Then Sings My Soul is a wonderful collection of hymns and the stories behind them. So many times, we sing the words without understanding their inspiration. For example, one of my favorite hymns is “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee”, and I was surprised to find out that it was inspired by the Berkshires, a beautiful mountain range a few hours away in Western Massachusetts.
Some stories are inspiring, such as how “I Surrender All” came to be written by a man wrestling whether to remain as a teacher or go into the ministry. Other stories are of historical interest, such as the author of “Rock of Ages” called John Wesley “guilty of satanic shamelessness”.
One nice feature is that the music and all of the verses are included for each hymn. Many times, the later verses are left out of our hymn books, yet at times these are the most inspirational of all. For example, “O Holy Night” includes a verse about the elimination of slavery, yet it is seldom heard today. Curiously, this book does not include the second and third verses of this hymn, and only has part of the first verse.
I wish that the author had included some modern songs. Only two songs in the book were written in the last 50 years, and I would love to know the history behind some of the praise songs we sing today.
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