Happy April! This is the first Sunday after Easter, but as the church has traditionally done we will continue to celebrate the season and the resurrection over the next few weeks in our series: The Hope Of the Resurrection. This coming Sunday we will look at Matthew 28 and Hope For Mission. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us hope that the world will change and the gospel will prevail. This should give us great hope to carry out the mission of Jesus in our daily lives. To view our full order of worship for Sunday click here. Here are the songs we'll sing together:
1. PRAISE TO THE LORD THE ALMIGHTY
Style: We will be playing a modern take on the traditional version of this song. The melody will be the same but the chords will be simpler. We will play this mid-tempo.
Song Info: The melody of this hymn and original German lyrics date back to 1680 and is attributed to Joachim Neander. Catherine Winkworth translated it into English in 1863. It paraphrases both Psalm 103 and 150. This hymn usually falls under the category of "Praise and Thanksgiving" so it is an ideal song for a call to worship. This song focuses on God's role as creator and sustainer. As we sing it we call ourselves to recognize the work that God has done and is constantly doing to uphold our lives and care for us.
Style: This is a contemporary song from Hillsong United. It's low-tempo.
Song Info: This song was produced by Hillsong in 2011 and has experienced great popularity since that time. It borrows heavily from the classic hymn "On Christ The Solid Rock I Stand". The principle motif of this song is the idea of the cornerstone. Jesus is called the cornerstone both in this song and in Scripture. "Cornerstone" refers to the most important stone in the temple of God. And to say that Jesus is the cornerstone is to acknowledge him as the foundation - the most important thing - of our lives and to recognize that God is building up his church into a new temple wherein his Holy Spirit can dwell.
3. WE ARE LISTENING
Style: This is a contemporary song played in an up-tempo, alt-country style.
Song Info: This is one of many songs that we play that was produced by the people of Sojourn Church in Louisville Kentucky. It was written in 2006 by Jeremy Quillo and remains one of Sojourn's most popular songs. It is a perfect song to sing before the sermon. The refrain "We are listening to your word" says enough. We sing that we are gathered together to hear from our God and delight in his son Jesus.
4. BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD ABOVE
Style: We will be playing the most known, contemporary version of this hymn. It is lo to mid-tempo and contemplative, but also joyful and powerful.
Song Info: The lyrics to this hymn were penned by Charity Lee Bancroft in the 1860's. She was the daughter of an Irish minister and wrote a large collection of hymns published in her hymnbook Behind the Veil. This is by far her most famous hymn. It was set to the tune of a number of different other songs, often taking on a more somber note. It wasn't until 1997 when Vikki Cook of Sovereign Grace Ministries wrote the tune that we are all familiar with today. Her melody interpreted the lyrics in a much more joyful light and the song took on a flavor of hope and joy. After this, the hymn experienced a revival within evangelical churches.
The hymn was originally named: "The Advocate". It's a perfect title. This hymn is about Jesus our advocate and our high priest stepping in to intercede for us in order to offer the perfect sacrifice for our sins. This is an appropriate moment in the worship service to sing this song because we've just heard the word of God in the sermon. In the sermon we've heard about everything we've already sung - God's glory, our sin, our need for a savior. But we've also heard about Christ's work on the cross as our savior. So now we gratefully sing of his work: "Before the throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect plea, a great High Priest whose name is love, who ever lives and pleads for me".
Style: This is a contemporary song that is low tempo and prayerful.
Song info: This song was written by Brooke Fraser of Hillsong and released in 2007. Since then it's enjoyed great popularity in the western church, as much of Hillsong's music does. This song is based on the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem where the crowds welcomed him with shouts of "Hosanna!" The word "hosanna" is based on the Hebrew expression hosia-na which means "save, rescue, savior!" The crowds were recognizing Jesus as the promised savior king who would go to war with the enemies of the people of God and liberate them from tyranny. This song capitalizes on that theme by looking forward to the triumphal return of Jesus and also asking him to work in our day and age in giving revival to his church.
6. ONLY YOUR BLOOD IS ENOUGH
Style: This is a contemporary and mid-tempo song. It has an indie-rock feel.
Song Info: This song was produced as part of a collection that Sojourn Church produced of re-tooled Isaac Watts hymns. Though this song is unique enough to be considered original, it is adapted from Isaac Watt's Psalm 51 Part 2. The lyrics and music were written by Neil Robins and it was released on Over the Grave in 2009. This song is appropriate at this point in the service because it recognizes the need for a savior. We have sung about God's goodness, our sin, and now we will sing about our need for a savior. As the song says: "No bleeding bird, no bleeding beast, no hyssop branch, no priest, no running brook, no flood, no sea can wash away this stain from me. Only your blood is enough to cover my sin." Here, with an eye on our sin, we ought to prepare our hearts to hear the sermon and to hear about the hope we have in the gospel of Christ.
See you sunday!