From the song of Moses on the shore of the Red Sea, to the hymn at the close of our Lord’s first communion, the singing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs is an essential part of worship for God’s people. In the wisdom of the Glorious Creator, God created man in his image, which included a voice – a uniquely human instrument capable of producing melody.
And so, our Lord delights in worship with the voice of praise. From the psalms composed by David on the grassy hillsides of Bethlehem, to the thunderous chorus of “Holy! Holy! Holy!” offered by the seraphim in the throne room of heaven, expressions of singing in worship are evident. And notably, Zephaniah declared the Lord rejoices in singing Himself:
“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17).
Truly, God’s people rejoice in songs of praise through the ages. By singing Psalms in the early church, in quiet whispers of praise in dens and caves of the earth during persecution, singing praises to our Lord endures. In recent centuries, times of revival and despair alike have sown seeds of creativity, and hymns of praise blossomed and bloomed. As such, visionary men like Elder Lee Hanks, saw fit to collect hymns, true to God’s word in sentiment, and place them in hymnbook form to use in worship.
To commemorate the 100th year of the Old School Hymnal, with hearts set on the glory of God, and enveloped by our rich history of worship in song, we the members of the newly restructured, non-profit Old School Hymnal Foundation Board, humbly present to you the Centennial Edition. In 1920, the founding members of the 1st edition presented a compilation of beloved hymns. In updating the hymnal, we prayerfully labored to honor their focus, endeavoring to maintain treasured, long-standing hymns, while also offering new compositions. We believe the Lord blessed us to remain true to scripture and honor Him with the words and melodies selected. In following the footsteps of our forefathers in hymnody, we echo the words of Elders Monsees and Pittman, in the preface to the 3rd edition, as we tried to include “the best old songs, and some of the new good ones...” In recent years, the Holy Spirit has blessed the creation of new hymns, born from the souls of redeemed children of God, moved and affected by the influence of grace. In honoring the spirit of past editions, and striving to obey the unction of the Holy Spirit, we are united in the desire to share some new songs.
Having begun in the fall of 2019, and concluded in the midst of uncertain times, we believe a Providential blessing is in the timing of this effort. As unprecedented upheaval and abject fear prevails, we are compelled to present a point of light to push back against the darkness. While angry, dispirited voices reach a fever pitch, as the vitriolic squawk of malicious accusations command our attention, amidst the din of hard speeches and great swelling words, our prayer is that a different sound rises above the fray. In Christian homes, among congregations of Spirit-led worship, and from hearts of weary sinners, may songs of praise and voices of worship rise to adorn and adore the worthy name of Jesus. Accepting full responsibility for omissions, oversights and mistakes, and pleading for the mercy and blessing of God, we give to you this Centennial Edition, trusting the voice of praise will lift up to glorify our resurrected, reigning and returning Savior.