Beautiful Old Church Hymns, From The Old Rugged Cross to Rock of Ages Cleft For Me, Are A Firm Foundation for the Sandwich Generation Family

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The Sandwich Generation granny nanny loves the old church hymns as much as the contemporary praise and worship hymn songs and musicCall us old fashioned but so many of us in the Sandwich Generation love the beautiful old church hymns as much as we love the contemporary praise and worship hymn songs and music. That's true even for many of us in the baby boomer generation who grew up on the Beatles, Donavan, and the Monkees. The old hymns are such a delightful and restful way for us to worship God as well as "taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." (2 Cor. 10:5)

Some of them, like How Firm a Foundation, include encouraging Bible verses to fill our hearts, like, "Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed, For I am thy God" from the song lyrics is almost word for word from one of my favorite encouraging Bible verses,  Isaiah 41:10 (Darby), "Fear not, for I [am] with thee; be not dismayed, for I [am] thy God"

For lovely old fashioned Christian church hymns try Best of the Hymns series which includes this lovely version of The Old Rugged Cross hymn song on mp3

Other hymn songs, like my senior dad's favoriteThe Old Rugged Cross, have great hymn stories behind them so that learning their history adds to their richness.

And some, like Rock of Ages Cleft For Me, are an extra special encouragement and comfort for those who are caring for elderly parents in their family who are reaching the end of their walk here on earth and can appreciate the sweet balm of the music as they are dealing with grief while handling the many questions from the hospital or hospice team. Don't you love these lyrics, "While I draw this fleeting breath, when mine eyes shall close in death, when I soar to worlds unknown, see Thee on thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee."

As Paul told us in 2 Corinthians 5:8:

"we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord"

and also:

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

Philippians 1:21 (KJV)

It's such a joy to also share these lovely hymn songs with our grandchildren. As we cultivate a love of the old blended with the delight of the new, we are sharing with them a rich history and heritage that will mean these favorite hymns will continue on – full of your own sweet family memories of times spent together. 

Howard and Vetal Goodman singing one of my favorite old fashioned praise and worship hymn songs - Rock of Ages Cleft For Me and several others - a lovely dvd too

Here's a gorgeous rendition of the hymn, Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me, along with one other song, focused on exactly that (the last verse), performed by Vestal Goodman, from A Tribute to Howard and Vestal Goodman – With Bill and Gloria Gaithers and Their Homecoming FriendsVestal Goodman went home to be with the Lord in 2003. I first heard of Vestal Goodman and her ministries and songs just a few months ago and was so blessed, and have been again today. Talk about a wonderful and powerful legacy to leave! That's our goal for our Sandwich Generation families, isn't it? We may not have a video out or sing on TV. But our best audience, our senior parents, our children, our grandchildren we take care of – they are watching us. We are leaving that legacy one way or another. Lord willing, we are leaving a powerful testimony of God's power and love in our lives and in our love and nurture of them.

Wasn't that powerful! I was so blessed by it and hope you were as well. You should see the huge smile on my face, intermixed with tears streaming down it! Truly one of my favorite old church hymns and sung so wonderfully by a woman of God who is now living what she was then singing about.

For more Christian encouragement including devotions for all ages (perfect for the Sandwich Generation family – from senior citizens on down to the cute grandkids) full of uplifting and inspirational Bible verses and praise and worship music, be sure to visit Spiritual Sunday. 🙂 

P.S. After I wrote the above, including the focus on just the last verse of Rock of Ages, I tried to make a Smilebox of all three songs, but wasn't able to. I apparently changed my password and can't fix it til Monday. BUT GOD knew that would happen and used it to eventually lead me to the above video of Vestal Goodman – which ALSO focuses on the last verse of Rock of Ages! I had been praying extra for this particular article, and when I saw that, I KNEW that God had me do this for one or more of you reading this – to comfort and encourage you in a special way. A love letter just for you and your loved ones – and yes, I am sitting here typing with tears coming down my face – again! It's apparently one of those days of being touched in a special way by the hand of God. I'll never know who this was for, but I pray that YOU will, and that you will be blessed in a very special way!

Comments 17

  • Such a beautiful post! I’m intrigued by all the songs you wrote about. The older hymns are definitely a comfort when we need the word of the Lord ringing through our minds.

    Your post has blessed me and I’m sure it will bless others.

    Thank you for your heart poured out.

    Blessings upon you, Kaye, as you care for your parents. I cared for my mother and it was such a blessing to me and to our children. Their grandmother was an integral part of their lives and they have unforgettable memories!

  • I love the old hymns. My mother ised to play them on her piano and I sat and listened. There is much healing in many of the wrds. One of my favoureds is Blessed Assurance and Oh lamb of God I come. Bless you

  • What a lovely and heartfelt post.

  • Hi Kaye, I love this post because I too love the old hymns so much. Thank you for your insight about our favorite hymns that are tried and true.
    Blessings, Jeanne

  • I love the old hymns too, Kaye. That was a wonderful video. Blessings ~

  • Hi Cathy, Thank you. It definitely gave me goose bumps! 🙂

  • Hi Jeanne, Thank you. 🙂 They are such a joy and delight – full of words of encouragement for us all.

  • What sweet family memories, Crystal Mary. Those are two of the sweet old hymns I also love! 🙂 Did you know there’s a bit of a Sandwich Generation history to Blessed Assurance? 🙂 Very interesting.

  • Oh Janis, what sweet family memories you shared – and what a wonderful legacy for your whole family! Thank you for sharing that joy with us.

  • You are so right that we need to continue to treasure these older hymns. Sometimes I am guilty myself of wanting to just sing “new” songs, but these old songs have such depth and meaning that we should always return to them as well. I also want my kids to know them. I can’t imagine if they didn’t!

  • This is so beautiful. I think it’s true that no one has ever or will ever sing it as well as Vestal. Our church has three Sunday morning services. The first one sings all hymns. The second one is blended, and the third one is totally contemporary. We go to the second service. It is always packed even more so since they changed it from all the services being the same. I think most people do like a blend. I know I do. We should not abandon the old hymns altogether. Except for the music the three services are identical.
    Thanks for sharing this beautiful post.

  • Hi Charlotte, We have a similar option at our current church – hymns first service., contemporary second service. Our old church was experiencing growing pains so we had two services and both services had a traditional hymns in the main sanctuary with contemporary in another room and a video feed. We went there but were thrilled that they actually intermixed the old and the new, though with a bit of a contemporary feel. Like you, I love them all. And I praise God for the way He uses it in all our lives, including my grandkids! 🙂

  • love love Vestal’s powerful voice! This was such a beautiful post Kaye… thanks! I’m so glad i stopped by…:)

    Have a beautiful weekend.


  • Hi Ruth, It is gorgeous isn’t it! I’m actually reading the biography of Vestal Goodman right now and being blessed by that as well! 🙂

  • Does anyone have the lyrics of a song that we sung in church in the the 50s? The title may have been, “How Much I Owe”. There was a line, “Ten million years may come and go, I cannot tell how much I owe”.


  • Hi Bob,

    Could it be:

    If you click this link – it takes you to a Google-scanned old hymnal and its in the middle of the hymn 48 – I think might be what you are looking for – no title in the book but includes the lyrics for verses 9-19:

    Ten Million years in fire and smoke
    amidst the livid flame
    Will gain no credit on Thy book
    the debt is still the same

    But if by Christ my soul is freed
    He will my surety stand
    and every mite will then be paid
    which justice can demand

    I also found How Much I Owe by Robert Murray McCheyne 1813-1843 at

    With the lyrics

    When this passing world is done,
    When has sunk yon glaring sun,
    When we stand with Christ in glory,
    Looking o’er life’s finished story,
    Then, Lord, shall I fully know—
    Not till then—how much I owe.

    When I hear the wicked call,
    On the rocks and hills to fall,
    When I see them start and shrink
    On the fiery deluge brink,
    Then, Lord, shall I fully know—
    Not till then—how much I owe.

    When I stand before the throne,
    Dressed in beauty not my own,
    When I see Thee as Thou art,
    Love Thee with unsinning heart,
    Then Lord, shall I fully know—
    Not till then—how much I owe.

    When the praise of Heav’n I hear,
    Loud as thunders to the ear,
    Loud as many waters’ noise,
    Sweet as harp’s melodious voice,
    Then, Lord, shall I fully know—
    Not till then—how much I owe.

    Even on earth, as through a glass
    Darkly, let Thy glory pass,
    Make forgiveness feel so sweet,
    Make Thy Spirit’s help so meet,
    Even on earth, Lord, make me know
    Something of how much I owe.

    Chosen not for good in me,
    Wakened up from wrath to flee,
    Hidden in the Savior’s side,
    By the Spirit sanctified,
    Teach me, Lord, on earth to show,
    By my love, how much I owe.

    Oft I walk beneath the cloud,
    Dark, as midnight’s gloomy shroud;
    But, when fear is at the height,
    Jesus comes, and all is light;
    Blessed Jesus! bid me show
    Doubting saints how much I owe.

    When in flowery paths I tread,
    Oft by sin I’m captive led;
    Oft I fall—but still arise—
    The Spirit comes—the tempter flies;
    Blessed Spirit! bid me show
    Weary sinners all I owe.

    Oft the nights of sorrow reign—
    Weeping, sickness, sighing, pain;
    But a night Thine anger burns—
    Morning comes and joy returns;
    God of comforts! bid me show
    To Thy poor, how much I owe.

    Hopefully one of these is it?

    We’d love to hear