I hold my first hymnal with my name on it. An older couple gave this wonderful gift to me a lifetime ago. I was the music director of Holy Trinity UMC, a magnificent church in the Northshore are on the east side of Houston, Tx. One Christmas, I received this hymnal as a gift. It was all new and shiny and had never been used. I did not have the words to express my appreciation for what lay behind the careful thought of giving me a present that I continue to use for many years. Every time I open the pages of my gift, I smile as I remember the kindness offered to me with such a simple gesture of appreciation.
I think this hymnal is a lot like me now. It doesn’t look as pretty or as shiny as it once did, but it still has all of the beautiful hymns, creeds, worship services, and confessions and pardons of the faith. My red book and I traveled many roads together, and through the years, our lives changed. The one thing that remains the same is that both of us still carry the word of God within us, inviting anyone to look beyond the damage covers to explore the beauty of sacred texts longing to be read and heard.
I think of both the hymnal and myself remembering that through any storms that may occur, there is one thing that never changes; the incredible word of the Most-High God. Take your hymnals and sing to God with every ounce of breath that you have. Sing as if no one hears you, and make a joyful noise. It sets the spirit free to come alive once more and share the Gospel to all the world. Sing, no matter what your cover may look like. You are a child of God. Remember that nugget of truth.