Preparing for Worship - April 14, 2019
Join us this week as we celebrate Palm Sunday. In the church calendar, this is traditionally the Sunday that we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry in Jerusalem. Here are the songs we’ll sing together as we worship the king:
1. Hail To The Lord’s Anointed
Style: We are playing a contemporary, alt-country version of this old hymn/psalm. It is up-tempo and joyful.
Song Info: The lyrics to this tune were originally composed by Scottish poet, hymn-writer, and activist James Montgomery in 1822. His original lyrics are almost entirely preserved, although slightly altered, by Sandra McCracken in this version that we are singing. She also set the words to new music which she composed. Montgomery's words were based heavily on Psalm 72 and in many Psalters this song is associated with Psalm 72.
Psalm 72 is a Royal Psalm written by King David for his son Solomon. It is a plea for God to give his justice and wisdom to the king so that the reign of the king might bring forth equity and prosperity on earth. This Psalm can be applied to Jesus as "great David's greater son", who is God's anointed king forever. Hail to the Lord's anointed!
2. Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates
Style: We will be playing the traditional version of this hymn. It will be a slow tempo.
Song Info: This classic hymn was originally part of George Frideric Handel's Messiah in 1741. It has come to be considered a Christmas song about Christ's advent but it's actually about Christ's ascension into heaven after the resurrection. It comes from Psalm 24 - the Psalm of ascension. In that Psalm, the king of glory is coming to his glorious throne in Jerusalem. The gates of Jerusalem are to lift up for him to enter. This song connects that Psalm to Jesus Christ entering the heavenly throne room and sitting next to God the Father after his victory of the cross had been won. It also connects the ascension to the filling of the Holy Spirit that happens to every believer. Christ is seated in heaven with the Father but also seated in our hearts and lives by the Holy Spirit.
3. Heal Us
Style: This is a low-tempo and yet very energetic song. It's done is a classic mo-town/gospel style.
Song Info: This tune is an adaptation of the hymn: "Heal Us Emmanuel Hear Our Prayer" which was written in the 18th century by William Cowper. Cowper was a poet and hymn writer but also suffered from depression and attempted suicide on more than one occasion. This song beseeches the Christ, God with us, to touch us and heal us where we most need healing. It draws on different narratives in the gospels in which Jesus healed broken people. The version you hear here was arranged by Kevin Twit of Indelible Grace. It appears on their 2015 release: "Look to Jesus".
This is a very appropriate song to play as we prepare to receive the Lord's Supper. In the Lord's Supper we come to the Lord himself not just to receive the elements, but to receive Christ by faith. Jesus is the ultimate medicine that heals our guilt, blindness, sinfulness, and shame.
4. Go To Dark Gethsemane
Style: This is a very old tune played in choral and medieval style. It is dark, somber, and prayerful.
Song Info: You're not likely to hear this particular version of this hymn anywhere but at Faith. That's because we've combined the lyrics with a different melody. The lyrics were written in 1825 by James Montgomery, a prolific poet and hymn writer. The melody we use goes by the name of Aberystwyth, composed by Joseph Parry in 1876. This tune is most commonly paired with Charles Wesley's Jesus, Lover of My Soul.
This song causes the singers to accompany Jesus to the garden of Gethsemane to witness his prayers and suffering. It calls us to learn from Jesus how to pray. We then follow Jesus to his trial and observe his quiet acceptance of condemnation. It calls us to learn from Jesus how to bear the cross. From there we follow Jesus to Calvary's mountain and witness his crucifixion. The song calls us to learn from Jesus how to die to self. Finally we accompany Jesus to the empty tomb and observe the risen Lord. We are called to learn from Jesus how to rise.
5. Crown Him with Many Crowns
Style: We will play this hymn in its traditional style. It is magisterial and joyful.
Song Info: The lyrics to this hymn were written in 1851 by Matthew Bridges and Godfrey Thring. The tune is called "Diademata" which stands behind many other hymns, although this is its most famous setting. From an ecumenical standpoint, this is one of the most widely used hymns among various denominations and churches - appearing in hymn books from Baptist churches to the Roman Catholic Church! Originally boasting 12 verses, we will only sing its most famous 4 verses. The subject matter of this song is on the worthiness of Christ to be crowned will all power, honor, glory, and dominion.
See you Sunday!