Preparing for Worship - January 8, 2017
1. O CHURCH OF CHRIST INVINCIBLE
Style: This is a modern hymn done in a mid-tempo, english folk style. Like much of Townend's work it is reminiscent of a Beatles song.
Song Info: This song appears on Stuart Townend's newest release - Paths of Grace. It is a hymn of the church meant to draw our attention to truths about what it means to be God's people. The four verses work through some of the hopeful but painful realities of what it means to be the church. In order, they begin with these lines:
"O Church of Christ, invincible...
O chosen people called by grace...
O Church of Christ in sorrow now...
O Church of Christ, upon that day..."
The hymn recognizes that the church is the work of God and cannot be defeated by the devil, she is called by God's grace, she lives in an age where she can expect to suffer because of her faith, but she awaits a wonderful day of vindication and ultimate salvation when Jesus returns.
2. 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.
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. ALAS! AND DID MY SAVIOR BLEED?
Style: We will be playing the traditional version of this hymn. It is lo-tempo and contemplative.
Song Info: There seem to be hundreds of version of this hymn out there. The lyrics are so powerful that it has been covered and re-arranged by several artists. Yet the traditional hymn was written by Isaac Watts (lyrics) and Hugh Wilson (music) in the 18th century. This tune fits well at this point in the service because it causes us to meditate on our sinful condition before the Lord. Here we move from rejoicing in the Lord and his goodness in creation to our sinful response to God. Though God has showered infinite grace upon us in making us in his image, we have repaid him by rebelling against his rule in our lives. Yet this song is also about God's surprising mercy in sending his own Son to come as man and die for our rebellion.
5. NEW AGAIN
Style: This song is up-tempo with a very celebratory spirit. It is perfect as a benedictorial, sending song. Worship will conclude with a recognition that Christ has risen in victory and a call to go and tell the world.
Song Info: This song was written and produced by Brooks Ritter and Mike Cosper of Sojourn Church in Louisville Kentucky. It is a celebration of the victory of the resurrection. "Death is defeated and Jesus reigns, tell the world there is hope in his name". In the name of Jesus we have hope that, though we will suffer death, we too will rise in victory. Death cannot defeat the people of God because death could not defeat Jesus - the king of God's people. This song sends us out into the world in hope and with the message of the gospel in our heart and on our lips.
See you Sunday!