There’s nothing better to put baby Zechariah to sleep than our light blue, antique rocking chair that sits in our living room. At times though, the rocking is not enough. That’s when I break into song. I’m not a singer, but I love music. My wife Candace has read many articles that encourage parents to sing to their babies. Therefore, I try my best and sing hymns to baby Z.
It came quite naturally one night, as I started in on a rendition of Charles Wesley’s “O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing”. It’s such a beautiful hymn tune with powerful lyrics.
Singing this song for baby Z immediately took me back to the moment in 2011 when I was sitting in the New Room Chapel in Bristol, England. I was on the Wesley Pilgrimage studying the roots of our Methodist tradition. We were sitting in the New Room pews, the first chapel the Wesley brothers created, and the home of Rev. Charles Wesley.
We had some downtime in the New Room and out of no where someone began singing those famous Charles Wesley lyrics “O For a Thousand Tongues to sing, my great redeemers praise…..” Everyone just jumped in and it was a great Methodist hymn sing in the home of Charles himself. It was a powerful, Spirit filled moment.
Ancient hymns have the power to move the worshiper deep in the soul and connect us with the saints of the past. As I have studied the Wesley brothers, I learned that they knew the power music had in worship. Charles wrote thousands of hymns and poems with powerful lyrics. I pray that we won’t abandon the hymns where we sing our faith today for contemporary praise songs. The faith is meant to be sung and we can still learn and proclaim our belief through music.
As I sing to baby Z, I pray that he will grow to appreciate the hymns of John and Charles Wesley. I pray that he will find the lyrics powerful and the tunes beautiful. For now at least, the hymns help calm him down and often put him to sleep. That’s not a bad way to sleep with dad doing his best to sing Charles Wesley’s hymns, even if they’re out of tune. At least dad is attempting to sing:
“My gracious Master and my God assist me to proclaim, to spread through all the earth abroad the honors of thy name” (Verse 2 of O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing).
May my God assist me to proclaim the honors of thy name to baby Z. Amen.
Rev. Charles Wesley’s Hymns can be found on this link: