I am the song leader in my church. I am not very proficient as a musician or a choral director. I pray that, someday soon, God will send someone more capable, to take this ministry from me. But for the time being it is my responsibility to select the music and lead the congregation in the singing every week.

I take that responsibility seriously. The hymns and songs that I select must be doctrinally sound, they must be appropriate for worship with a God-centered worldview, and, withing those parameters, I try to select music that will reinforce and, support the text and subject of my pastor’s messages.

Some of us have been singing the hymns for years; the words roll off our lips but the messages often don't engage our minds or penetrate our hearts. With the apostle Paul, I want the congregation to "sing with understanding."

So for the past couple years, it has been my practice to select one hymn each week, research it, and then highlight it with a short introductory commentary so that the congregation will be more informed regarding the origin, the author's testimony, or the doctrinal significance of the hymns we sing.

It is my intention here with this blog, to archive these hymn commentaries for my reference and to make them freely available to other church song leaders. For ease of reference, all the hymn commentaries in this blog will be titled IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Other posts (which will be music ministry related opinion pieces) will be printed in lower case letters.

I know that some of the comments contain traces of my unique style, but please feel free to adapt them and use the content any way you can for the edification of your congregation and to the glory of God.

All I ask is that you leave a little comment should you find something helpful.

Ralph M. Petersen

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Sunday, May 14, 2017


Early every Mother’s Day, my friend, Mike, always called his mother to sing “The Mother’s Song.”  But it wasn’t the original version most of us have heard; he kinda changed it up little – well, he sorta changed it a lot.  Actually, he butchered the song.

Here are his words to this Mother’s Day Serenade:

M- is for the MILLION things you gave me,
O- is for the OTHER things you gave me,
T- is for the THOUSAND things you gave me,
H- is for the HUNDRED things you gave,
E- is for EVERYTHING you gave me,
R- is for the REST of all you gave me.
Put them all together they spell MOTHER, 
The one who gave so much to me.

I’m sure his mother really appreciated his attention. And, even though the song was funny, it did acknowledge his mother’s the generous, giving nature.

“A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, suddenly announces that she never did care for pie.”

I didn’t realize it when I was young but my mother’s life was all about hard work and sacrifice for her seven children.  It wasn’t until I became a parent and saw my wife doing the same things, that I understood just how much mothers sacrifice for their kids.  That’s what mothers do.

And just about the time a mother thinks her work is done, she becomes a grandmother.  My wife’s giving never stops.  Just as my mother continued to give to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, my wife continues to give to our children and grandchildren.
I think God created mothers to demonstrate something of His sacrificial love for us.  Speaking through the prophet, He asked this rhetorical question, “Can a woman forget her nursing child or lack compassion for the child of her womb?”  

The obvious answer is NO!  But then He goes on with this promise of assurance; “Even if these forget, Yet I will not forget you.” 

My mom died about two years ago and, as I was sorting through some of her old stuff, I came across an interesting item that was tucked away in a page of her Bible.  It asked, “If you had a chance to tell your children something just before you died, what would you say?”

Her short answer was; “I would tell them to never stop going to church.”

She was a little awkward in expressing her faith but, I know what she wanted most.  If she could, she would have given each of us the gift of salvation; but she couldn’t.   All she could do was pray for us.  And I know that she didn’t really believe that church attendance would guarantee our salvation.  But she did know that regular church attendance would expose us to hearing God’s Word which has the power to convict us of sin and to save our souls.

Did you know that Motherhood is a blessing from God?  “Behold, children are a gift from the Lord.  The fruit of the womb is a reward.” (Psa. 127:3)

The song, COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, is probably one of the most appropriate songs we could sing for Mother’s Day.  Every mother should praise God for the gift of her children.  Fathers, too, can be thankful for the mothers of their children.  And children should thank God for their mothers.

Now, I realize that this day is not pleasant for everyone.  In fact, it can be very painful.  Life is hard, there are many disappointments, and some of us may be called to bear unpleasant or terrible burdens or losses.  Like many of you, my mother experienced the pain and sorrow of seeing her own children suffering through cancer, divorce, sinful living, and even premature death.

Nevertheless, COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS is a song for all Christians to sing.  In fact, it is more about our thankfulness in and through times of difficulties and sorrows than it is about our ease or comfort.  As Christians, we have so much to be thankful for.  

Paul, the Apostle reminds us that, “God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.  In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Isa. 49:15)

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