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Friday, July 07, 2006  

Didn't Know You Had It? Hymns and Hymn Writers

Well, between working hard on new modules and simultaneously celebrating the 4th of July and the birth of my oldest son, this week seems to have gotten away from me. I had intended to blog about the Table Bar Chart, and I just haven't been able to pull that post together. In the meantime, here's another in our series of posts on modules that you may already have in your Accordance library, but which you may not be that aware of. This time, we'll focus on the Hymns and Hymn Writers modules, both of which are included in the Introductory Level of the Library CD-ROM.

The Hymns module is a general tool containing the lyrics to many of the best-known English hymns. It can be searched by Hymn Titles, Contents, Scripture, or Author. I used this module all the time when I was pressed into service as a worship leader a few years ago. When planning the service, I would search for words related to the pastor's sermon topic, first in the Hymn Titles field, and then in the Contents field. I would scroll through the hits using the Mark buttons and find one or two hymns which seemed most appropriate.

Thankfully, the worship leading duties at my church have long since been passed to people who are much more musically gifted than myself. Yet occasionally, my wife and I are asked to sing a hymn as special music. At such times, I just locate the hymn, select all the lyrics, and choose "Print Selection..." from the File menu to get a nice little lyric crib sheet.

The Hymns module can also be extremely useful as a source of sermon illustrations or even of personal inspiration. Simply select a key word in the passage you're studying and then choose the Hymns module from the Resource palette to find every hymn which contains that word. More often than not, you'll find a bit of verse which concisely expresses the idea you're trying to get across, or which helps to focus your thoughts on that subject.

The Hymn Writers module is an English tool which works hand in hand with the Hymns module. If you stumble across a hymn by an author you don't know, simply select that author's name and amplify to Hymn Writers. The brief biographies provided there can help you understand the theological perspective or denominational background of a particular hymn's author. What's more, the lives of these hymn writers can often be as inspirational as the hymns themselves, and that biographical information can likewise be used to illustrate a sermon or other lesson.

If you own these resources and aren't taking advantage of them, be sure to give them another look.

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