Being a descendant from fervent Methodist Cornish miners (great grandfather conducted the first Methodist service in the Bendigo area), then cutting my teeth on the Methodist Hymnal and committing much of it to memory, I find it difficult to accept some of the amendments introduced first in the Australian Hymn Book and then ‘Together in Song’.
During my years as a Lay Preacher I often found it advisable to warn the congregation that the memorised version which I would be singing with no little vigour might not be quite the same as they were singing.
A few examples:
For me, ‘Guide me O thou great Jehovah….’ will always be just that. I like to think that since the whole hymn speaks of the experience and insights of God’s Old Testament people, the author deliberately referred to their God as they did- ‘Jehovah’
I flatly (or perhaps stubbornly) refuse to substitute ‘yours’ for ‘thine’ in the hymn ‘Thine be the Glory…’ The word ‘yours’- in my opinion destroys the poetry and majesty of that great hymn of praise.
Finally, I ask why on earth Isaac Watts’ beloved ‘When I survey the wondrous cross’ was mutilated by changing the last verse from ‘..that were an offering…’ to ‘…that were a present far too small’ I argue that ‘present’ suggests that I am enriching God by giving Him something which I believe to be of value. Rather, I am offering my life to God; whether that offering is of value or not is for Him to judge.
Launceston South UC