Thursday, November 11, 2010

Book Review: Then Sings My Soul

I love music.  I love hymns.  One of my favorite possessions is a devotional, based on hymns, that my father gave to his mother for Christmas in 1961.  That one is God's Song in My Heart by Ruth Youngdahl Nelson.  However, it is in fairly rough shape, and I worry about it too much to actually use it as a devotional.

I was incredibly excited to get the chance to review Then Sings My Soul by Robert Morgan.  This book is also of a devotional nature, with 150 hymns and stories that go with them, including Patriotic hymns (5), Thanksgiving hymns (9), Christmas hymns (lots!), Easter hymns (a couple dozen), and other hymns (lots and lots!).

I'm reading a hymn story every day, starting with the "other" category... though I read the first patriotic entry today for Veteran's Day.  Next week, I plan to start reading Thanksgiving hymns, and then I'll be switching to Christmas ones.  I will NOT get through all the Christmas hymns in the book between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but if I extend it out through Epiphany, I just might.

Anyway -- the hymns are arranged chronologically in each section based on when the words were written.  So the first "other" hymn comes from the 14th century BC -- Numbers 6:24-26. 

In honor of Veteran's Day, though, I'm going to talk about what I love about this book using the entry I read today:  The Star Spangled Banner.

So first off, I have read/studied this song a number of times, so I didn't really expect anything new.  Each song is presented on a two-page spread, with the music printed on the left page, and a story on the right.  This song, of course, is dated 1814.  The story starts by talking about a deadly September attack on America, the casualties, the heroes.  One of those heroes being an attorney named Francis.

The story goes on to quote a verse from another of Francis Scott Key's hymns (new to me), then tell a bit more about how Key ended up where he did and how he penned the words of our national anthem.  He then quotes the last verse, asking if you have ever sung it (YES!):

Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must when our cause it is just.
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Great book.  I highly recommend it. 

Disclaimer:  As Booksneeze Blogger, I did receive this book for free from Thomas Nelson.  No other compensation was received.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.

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