"Rendire Mi Corazon..."
In the most recent of his articles on hymns, Orson Card made a comment that rang true with me. He noted that a lot of the hymns that we tend to sing as “Priesthood” hymns are very martial. I’ve thought about this for a long time, and I’ve noticed that a lot of our hymns are very military. And that has always bugged me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a hymn with a good movin’ beat. I just don’t like the “Always marching forward, trampling the evil foe under our righteous feet” kinda texts.
As I look back on them, though, I can kinda see where a lot of them are comin’ from. I mean, many of them were written in the early days of the church. That was back when you either had mobs chasing you out of your city, or you had federal armies marching into you haven as an occupying, oppressive force bent on crushing your “rebellion”. The church had a lot of enemies growing up. And a lot of the songs of that day reflect that.
Even songs that might not have been written in that era certainly took root in our culture then.
“Hope of Israel, Rise in might, With the sword of truth and right…”
“Onward Christian soldiers, Marching as to war…”
Sometimes I just get a little tired of the “Us v Them” mentality that we so often wear like a chip on our shoulders.
Fortunately, many of our more contemporary hymns are much more introspective and full of testimony. “I Believe in Christ” is one of my favorites.
And we don’t have to be marching with swords, spears, or guns to sing a song with vigor. Every night in the MTC, the floor of our dormitory would gather to sing a hymn and say an evening prayer. Every Thursday it was “El dia de los nuevos”, when the new missionaries would come in. We would always sing a certain hymn, and we sang it with such power and enthusiasm that it has been permanently etched in my testimony to this day. I can still sing most of it in Spanish twenty years later. But it wasn’t one that is traditionally associated with an energetic rendering. It was “Secret Prayer”, aka “There is an Hour of Peace and Rest”.