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 The Gift of Familiarity            


The familiar hymns of faith, for many, are those which we remember from our early years in worship.

For myself, the most familiar is #1 in most Hymn Books, “Holy, Holy, Holy”.  

The gift of familiarity allows us to sense the Holy Spirit within the music and the words.

This hymn permits me to drift off into that space of what I call ‘the holy’.  


This past Sunday, our recessional hymn was “How Great Thou Art”.   You sense the gift of a spiritual journey as the congregation enters the space of the familiar. As community, we hear the sense of our inner soul experiencing the greatness of our Lord.

This hymn was one of the favorites when leading worship in Corrections.  

With each changing season in the Christian calendar, we have these familiar hymns.

Soon, we will begin Lent. 

“Forty Days and Forty Nights” will fill our souls with the sense of walking with Jesus to Jerusalem. At the same time, we will end the Palm Sunday liturgy with, “Ride On, Ride On In Majesty”.            

Other seasonal favorites include: “The Day Thou Gavest, Lord”; “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”; “Silent Night”; “We Plough The Fields and Scatter”. (I resisted “Bringing in the Sheaves”.)  

There are many more; we all have our favorite tunes.  

Went entering a new parish as rector, one of the first tasks is to learn the hymnody of that parish. At the same time, is the possibility of introducing new hymns. Coming to St. John the Baptist here in Duncan, a new hymn for our family has been “Shalom Chaverim”.  

Perhaps hearing these words, your heart has been stirred to that familiar place of your Christian history—the same Christian history our ancestors enjoyed in their time and place.

It is the familiar that draws us to that place of the holy, and brings us closer to our Lord.            

One of the gifts of community is the gift of encouragement. We gather together, to witness building the common good.

One of the favorite campfire praise-tunes of my childhood years was “If I Had A Hammer”. The set words remind us of the obligation of our faith to proclaim justice, mercy, and peace.  

As we gather together in worship, week-by-week we engage in the music of our ancestors, bringing us to the familiar place of the Holy. It is the gift we have to transfer to the next generation.

Blessings, Archdeacon Brian+