by John Ellis
Ranking hymns was supposed to be easy. When the idea first came to me, I assumed that minimal effort would be required (both in thought and in execution), and that the end result would yield high reward (page clicks and discussion). While I have yet to discover if the second half of my assumption is correct, the first half has proven laughably wrong. There are several reasons for that: 1. There are a lot of excellent hymns out there. 2. Choosing what I believe are the best hymns of all time seems weighted with far more import than when I’m ranking the pop music released during the administration of President Ronald Reagan, for example. 3. Every single person I asked, listed different songs than those I was considering. 4. I don’t hold to as clearly defined and strict of a definition of “hymn” as hymnody nerds do. Strangely, the opinions of hymnody nerds actually matter to me. And, 5. My pastor (boss) reads what I write, and if I choose incorrectly, he will be sure to let me know. Probably over and over. In front of people. I am risking scorn by ranking the best hymns of all time.