What’s your favorite hymn?


America received more responses than usual to our survey about favorite hymns.

“‘How Can I Keep From Singing?’ is a hymn that has helped me express my joy in the better days of my life and gotten me safely through the darker ones because of its honest hopefulness,” wrote Brianna Goetzke of Washington, D.C. “It is a versatile piece that works beautifully for both congregational song and individual reflection. It speaks to that essential intuition that defies logic—I don’t know why, but I know God is here.”


As for her “guilty pleasure” hymn, Ms. Goetzke said she favors “all of the ‘overdone’ ones—‘On Eagle’s Wings,’ ‘Pescador de Hombres,’ ‘You Are Mine,’ etc. They’re overdone for a reason! They are so meaningful.”

While a number of readers singled out “On Eagle’s Wings” as their favorite hymn, others said it was their least favorite.

Leonard Go of Washington, D.C., wrote that Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately” “should be a hymn but isn’t.”

Asked to name a least favorite hymn, many readers mentioned “Lord of the Dance.” A few said “Where Charity and Love Prevail.” Others cited “Amazing Grace” and “America the Beautiful.”

Another popular un-favorite was “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Kathleen Packard of Marion, Mass., said the song is “not at all my understanding of God’s glory.” Nancy Herzig summed up the sentiment with her comment: “Any patriotic hymn—not appropriate for church.”

Norma Castilho of South Gate, Calif., does not have a least favorite hymn. “Each one has its beauty,” she wrote.

(Survey results are based on 240 responses.)

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Victoria Figueroa
11 months 2 weeks ago

A few come to mind from my urban experience: Lead Me Guide Me, Order My Steps in Your Word Dear Lord, How Excellent, and many more.

More: Music

The latest from america

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visit the St. John Paul II National Shrine, in Washington, D.C., on June 2. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A new P.R.R.I. poll suggests that President Trump is losing ground among white Catholics faster than among other major religious groups, reports Michael J. O’Loughlin.
Flying cars, hyperloop trains and other venture capitalist fever dreams are not going to carry us out of our economic mess. (Illustration from iStock/Naeblys)
We can’t wait for the venture capitalists and their playthings to save us after the coronavirus, writes Nathan Schneider. It is time to turn to the innovation of cooperative economics.
Nathan SchneiderJune 04, 2020
A line of police officers faces a woman participating in a protest on May 29 in Louisville, Ky., of the killing of Breonna Taylor by police in March. (Michael Clevenger/Courier Journal via AP)
The police killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville was another example of how geographic and racial partitions deny human rights to certain American citizens, writes Joseph S. Flipper of Bellarmine University.
Joseph S. FlipperJune 04, 2020
Our scars pulse with the rage that cannot sound