That One Hymn

Sometime in the summer of last year, a family had come to visit and later became members of the church, and one thing I noticed immediately was the mom’s voice. One must consider, I go to a very small church where the congregation just sings to worship, and really, we don’t even have enough people for a choir, so one day I decided to speak to the mom. Her and I talked about music since it was a common interest of ours. She had taken some music courses in college, and still remembered thing that she’d learned in choir, and after sometime, I began to wonder why her and I weren’t singing duets for church. It seemed that neither of us were really the kind to sing solos, so I took the thought to her and she agreed that it would be good idea since we didn’t really have anything for musical specials before the preaching except for whenever the small children’s choir sang.

I figured it would all be interesting to have a real duet singing for the church, and it worked really well; she was a mezzo, and I love singing alto, so we agreed to meet on Saturdays to sing on Sunday mornings. Though the memory is vague, I won’t forget that she usually asked me to pick the song that we could sing on Sunday, and sometimes I had ideas, and other times she did. I remember once we did It Is Well With My Soul, which is my favorite hymn to sing because the words are so meaningful, not to mention the story behind it, but I’m honestly a sucker for the alto line. The unison that really brings out the text, then descending semitones in some places; I just really love singing those, but surprisingly, that was not the hymn that truly moved me as another that we did.

I think it was in January we decided to sing Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus since I was a fan of the alto line (I honestly think that’s how I base my favorites for any hymn), and rehearsing it went fine. I never really gave a second thought to the words of the song, and paid too much attention to just the music, which I am often guilty of no matter what kind of song it is. I won’t forget, however, how we went forward to sing it, and the words of the song hit me like a train. It was crazy because we sang the song in Spanish (our services are in Spanish), as well as in English, and both somehow got my brain to click. The translation of the chorus in Spanish is similar, but a little different as it says, “Put your eyes to Jesus. He’s full with grace and love. The world has no value compared to God’s glorious light.” Also the song in general starts with a question in the English, “O soul, are you weary and troubled?” (or Spanish, “Oh soul tired and troubled”), as human it’s just something we all experience, it caused me to think that this song had a greater meaning than just a nice Alto line. It motivated me to remember that even if we spiritually get tired, that God will always have his glory, and light for us to look to. It’s even more incredible that after realizing the meaning of the words as I was singing, the song became of greater value, and that the notes in themselves had more meaning too.

There have been other times where I had sung, and was almost moved to tears, but this was a song I’d been singing since I was little growing up in church, and I really think it inspired me to continue doing what I can in music for God.