My parents come from a generation where you didn’t throw anything away because one day it might come in useful. It is why they have an attic which some would consider a treasure trove, I consider it a dust filled, spider inhabited, sweat box. But it was whilst searching for some thing amongst those dust covered boxes that I discovered they had kept all my secondary school exercise books, not sure why they thought they might be of use some day but there they were. And in the midst of these old exercise books, some of which were quite amusing to read, I discovered an old hymn book from my junior school which back then we would sing from in the daily assembly. I don’t know how I ended up with it as it is technically the property of that school and so whilst I repent of my sins for I presume not returning it at the end of my time there I doubt they would want it back some 35+ years later.
But I tell you what, flicking through this small and extremely battered hymn book brought back some amazing memories especially when I came across hymn 30 which was “Morning Has Broken”. If you have ever had one of those songs which you can’t get out of your head, well for days afterwards I couldn’t get out of my head “Morning has Broken”, not that I am complaining as it is a beautiful hymn.
The thing is that this little hymn book contains over 700 hymns and I am confident in saying that back, when I was at the junior school, we probably only sang maybe 10 of them, with the exception of a few Christmas Carols which are also in there. But as I flicked through and read some of these old hymns, many of which I have never even heard sung before, I found myself captivated by the words. It is again one of those things that the older I have got the more I pay attention to the words I read, the lyrics of a song or the lines of The Lord’s Prayer, appreciating them rather than just saying them.
And there was one hymn in particular which grabbed my attention called “God My Father, Loving Me” by G. W. Briggs, 1875-1959. It is such a beautiful yet simple hymn which takes you on a 4 verse journey. It starts by thanking and praising God – “Gave his Son, my friend to be”, it tells what Jesus wants to do – “Still he seeks my steps to guide”, it asks the question – “What have I, a child, to bring”, and answers it with – “Let me to thy glory live”. As I read those lyrics I couldn’t help but love how simply and clearly it was put and how even now those lyrics deliver the same clear message.
I could go on because I am genuinely captivated with the beauty of the way this hymn is constructed and written but I will let you judge and think about the words for yourself.