or your day, asking God in song to give us a heart and mind tuned to praising God for all his blessings to us in Christ.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing is by Robert Robinson.
Public Domain. CCLI Licence #49503. Used by St George Nth with permission.