Pass Me Not

 
Do you have a favorite hymn?  I grew up singing hymns in church.  Do you know what I remember about many of them?  They were set to music that was strangely timed and high on the scale.  We either sang from the rooftop or in the basement!

In retrospect, many of the hymns were written from a second person point of view.  In short, lyrics often spoke of some attribute of the Lord’s character, His nature and His goodness.  Many of them were experiential in content, eliciting emotional responses.  We mostly sang  ABOUT the Lord.  In my opinion, the Southern Gospel genre of music closely follows the pattern and emotionally driven impact of the hymns.

Such was and is the case of the famed hymn, “Pass Me Not” by Fanny J. Crosby.  When I came to Christ in 1970, this was the hymn of invitation that accompanied the altar call.  I cried and cried as the words of that song pierced my heart and readied me to accept the Lord:

“Pass me not O Gentle Savior.

Hear my humble cry.

While on others thou art calling,

Do not pass me by.

Savior, Savior, hear my humble cry.

While on others thou art calling, do not pass me by.”

This hymn, coupled with a sermon on the Rapture, elicited a strong emotional response inside me that catapulted me to an altar, where in my heart I asked the Lord to not overlook me.  The convicting power of the Spirit was strong and hit its mark.  When I fell on my knees, I cried profusely without noticing those around me.  Mine was a very emotional conversion.  Not only was I saved that night, but I was also called to preach.

To this day, I am openly moved to tears when I hear the hymn, “Pass Me Not.”  I personally believe that many of us prefer the music that accompanied the era of our salvation.  For me, it was hymns, certain choruses, select Southern Gospel artists, the Gaither’s, Dallas Holm, the Imperials, Evie Tourquist, Sandi Patty, etc.  It seems I worship freely and uninhibitedly when their music plays! 

While most of the hymns sang ABOUT the Lord, a lot of contemporary music sings directly TO the Lord.  And this is fine, too.  I refuse to draw battle lines.  Both genres are valid and both deserve respect across generational timetables.

What touched my heart at a given time in a given place and for a given purpose may or may not ring effective for you.  However, let’s put aside our preferences long enough to realize that the Holy Spirit knows how to capture our hearts! 

Whether it’s “Pass Me Not” or a contemporary guitar-driven song, let’s invite His presence into our times of worship and magnify Him for WHO He is – He’s wonderful! 

  

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