Monday, May 01, 2006

"Songs of Praise" Top 10

"Songs of Praise" is the BBC flagship religious programme, and it has been running since 1961. On Sunday, the programme counted down the nation's favourite hymns/songs, as voted for by viewers of SoP. I thought I'd chip in my two penn'orth, since they didn't bother to interview me.

10. Shine Jesus Shine (Graham Kendrick)
Kendrick has written much better. But this is the one that everybody knows, and probably one of the few modern Christian songs that has become widely known amongst non-Christians, by virtue of weddings and school assemblies. Would not have been in my top 10.

9. In Christ alone (Stuart Townend)
This would certainly have been in my top 10 - probably pretty high. An outstanding modern hymn.

8. Guide me O Thou Great Redeemer
... with the Welsh tune "Cwm Rhondda", no doubt. Would probably be in my top 10 - there would have to be several good Welsh tunes there. The words do it no harm, either.

7. Make me a channel of your peace
Not in my top 10. Another favourite for weddings and schools. I'll probably get shot for this, but I think St. Francis is a bit drippy, really. But then, I'm not really into all this escaping from the world by taking holy orders, and I don't think he really took the Bible very seriously.

6. Be still for the presence of the Lord
Sigh. If you're going to pick modern songs, make them good ones, not just OK ones. This would not have been in my top 10.

5. Love divine
Definitely pick the Welsh tune (Blaenwern) over the original one. I wonder if people chose it for the words or just for the tune?

4. Be thou my vision
A bit of Celtish influence, and a reminder that profound Christian expression doesn't only come after the Reformation.

3. The day thou gavest
Very stirring song, but again, wouldn't be in my top 10.

2. Dear Lord and Father of mankind
The programme noted the fact that this poem was written because the writer didn't approve of hymn singing. Ironic. Quite a nice hymn, but I always had problems choosing it because of the blatant disregard of the author's intention.

1. How Great thou art
Hmm. I guess that this might appear on a list of my 100 favourite, but I don't think it would make the top 10.

So what ought to have been there? I'm surprised that "Amazing grace" wasn't there. Or "When I survey the Wondrous Cross". Or "My song is love unknown." What about "And can it be?" In my own list, I would have chosen "There is a day", "I'll praise my maker while I've breath" and "All I once held dear". Possibly "When the Lord in glory comes". Possibly "Immortal honours rest on Jesus' head". So there you go.

On the SoP website, they also have an interview with Rev. James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, on God's grace, which even makes reference to the U2 song of the same name.