Preparing for Worship - January 29, 2017
This Sunday we're continuing in our series in Matthew - Immanuel, God With Us. We will be looking at Matthew 3:13-17, the Baptism of Jesus. In this scene we see our Lord humbly submitting himself to the ritual cleansing of baptism and so identifying himself with sinners. To view our full liturgy click here. Here are the songs we'll sing together:
1. COME PEOPLE OF THE RISEN KING
Style: This is an up-tempo contemporary hymn that is performed in a celtic style. The usual instrumentation for this hymn would include various strings, piano, and even wind instruments. We'll be playing this song with viola, cello, guitar, and piano. It should make for a beautiful arrangement.
Song Info: This song was written in 2007 by Keith & Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend. Townend is an English born worship leader and modern hymn writer who is responsible for hymns such as: "In Christ Alone" and "How Deep The Father's Love For Us". His songs are often mistaken to be classic, traditional hymns. This song functions as a great call to worship because it is calling the people of the risen king to come and worship him - whoever they may be. "Come young and old from every land, men and women of the faith". This song reminds us that Jesus, by his death and resurrection, has created a most diverse people that includes men, women, young, and old from every tribe, nation, and tongue.
2. TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS
Style: We will play the traditional version of this song. It is low-tempo, peaceful, and contemplative.
Song Info: This song comes to us from 1882. The lyrics were written by Louisa Stead and the melody by William Kirkpatrick. The backstory to this song is perhaps true, perhaps legend. It appears that Stead's husband died prematurely in a tragic accident. This made Stead's life very difficult as a single mother caring for a little girl. Their family fell into poverty where they had to learn how to trust Jesus to provide for their needs. Eventually the mother and daughter moved to South Africa to serve as missionaries.
This song is appropriate here because it prepares our hearts to hear God's word. "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take him at his word, just in simple faith to trust him, just to know 'thus saith' the Lord." As we sing this song, this sentiment ought to be our prayer. Whatever Jesus has to say to us in the unfolding of his preached word, we are ready to hear and believe.
3. SPEAK, O LORD
Style: This is a contemporary song done in a low-tempo and contemplative tone.
Song Info: This is another modern hymn written by Stuart Townend and the Gettys. Their mission in hymn-writing, it seems, is to write modern hymns that are musically excellent and maintain the integrity and theological depth of the famous hymns of the past. And they have been very successful in this endeavor. We sing this song at this point in worship because we are preparing our hearts to hear God's word in the sermon. This song focuses on God's word and the power of God's word to transform our hearts, bring us to worship and obedience, and build up his church.
4. HALLELUJAH! WHAT A SAVIOR (MAN OF SORROWS)
Style: We will play this song in its traditional style. It is low to mid-tempo but done in a major key, having lots of energy, and with a very triumphant feel. The style of this song reminds me of classic gospel music.
Song Info: This song was composed in the mid nineteenth century by Philip P. Bliss. Bliss was a music teacher, evangelist, and hymn writer from the Ohio and Pennsylvania areas. He was responsible for composing many famous hymns including the melody for It Is Well With My Soul. The lyrics to this particular song have had an abiding power in the Christian world since they were penned. The title for JI Packer and Mark Dever's recent book on the atonement - "In My Place Condemned He Stood" - was lifted right from the lines of this hymn.
The subject matter of this song focuses on the cross and the humility of Christ, our king. As the song reflects on the humility and servanthood of Christ to suffer for our sins it continually returns to the anthem: Hallelujah! What a savior! It's appropriate at this moment in worship because we are turning from praising God for his goodness to recognizing our own sinfulness and need for a great savior.
5. Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners!
Style: This is a classic twentieth century hymn that we will play in the traditional style. It is mid-tempo and joyful.
Song Info: This hymn is sung to the tune of "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" - a Charles Wesley composition. Though it was not this hymn that took music from the Wesley hymn, but the other way around. That music was originally written for Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners! The lyrics for this song were composed by J Wilbur Chapman in the early twentieth century. This song focuses on the faithfulness of Jesus. In it we sing that Jesus is a friend for sinners. Even when all other friends fail, Jesus is faithful to sinful people - faithful enough to go to the cross on their behalf.
See you Sunday!