The Soul-Stirring Harmony of the Church's Hymns
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The time arrived for me to give my name for baptism, so we left the country and moved back to Milan. Alypius had decided to join me in being reborn in you, O Lord, and was already clothed with the humility that befitted your mysteries. We associated the boy Adeodatus with us as well, my son according to the flesh, born of my sin. He was then about fifteen, but we included him in the group as our contemporary in the life of your grace, to be instructed along with us in your doctrine.
And so we were baptized, and all our dread about our earlier lives dropped away from us. During the days that followed I could not get enough of the wonderful sweetness that filled me as I meditated upon your deep design for the salvation of the human race. How copiously I wept at your hymn and canticles, how intensely I was moved by the lovely harmonies of your singing Church! Those voices flooded my ears, and the truth ws distilled into my heart until it overflowed in loving devotion; my tears ran down, and I was the better for them.
Not long before, the faithful of the church in Milan had begun to find mutual comfort and encouragement in the liturgy through the practice of singing hymns, in which everyone fervently joined with voice and heart. It was about a year earlier, or not much more, that Justina, mother of the boy-emperor Valentinian, had been persecuting your faithful servant Ambrose, in the interests of the Arian heresy by which she had been led astray. His God-fearing congregation, prepared to die with their bishop, stayed up all night in the church. Your maidservant, my mother, was among them, foremost in giving support and keeping vigil and constant in her life of prayer. As for us, we were still cold, not yet warmed by the fire of your Spirit; yet we too were shaken as alarm and agitation shook the city.
It was then that the practice was established of singing hymns and psalms in the manner customary in regions of the East, to prevent the people losing heart and fainting from weariness. It has persisted from that time until the present, and in other parts of the world also, many of your churches imitate the practice: indeed, nearly all of them.
Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
Lord Jesus Christ,
you have promised that your joy would be in us
so that our joy might be full:
grant that, living close to you,
we may learn to rejoice and sing your praises,
giving thanks in all things
for your loving mercy's sake.
Pray with us today's prayer request:
We prayed for the Gafcon Primates Meeting this month, some meeting in person in Nairobi, and others over Zoom. We prayed for good fellowship, prayer, discussion, and for good outcomes for the proclamation of the gospel. Thank God for answering these prayers and continue to pray for His help taking things forward.
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