Preparing for Worship - December 18, 2016
1. ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH
Style: We will sing the traditional version of this hymn. It will be more up-tempo with a spirit of celebration.
Song Info: This song works well as a "sending song" because of its celebratory feel. "Gloria in excelsis Deo" is Latin for "Glory to God in the Highest". It is a hymn of praise and rejoicing sung in response to the wonderful grace of God that we have found in Christ Jesus. The melody is a traditional french melody but our modern arrangement was put together by Edward Barnes in 1937.
2. GOOD CHRISTIAN MEN REJOICE
Style: We will play the traditional version of this song. It is mid to up-tempo.
Song Info: I love the whimsical nature of this hymn. The melody dates from the middle ages (1328) and it was originally a mixture of German and Latin. It was known as "In Dulci Jubilo". It is a hymn full of joy at the coming of Christ. My favorite line is "now ye need not fear the grave/ peace! peace! Jesus Christ was born to save". We will conclude our Christmas music with this song as we look toward the hope of the resurrection.
3. Joy To the World
Style: We will play the original version of this song. It is up-tempo, peppy, and joyful.
Song Info: This song was penned by Isaac Watts in 1719 and appeared in his collection The Psalms of David. This valuable volume was Watts' attempt to set the Psalms to rhyme and meter while at the same time Christianizing the language of the Psalms. This particular tune is based on Psalm 98:4-9. Psalm 98 is a hymn of thanksgiving to the God who comes to judge the earth. According to this Psalm, God has made his salvation known among the nations and all of creation is to praise him for it. This is what we sing in Joy to the World.
4. AH, HOLY JESUS
Style: We will play the traditional version of this hymn. It is low-tempo and perfectly suited for post-sermon reflection and preparation for the Lord's Supper.
Song Info: Ah Holy Jesus is a German hymn from 1630 by Johann Hermann. The tune itself was composed by Johann Crüger but has been used by various other composers including JS Bach and Johannes Brahms. It has a beautiful and enduring melody and equally beautiful lyrics. The song is a meditation upon the cross. Why was innocent Jesus crucified? It was not because of his sin, but ours. "Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered. The slave hath sinned and the Son hath suffered". The song concludes with a confession that we can by no means repay Jesus. All that is left for us to do is adore him and offer our lives as sacrifices of thanksgiving to the king.
5. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Style: We will play the original version of this song. It is mid-tempo, choral, and joyful.
Song Info: This hymn was penned by Charles Wesley in 1739. The lyrics that we have today were slightly altered by Wesley's contemporary, the great preacher George Whitfield. Mendelssohn composed the music. This song was written to be a hymn for Christmas Day. Below is a "missing verse" not often sung but precious nonetheless:
Come, Desire of Nations, come,
Fix in us thy heav'nly Home;
Rise the Woman's conqu'ring Seed,
Bruise in us the Serpent's Head.
Adam's Likeness now efface,
Stamp thy Image in its Place;
Second Adam from above,
Work it in us by thy Love.
See you Sunday!