Tag Archives: hymnals

Commandments Concerning Hymnals

When the time shall come upon thee that thou art ready to prepare the hearts of the people for the sermon then shalt thou stand before the congregation and shall instruct them to take up their hymnal and either sing or make a “joyful noise” — for that is a a joke that shall never grow old (never grow old). And the people shall stand and sing at the sound of thy command and they shall raise their hymnbooks from the little racks on the backs of the pews and then proceed to not look at them at all for they know all the words already. And they shall lift of their voices to sing on the one and four for in such doth the Lord delight.

And from the Majesty Hymnal and the Soul-Stirring Songs and Hymns and the Songs & Hymns of Revival thou shalt surely sing. For the songs therein may contain the occasional Gaither number but they have long since been cleaned up and added to the canon of songs in which the Lord delights (as long as thou shalt accompany them only by piano). And if thou art in any wise uncertain as to whether or not any other hymnal is up to snuff then simply check the words to At the Cross and if they have conspired to remove the word “worm” from the first verse then chuck it. But of the responsive readings in the back of the hymnal we give no commandment because we’re not even sure why they’re there.

And thou shalt in no wise conspire to to use a video projector to replace the hymn book for this is a great and terrible step towards wanton use of hands in worship. For in the day that thou shalt let any person have their hands unencumbered by a hymnal then shalt come terrible temptation to clap them together or raise them above shoulder level or wave them in the air like they just don’t care. For such displays are an abomination in the sight of the pastor who shall then begin to suspect that people are enjoying the music more than the sermon which follows.

But of the holding of the hymnal the following rules apply. It shall in no wise be the case with the unmarried couples that they both touch the hymnal for the man should with great care hold the hymnal for both parties and he shall hold it at an awkward angle where neither of them can see to avoid all appearance of evil and flirty fingers. Married couples may hold the hymnal together with one hand on each side as long as they promise to keep their minds on the singing and not engage in finger hanky-panky either.

So shalt thou dwell in the church with gladness and so shalt thy children and thy children’s children learn the music that was only written in the last century or so but is better than everything that has ever come before it or shall ever be written afterward. And thou shalt keep them on the straight and narrow and rhythmless path forever.

Independent Baptist Book of Everlasting Rules and Requirements p 664.