Guest article by Pr. Bruce Timm.
Reason #8: Using the hymnal prevents global warming.
This isn’t my own idea. I heard this from other pastors, but I loved it. Here is another similar argument. “Save a tree. Use your hymnal.” My current congregation has saved many trees and greatly reduced our printing costs when we moved away from printing out an “edited” service every week. Too many trees are killed (in vain, I believe) to produce services that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow. The First Article of the Creed, the Fourth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, and the 7th Commandment direct us to good stewardship of God’s gifts. Using the hymnal is a great way to practice what we preach and not be wasteful.
When I was a guest on Steadfast Throwdown, Pastor Eric Anderson, tried to bring the smackdown on me by suggesting that screens and projectors kill even less trees. However, my limited experience in “worship-according-to-the-screen-churches” is that their bulletins are even larger than churches that don’t use a screen. I also have great concerns that screens are simply another distraction in worship – no longer are we meditating and listening, we are reading and watching.
Using a hymnbook is good stewardship and, I believe, also an act of confession. Our hymnbooks are beautiful books. They were ten years in the making. They were thoughtfully and faithfully published. They are enduring. Those hymnbooks serve in our worship. Like the communion vessels we treat them with honor and respect because they serve to bring us Christ. They have substance and style and are not disposable, like a service folder. Use of hymnbooks confesses that worship is not like a band concert or an awards presentation where a folder is handed out at the door and disposed of moments after the program. Hymnals confess substance and permanence and reverence for Christ and His worship. They also save trees. I wonder if we could enlist Al Gore to urge congregations to use hymnals?
(For the record – I don’t believe in Global Warming. I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth. I believe He made us and gives us all things and we should be responsible stewards of His gifts.)
And finally, reasons 9, 10 and 11 are found here.