Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

A few favorite hymns (and parts of hymns)

Here's a meditation on worship music for your Western Sabbath. Sometimes when I play the piano at church, I get to thinking about my favorite hymns, and my favorite parts of my favorite hymns.

Joseph Smith's First Prayer. I think this hymn is a gem and if you disagree, you are SOULLESS. Some of our quirky hymns get tired with repeat singings, but not this one. It is always fresh and meaningful to me. My favorite part is if you put a little pause in after the "Joseph" in the first line of the last verse, then run through until after "Hear him," then put in another slight pause. Perfection.

Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise. I heard this for the umpteenth time, but for the first real time, at the YW meeting of general conference in 2005. I have never forgotten it. My favorite part is that this song is a prime example of when tempo can make or a break a song. If you sing this song with gusto and speed, it is glorious. (See also: On This Day of Joy and Gladness.)

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty. You are not allowed to grow up in Craig Walker's house without loving (or learning to love) this song. So, I do. My favorite thing about it is the truly beautiful lyrics.

Lord, Dismiss Us With Thy Blessing. It took me years to un-hear "Go Tell Aunt Rosie," but once I did, I fell in love with this song. I think a certain MoTab arrangement helped. My favorite part is the "Oh refresh us" refrain.

O God, the Eternal Father. I might have to write a separate post just about sacrament hymns, because there is so much to love. This one has my all-time favorite moment, though: "To walk upon his footstool/And be like man, almost-". The comma before almost is exquisite, and that line is possibly my favorite stretches of music in the entire hymnbook.

I don't remember who put me onto this, but another favorite sacrament hymn is if you take the words of Thy Will, O Lord, Be Done and sing them to the tune of In Memory of the Crucified. They fit together perfectly and the new tune sets off the "thy will, O Lord, be done"s better.

O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown. AKA the most difficult hymn to play in the entire hymnbook. Maybe that's why I love it! Also, because I feel a little bit Catholic when I sing it.

Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy, but with the purer version of its melody from Should You Feel Inclined to Censure. The Lower Lights got me hooked on this song and every time I play it at church, I get a little lost in it.

O Home Beloved. I'm sad this song is stuck in the men's section, because it has such a touching melody and message that have held great meaning for me over the years. Bonus: 10 years ago or so, Russell M. Nelson wrote different, more spiritual lyrics for the tune. If they ever put together a new version of the hymnbook, I hope they include his version of the song, meant to be sung by the entire congregation.

Well, those aren't all my favorites, but they are some of them. I'll have to do a sacrament hymn edition sometime.

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