Preparing for Worship - July 16, 2017

Join us this Sunday as we continue in the Sermon on the Mount. This week we will look at Matthew 6:25-34 and look at Jesus' famous words on anxiety. Jesus teaches that his disciples should not be anxious about their lives. What does he mean? Find out this Sunday.

To view our full liturgy click here. Here are the songs we'll sing together:

1. ALL CREATURES OF OUR GOD AND KING

Style: We will play the traditional version of this song which is markedly different from the popular contemporary version. The time signature will be noticeably different and the music is more complex and beautiful. But the melody line remains essentially the same. It is mid-tempo, joyful, and Orchestral.

Song Info: The words to this hymn may be originally ascribed to Saint Francis of Assisi in 1225. They are contained in his poem A Canticle to the Sun which was inspired by Psalm 148. William Draper translated the words into English in the late nineteenth century. The music comes from a popular German hymn from 1623 composed by Friedrich Spee. All in all, this song has a very rich history. This is a great song for a call to worship because it is calling all creatures (created things) to enter into the presence of the creator to worship and give thanks to him. In the song Francis explores multiple characters in creation and calls them to praise and thank God. Since we will not sing all of the verses on Sunday I will include a seldom-sung verse that is still very powerful:

"Earth ever fertile, day by day
bring forth your blessings on our way;
alleluia, alleluia!
All flowers and fruits that is you grow,
let the his glory also show;
O praise him, O praise him,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! "

The Lord's Day is a wonderful day to stop from our normal activity to observe the continual activity of God in upholding his creation. This song causes us to remember the glorious world that God has made and give him thanks for making it and putting us in it.

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2. COME YE SINNERS

Style: We will be playing a contemporary, modified version of this hymn. One of the shining virtues of the traditional hymn is its haunting melody. Thankfully, the version we are playing preserves the original melody and nearly all of the original lyrics. It's updated slightly to suit popular modern tastes.

Song Info: The lyrics were written by Joseph Hart in the 18th century. Hart was a hymn writer and minister in London, but he did not become converted until age 45. For much of his life he lived in opposition to God. This hymn seems particularly suited to his story. My favorite line is: "Come ye weary, heavy laden, lost and ruined by the fall. If you tarry til you're better you will never come at all." This version of the song was arranged and produced by Sojourn Church in Louisville Kentucky. Sojourn is a young, but large, reformed congregation in Louisville that is responsible for producing much excellent music and planting many healthy churches around the United States.

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3. COME THOU FOUNT OF EVERY BLESSING

Style: We will play the traditional version of this hymn. It is low-tempo and prayerful.

Song info: This hymn comes to us from Robert Robinson, a pastor in the eighteenth century. One comment of explanation will suffice for this well-known hymn. In the second verse the "Ebenezer stone" is mentioned. This is a reference to a stone raised by Samuel in 1 Samuel 7:12. This stone was a monument setup to remind God's people that it is God that had helped them up until that point in their history. It was the Lord who brought them out of Egypt and cleared out the land of promise and established them in the land. And it was the Lord who would continue to be their help so long as they remained faithful to him. "Ebenezer" means rock of help. This song evokes that image in order to cause us to pause and meditate on our own lives and how the Lord has helped us up until now. It also admonishes us to continue to rely on him and look to him to help us reach our final destination - the New Heavens and New Earth.

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4. WE WILL FEAST IN THE HOUSE OF ZION

Style: This is a contemporary, mid-tempo song that comes out of Nashville. It is prayerful and has a folk-rock flavor.

Song info: Appearing on her 2015 release Psalms, this song is a favored tune from Sandra McCracken. Since its publication is has enjoyed such honor as being The Gospel Coalition's official anthem for their 2015 annual conference. The entire album, including this song, was wrought out of a season of grief for McCracken as she struggled through the dissolution of her marriage due to infidelity. Many of the songs on Psalms are lament songs - songs expressing grief and pain to God. This is appropriate because most of the Psalms are Psalms of lament. Songs like this teach us how to direct our grief, anger, and sorrow toward God who is our healer.

This song is not based on any one Psalm but draws on themes from many of the "songs of Zion" that are found in the Psalter such as Psalms 46, 48, 76, 84, 87, and 122. This song also draws on themes found in Psalms of confidence such as Psalms 115, 125, and 129.

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5. THE POWER OF THE CROSS

Style: This is a contemporary song that is mid-tempo with a powerful hook.

Song Info: This is one of many songs that we sing that was written by Stuart Townend and the Getty family. It first appeared in 2005.

It is appropriate to sing this song as a celebratory and benedictorial song though it could also work as a post-sermon song. This song recounts Jesus' death on the cross in details found in the gospel accounts, appropriates his death to our own lives, and celebrates all the benefits of salvation.

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See you Sunday!