The Grace of Meters in Hymns

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 2:21 PM 0 comments




Well, I love hymns. I love these God-glorifying, Christ-centered, Spirit-filled, Bible-saturated hymns. I love how they are packed with valuable doctrinal truths expressed in rhymes and poetry. I love how they are designed for congregational worship. I love how they transcend from generations to generations but remain fresh in their message.

And another admirable attribute of hymns is that they are written with a structured metric system. This means that a hymn can be sung even when the tune is unfamiliar as long as the hymn is of the same meter with a familiar tune.

When I was still unaware of this structure, I slightly deject when I browse a hymnal and glance at the great words of hymns like Richard Baxter's "Lord, It Belongs Not to My Care" or the Calvinist-appealing "I Sought the Lord" simply because I cannot sing them due to my ignorance of their tune. Such a grace from God that hymns have meters and that I was instructed of such metric system.

We can take as an example a grandly Theocentric hymn "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise." Although I do not really know its original tune, the hymnal says it is of meter 11 11.11 11 which is the same meter for the Christmas hymn "Away in a Manger." We can therefore take the words of the former hymn and sing it to the tune of the latter one. And here it goes...


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