Preparing for Worship - February 25, 2018
Join us as we continue in our series in Exodus. Here are the songs we'll sing together:
1. A SONG FOR THE SABBATH (PSALM 92)
Style - This is a contemporary tune done in a country style. It is mid-tempo, joyful, and full of energy.
Song Info - The lyrics of this song were penned by Isaac Watts in the eighteenth century as part of his attempt to Christianize the Psalter. What this meant what that he took the 150 Psalms, set them to meter and rhyme, and attempted to make allusions to Christ more clear and to add gospel language to the Psalms where appropriate. Psalm 92 is called in Scripture "A Song for the Sabbath", and so that is what it's called here. It is a Psalm of thanksgiving that focuses on giving thanks for the work of God. Verses 4-5 say:
For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
How great are your works, O Lord!
Your thoughts are very deep!
This reminds us that the Sabbath is a time when we cease from our work in order to enjoy the work of God, to contemplate his works, and to allow him to continue to work in us. While we rest on the Sabbath, God is at work to preserve and perfect his people. These lyrics were set to music composed by Billy Otten, worship leader here at Faith Church.
2. BE THOU MY VISION
Style: We will sing a contemporary version of this hymn that will be very familiar. The version we're singing is likely the most commonly known version. It is low-tempo and contemplative.
Song Info: This is a traditional Irish hymn of unknown authorship that probably dates to the eighteenth century, though possibly comes from the sixteenth century. This hymn has been translated into dozens of languages in its lifetime and remains one of the most popular hymns ever written. The subject matter is certainly appropriate for this moment in worship. The song is about asking and allowing God to be our "all in all". As we sing, we ask God to be our vision, our wisdom, our shield, our treasure, and our comfort. That we would ascribe all glory to God, look to him for all our needs, and find all of our desires fulfilled in him is the true heart of worship.
3. GOOD SHEPHERD OF MY SOUL
Style: This is a contemporary hymn played in a celtic-folk style. It is mid-tempo and prayerful.
Song Info: This song comes to us from Stuart Townend, Keith and Kristin Getty, and Fionan de Barra. It is a prayer that Christ would dwell within us, transform our lives, and mold us into Christ-likeness. It especially reflects on the difficulty of this journey living in a fallen world. My favorite line is this:
I’ll walk this narrow road
With Christ before me,
Where thorns and thistles grow
And cords ensnare me.
Though doubted and denied,
He never leaves my side,
But lifts my head and calls me to follow.
"Thorns and thistles" is a reference to the fallen world in which we live. We walk with Christ on a narrow road in a land of thorns and thistles. The way of the Christian is difficult. But the good news is that we walk with Christ. Though we doubt him, deny him, and fail him countless times he is always with us, lifting us up and calling us anew to continue following him.
"for the righteous falls seven times and rises again..." (Proverbs 24:16)
"Seven times" indicates completion. Our failure and our sin is complete. It couldn't get any more sinful. Yet because of the presence of Christ with us we rise again and continue on the way. We cannot help but do so thanks to his grace.
4. NOT WHAT MY HANDS HAVE DONE
Style: This is a traditional hymn from the nineteenth century which is low tempo, somber, yet joyful.
Song Info: This classic hymn was penned by Horatius Bonar and its tune was composed by George William Martin in the nineteenth century. Bonar, an ordained Scottish minister, wrote more than 300 hymns during his lifetime. He has been called "The Prince of Scottish Hymn Writers". The subject matter of this hymn focuses on Christ alone as the source of salvation.
5. LO HE COMES WITH CLOUDS DESCENDING
Style: We will play this in its traditional version. It is up tempo and joyful.
Song Info: This hymn was one of the many famous (and forgotten) hymns of Charles Wesley. Inspired by Revelation 1:7, John 20:24-31, Revelation 22:20, and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, this hymn is about an eager anticipation of the return of Christ. Sometimes it is sung as an Advent hymn because of its focus on the coming of Christ. But it is appropriate for all seasons. The church should sing "O Come Quickly!" as she thinks about her long sojourn on earth in this age. This hymn helps us to not be too closely attached to this world and to eagerly anticipate the coming of the kingdom of God in glory.
See you Sunday!