Lessons from Hymns: Tune My Heart

Over the next few weeks, these newsletters will be going through a devotional series called
Lessons from Hymns. Hymns are a huge part of our faith background and have played a big
role in shaping the Western church. Each week, we will be discussing the words or themes
of a classic hymn.

One of my favorite hymns is Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing by Robert Robinson. It is full of rich theology and beautiful imagery. I especially like the first lines:

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace

As a musician, the metaphor of tuning an instrument really speaks to me. When my guitar is out of tune, it doesn’t sound too pretty. But when I take the time to adjust each string to just the right frequency, it can make beautiful music. This hymn is a prayer for God to do this in us, to take our out-of-tune, dysfunctional hearts and tune them to sing about God’s grace.

Being out of tune is about our posture towards the grace of God. Are you receptive, thankful, and responsive to God’s mercy? Do you freely share his grace with others, both by telling the good news and forgiving those who have sinned against you? Is your worship joyful and sincere? Do you understand your deep need for God and let that affect your life?

There are lots of things that can knock us out of tune. Unrepentant sin is the most destructive. When we live in unrepentant sin, our hearts begin to warp. We can be callous to God's grace, thinking we don’t need it or that we don’t deserve it. But we can also be knocked out of tune by things out of our control. Loss, grief, loneliness, anxiety, trauma - the weight of the world’s dysfunction can be too much for us to bear, and we can begin to doubt God’s goodness and faithfulness.

God can heal us through both of these. His mercy is sufficient for all our sins. He is always excited to welcome us back into his grace. And in the things we can’t control, he is our greatest source of comfort and hope. Jesus can sympathize with our weakness, because he was weak, too. In our darkness and despair, Jesus is there comforting us.

God tunes us in so many ways. He sent the Holy Spirit to live within us. He gave us the Bible to read about his goodness. He's given us a family in the church that can help, encourage, and challenge us. He has given us music, laughter, stories, and art to remind us of his beauty and joy. Cling to these. God is using them to tune your heart so that you life may be a beautiful melody that will proclaim his grace to the world.