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hymns vs choruses explained
Topic Started: Feb 11 2008, 02:56 PM (1,380 Views)
HelenaZF
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"more is more"

Hymns vs. Choruses

An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city
church. He came home, and his wife asked him how it was.

"Well," said the farmer, "It was good. They did something different,
however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns."

"Praise choruses," said his wife, "What are those?"

"Oh, they're okay. They're sort of like hymns, only different," said the
farmer.

"Well, what's the difference?" asked the wife.

The farmer said, "Well, it's like this. If I were to say to you,
'Martha, the cows are in the corn,' well that would be a hymn.

"If on the other hand I was to say to you, 'Martha, Martha, Martha, Oh, Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA, the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows, the white cows, the black and white cows, the COWS, COWS, COWS are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, the CORN, CORN, CORN.'

"......Then, if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well that would be a praise chorus."

Coincidentally, the same week a young businessman from the city who normally attended a church with contemporary-style worship was in the old farmer's town on business and visited the farmer's small church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.

"Well," said the young man, "It was good. They did something different, however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs."

"Hymns," said his wife, "What are those?"

"Oh, they're okay. They're sort of like regular songs, only different," said the young man.

"What's the difference?" asked his wife.

The young man said, "Well, it's like this - if I were to say to you,

'Martha, the cows are in the corn,' that would be a regular song.

If, on the other hand, I were to say to you:

'Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry,
Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth.
Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by
To the righteous, inimitable, glorious truth.

'For the way of the animals, who can explain?
There in their heads is no shadow of sense,
Hearkenest they in God's sun or his rain
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.

'Yea, those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight,
Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed.
Then, goaded by minions of darkness and night,
They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn have chewed.

'So look to that bright shining day by and by,
Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn.
Where no vicious animal makes my soul cry,
And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn.
'

Then, if I were to do only verses one, three and four, and do a key change on the last verse, well, that would be a hymn."





A satirical look at the hymn vs. chorus controversy, but really points up the place of both. We need hymns because we need to contemplate the deep things of the Spirit, the theology of our faith and the mysteries of God. We need choruses because we need to transcend intellectual concepts that distract us from entering the presence of God as we repeat simple truths and declarations...they both have their place.

More important even than that is to examine the words we are singing. Is the new fun chorus (or old, traditional hymn) making sweeping statements that we are not really prepared to follow up on in our lives? ("I surrender all"...really? Is that even possible all at once? Or is it more like "I surrender some now, maybe a bit more later?") Do we really mean what we are singing? Also, is there meaning in what we are singing. Is it more than a string of words that sound good, but can't be defined as "worship?" Or worse, something that masquerades as worship, but is really just emotionalism that is non-scriptural? Both hymns AND choruses need to be examined in under the light of Scripture to see if they "sing" true.
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