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Playlist for Church

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder...

In view of this being the 10th anniversary of Playlist for Life, wouldn't it be great if there was a Playlist for the Church? Well, in Hymns We Love, Pippa and Steve Cramer have provided the very thing. My heart soared when I noticed the first hymn is none other than How great thou art. This has a special resonance because, during my service as Assistant Minister in Portree, at the very start of my ministry, I was singing this hymn with others during a midweek meeting, when a couple from Germany walked in. They listened quietly and then joined us.

Later they explained how they were visiting Skye in the wake of their son's tragic death on a walk north of Portree, when he fell off a cliff in misty weather. He had been on holiday, while studying in the UK. During his time here, he became a Christian and he wrote to his parents about his new faith and mentioned that How great thou art was his favourite hymn. Imagine how comforting it was for his parents to hear that very hymn during such a poignant visit!

The hymn itself was composed by a Swede called Carl Boberg in 1885 and it celebrates both the wonders of God's creation and the glories of Christ's redemption. Boberg started out as a sailor and so he would have been used to peering into the night sky and weathering the vagaries of maritime conditions. He attended a Bible school, which inspired him to compose many hymns and poems, and he was elected to the Swedish parliament. This hymn is his enduring legacy: all that learning and experience distilled into a simple yet profound paean of praise.



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