I am now going to share with you one of my strongest experiences, and a testimony to the power of hymns in my own life. This is not the only time I felt the miracle powers of hymns, but is defiantly one of the most inspiring and most powerful ones that I have experienced. This happened in Honolulu, Hawaii in June 2005, after months of struggling with emphysema, pneumonia and at this time still unknown to me sepsis, this Sunday was especially struggling and I was only able to take a few steps and speak no more than two-three words before gasping for air, still I felt a strong urge to partake of in church, including the hymns.
As I started to sing "Abide With Me" I felt like a power filled me and I was able to sing fully and with more strength than I could even have imagined, as the verses were sung I felt more empowered and a total feeling of well being replaced the struggle of breath. The beauty of the song bared with me and I felt so filled with joy.
I finished the song to the end, and the guy next to me turned over and whispered, that was truly divine, I have never heard anyone sing like that before, his eyes filled with tears as he gave me a hug, not only was the singing of the hymn helping me but it touched those around me. And I was able to talk and felt unencumbered for the next few hours of church, though everything felt easier even when in struggle, the next week I underwent treatment at the hospital and within days I felt a lot better.
"Abide With Me" was actually written and first set to music by Henry Francis Lyte while he lay dying from tuberculosis; he survived only a further three weeks after its completion in 1847. I believe he was there with me giving me the strength to sing his hymn to the fullest.
The second experience I am sharing with you happened a few years later, my grandmother at the age of 94, was on her death bed and my family were there gathered around her singing hymns, as we sang we all could feel it lift her spirit. The song of the hymn helped her drift peacefully over and as she did she filled us with the glory of her joy of again seeing us all clearly and hear us with absolute clarity again for the first time in decades.
With this I know there are true power in hymns, the power to bring peace at heart, the power to bring healing to the sick and needy, and the power to let the holy spirit dwell in our heart, to let us know the joy that God feel when we cherish the gospel by song.