Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Honoring the Wesleys

A little late, I want to highlight a blog posting two weeks ago honoring John and Charles Wesley, at the hymn blog Conjubilant with Song. (The Ohio Anglican has a separate posting that focuses more on their theology.)

While John Wesley is the founder of Methodism, it is his brother Charles, the prolific composer of hymn texts, that I have previously highlighted in this blog.

The Conjubilant posting particularly resonated with me because it highlighted one of my favorite Wesley hymns, and the one that has the most emotional significance for me: “Love divine, all loves excelling,” which is Hymn 479 in my favorite hymnal.

Yes, Roland Prichard’s Hyfrydol is a stirring example of a 19th century hymn tune, and it’s also one where I’ve memorized the harmony so I don’t have to sight-read it (which would be not a pretty sight). But it’s more than that.

This was the hymn that I chose as the communion hymn for our wedding. (The division of labor for our brief engagement was that I planned the service and she planned the reception — each with the other’s approval.)

When the hymn began, and we were standing at the altar waiting for communion, I pulled a photocopy of Hymn 479 out of my coat pocket so I could sing every verse of Wesley’s words. I had not told her of my plans, but my bride of a few minutes also felt the same way. Every time I hear the hymn it takes me back to that day and that moment.

1 comment:

C.W.S. said...

Thanks for the link.

Though there are probably many things we wouldn't agree about, we do share the same favorite hymnal. And this is one of the finest hymns in the repertory.