Our past two Easter offerings went toward purchasing new hymnals. As the interns were rolling stacks of books into my office, I said, “Forget it! Let’s switch to e-hymnals or words on the screen!”
While the hymnal might be heavy and expensive, I still like the printed physical book for congregational singing.
The hymnal taught me to read music. This is a personal preference, but I learned to read the bass line from my sister who pointed at the note and sang
it in her octave. It clicked! From then on, I could start to figure out the harmonies and the notes on my own.
The score helps people learn new songs. When they have music, they can read rhythms and pitches. Even if they aren’t proficient musicians, most people at least took a few piano lessons or a music theory class in their school days. The MAIN reason we still use a hymnal is for the music score.
It’s a nice collection of church doctrine. With all the songs we sing in one place, it’s nice for all people to see at a glance what we believe. A hymnal is a tangible reminder of a lot of doctrinal truth. When I go to new churches, I page through their songbook to see what their church is like.
The kids can thumb through them. Let’s be honest… this IS a nice feature of hymnals sometimes.