From Semicolon, a call for favorite hymns:
Hymn (according to Webster): a song of praise to God
a metrical composition adapted for singing in a religious service.
For the purposes of this poll, I’m limiting the choices to Christian hymns, but the form of the song doesn’t matter. In other words, the songs on your list should be suitable for congregational singing and should be Christian. Handel’s Messiah is Christian but probably not suitable for congregational hymn singing.
Anything you sing in worship service, even what are normally called choruses or gospel songs or spirituals or CCM, is fine. (Oh, English, please, or at least translated into English. Sorry, but it’s all I really speak.)
I can think of a number of things, actually, which call themselves hymns but aren’t suitable for congregational singing, but let’s not start down that via dolorosa.
The problem I have with ranking my own favorite hymns is that I can’t rank them in preferential order. Either I love a hymn so much that I want it sung every Sunday until I die and then at my funeral, or I don’t. Period.
My criteria for hymnodic goodness are singability (as satisfying to sing while washing the dishes or putting the children to bed as with organ, brass, and eight-part choir), poetic language (to update or inclusivize it is to un-write it), and catechetical soundness. Hymnody ought, I think, to suggest to the faithful some uniquely compelling reason or other for being in church on Sunday morning and not someplace else. Some weeks back, when I found myself singing a hymn in which the voice of Jesus is made to ask, “Do you love the ‘you’ inside,” I think I might have shut the hymnal, sat down, and waited for help to arrive, except that I sing in the choir, and there are six of us, and we were the only people singing.
Here are my personal top ten hymns:
via The Common Room