There are so many recordings, books, and other resources I’ve discovered while researching the traditional Christian hymns that inspire my artwork. Here are a few of my favorite sources of inspiration.
It’s an interesting lot—some old, some new, some highly visible, and some that haven’t yet received the notice they deserve.
Living Tree | 2004
Hymn aficionados, you have a friend in Arnold Wong. “My aim in this recording was to express on six strings what I feel in my heart and towards God,” Arnold says. “My hope is that this ‘solo offering’ will be a blessing to you and bestow glory and honor to Christ Jesus.”
Surely, Arnold has succeeded. His CD contains 14 classic hymns that are masterfully played and pure in their expression, emotion, and presentation. More than one brought a joyful, joyful tear to my eye.
Solo Hymns is beautifully packaged with a substantial accompanying booklet that contains lyrics, notes about the hymnwriters, and a biography of Arnold. This CD would make a very special gift. —DCW
Listen to clips | How to buy | Arnold Wong’s Web site
Sounds Like Sunday
Vern and Christina Neufeld
VCAN Publishing | 2004
I met Vern and Christian Neufeld by e-mail, when they wrote to tell me about their CD, Sounds Like Sunday.
The Neufelds have been singing and writing together for more than 10 years, and they have a heart for Christian hymns. “Hymns have always been an important part of our lives,” Vern tells me. “Since I have ministered to many seniors homes, this is even more the case. The songs the people in the homes remember, when all other memory fails them, is these majestic hymns of our faith. What a source of power and God’s grace.”
Love for their Savior—and hymns—shines through Vern and Christina’s music. They infuse the 12 classic hymns in Sounds Like Sunday with an old-fashioned sweetness that is at once contemporary and respectful of the traditional hymn melodies. Two of my favorites tracks are “I Sing The Mighty Power of God,” which took me right back to Vacation Bible School days, and “Holy, Holy, Holy,” which so lovingly sung just begs you to join in singing in worship. —DCW
Listen to clips and buy | The Neufelds’ Web site
Great Commission Publications, Inc.
(Orthodox Presbyterian Church/Presbyterian Church in America)
ISBN 0-934688-60-5 | 1990
When I start working on a new piece of art, this is the hymnal I go to first. It contains 741 hymns, including some more contemporary ones, and a host of other good resources like Psalter readings and Christian creeds.
Trinity Hymnal is available from the folks at Ligonier Ministries, who strongly believe in the worth of a hymn that engages your heart and your head. Amen!
If you don’t have a hymnal in your home—or if you’ve never experienced the joy of holding a real, live hymnal and singing your heart out—this is a good one to add to your library. —DCW
Buy from Ligonier Ministries
Be Thou My Vision
Vine Books | ISBN 0-89283-924-4 | 1995
Subtitled “Daily inspiration from the greatest hymns of all time,” Be Thou My Vision takes a practical, modern-day look at classic Christian hymns. But who wouldn't expect that from John Fischer, a guy with a gift for bringing to life the truths that many people thought were dusty and dead.
I experienced Fischer’s gift first-hand—way back in the Seventies—when I was in a high-school church choir that commissioned Fischer to write a teaching musical called The New Covenant. (If you listen very carefully to the soundtrack, you can almost nearly hear my voice.)
Fischer’s introduction to Be Thou My Vision includes insights into his musical heritage and makes the case for the treasures to be found in the old church hymnal. The rest of the book is formatted as a year-long, day-by-day hymn devotional. But believe me, it’s hard to stop at just one a day.
Be Thou My Vision is now out of print, so you’ll have to do some detective work to find it on the secondary market. Two of my old-reliable resources are Abebooks and eBay, where I got my pre-owned copy. (I still can’t figure out, though, why anyone would let this book go—can you tell from my orange Post-it notes in the photo?) —DCW
abebooks.com | eBay | John Fischer’s Web Site
The links to purchase these resources are provided for your convenience. I do not receive a commission from any of these resources if you make a purchase.
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