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Some hymns simply have an extra sprinkling of divine magic. The first notes thrill from the organ, and we are home. There’s little wonder that we refer to the majestic sound of choirs of angels: Surely the kingdom of God is full of the sound of singing.
Author Richard H. Schmidt offers a homecoming of sorts in his newest book, Sing to the Lord an Old Song. His meditations on forty classic hymns remind us of a shared faith—by generations before and with generations to come. Though the words and tunes may be entrenched in memory, Schmidt sheds new light on these hymns, inviting us to think about the texts through various lenses of scripture, faith, and personal experience. His reflections are painstakingly honest about how and when he has come up short as a follower of Christ—as well as how each time, he finds notes of forgiveness, love, and hope in these familiar songs.
Saint Augustine explained the power of song in his oft-quoted adage that those who sing pray twice.
Come, sing and pray of amazing grace. Amen. Alleluia!
Dick Schmidt’s thoughtful, vulnerable and insightful meditations on classic hymns open doors to the kind of inspiration that moved the original writers. Because the hymns are so familiar, the music is never far from one’s mind as Schmidt leads us along paths of discovery and, ultimately, a trusting peace. His prayers at the conclusion of each meditation are the kind that come only from wise reflection on vibrant life and vigorous faith. —The Rev. Dr. Francis H. Wade, author of The Art of Being Together, Transforming Scripture, and Biblical Fracking: Midrash for the Modern Christian
Dick Schmidt speaks from both head and heart in his book of meditations on familiar hymns. His treatment of these old texts and tunes offers plenty of "ah-hah" moments for the reader. -Wayne Smith, 10th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri
It’s rare to read a book and be humming at the same time, but that’s what happens when sitting down each morning with Richard Schmidt’s Sing to the Lord an Old Song. I’m enjoying old friends—hymns that I’ve loved and sung all my life—and am also gaining new historical and theological insights. While addressing themes of mortality, joy, faith and love, Schmidt does an admirable job of weaving personal anecdotes through the book. If there's a library in heaven, I am sure the faithful souls who wrote these hymns are well pleased with the author's work. —The Rev. Lindsay Hardin Freeman, Author of Bible Women
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