My brother sent me a CD made by an acquaintance of his that was a collection of old-time music, mostly old hymns. Not that I listened to many hymns, and these were not in any hymnal I used. But, they were a big part of the contemporary culture of the mid-1950’s to -60’s. Listening to the CD I had no idea I knew the words to so many songs I haven’t heard if 50 years!
The CD selections were tunes I had heard on the radio and TV, right along with You Ain’t Nothing But A Hound Dog, and Rock Around the Clock. Some of the same pop groups who were in the top 40 often sang hymns, too. (I don’t think this happens so much today.)
I have enjoyed playing this new collection of old music for several mornings now, sipping coffee and thinking about how fortunate I was to have been exposed to music and lyrics that magnified hope, and purpose, and faith. I didn’t realize how deeply they were impressed on my mind, until I found I could sing along! Maybe you’ll remember a few of the songs?
I Saw the Light, He, I Believe, and The Lighthouse?
Of course, the CD also had God Bless the USA, and The Wabash Cannonball, rounding out its emotional wallop with patriotism and nostalgia.
I took for granted the mid- century messages of faith in God, patriotism, and the goodness of America’s heritage – it was just part of the landscape of my life. But then things changed – and the very inventions that made it so easy to hear and see a mix of religious music, rock and roll and Broadway, also made it easy to see assassinations, war, bigotry and civil unrest, making me wonder, What in the world is going on, here?
Few seemed to have answers. On April 8, 1966, Time Magazine asked if God were dead, and after that we didn’t hear those innocent declarations of faith along with the top 40.
Fortunately, rumors of God’s death have been greatly exaggerated. (Eric Metaxas)
It’s funny to see afresh the ways in which God showed Himself, whether in pop culture, a magazine cover, the wonders of space, or through His word. It is aching to see what we have done wrong in His name – or what others do, despising it.
Listening to so many old tunes, songs written in as crazy and dangerous times as today is, I heard again a suggestion for a good use of time and talent, no matter the hour: gratitude. Being thankful
- to the God of my understanding, Christ, for His mercies new each morning; and for growing up in a time in history when honoring Him in music outside of a church wasn’t weird.
- for the dreams of a bunch of patriots in every generation who risked everything so their children enjoyed both life and liberty.
- for people who can sing and play the guitar.
- for a home in which I can safely relax in the morning
- for family.
- for just being alive and having a chance to make better use of my time today than I did yesterday.
It was good to hear some oldies – and it was even better to hurry on down to the You tube branch of my memories’ lane: another little blessing. Here some links to tunes and artists you may remember – I sure do!