Preparing for Worship - July 3, 2016
This Sunday we launch into a mid-summer sermon series on the book of Jonah called "From the Depths". 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;
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.
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. 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.
4. LET ALL MORTAL FLESH KEEP SILENCE
Style: We will play the traditional version of this hymn. It is a slow tempo.
Song Info: This hymn, in one way or another, dates back to the fifth century. It is one of the oldest surviving Christian hymns, possibly dating even earlier to AD 275. It was originally written in Greek to be a eucharistic hymn. Though it has come to be recognized as a Christmas song, it's true emphasis is on the Lord's Supper. That's why we'll sing it on Sunday before celebrating the sacrament. We will also likely sing it at other times of the year, as well.
5. Psalm 130 (From the Depths of Woe)
Style: We will do a more contemporary version of this song that is done in a folk-rock style. It is mid-tempo and contemplative.
Song Info: Singing the Psalms is the most ancient and biblical practice of church worship music. There is also a long history of hymn writers heavily basing their hymns on Psalms. This is one such hymn. Based on Psalm 130, this hymn comes to us from Martin Luther. He wrote it to be a psalm-hymn of Psalm 130 but also to encourage his colleagues to write psalm-hymns just like this one. Psalm 130 is a short psalm. It is a "cry from the depths" to the Lord who is able to redeem even the worst situations - even situations that are created by our own sin.
This particular version was modernized and set to new music and melody by Christopher Miner of Indelible Grace.
6. O LOVE THAT WILL NOT LET ME GO
Style: We will be singing a more contemporary version of this song arranged by Indelible Grace. It is up-tempo and joyful with a folk-rock feel.
Song Info: The lyrics to this hymn were written in the nineteenth century by Scottish minister and hymn writer George Matheson. Though Matheson wrote several hymns, this is the only one that still enjoys popularity today. Matheson wrote this hymn on the eve of his sister's wedding. Matheson had previously been engaged himself, but his engagement was ended because he was going blind. His bride-to-be decided that she could not live the rest of her life with a blind man and broke the engagement. After that time he was cared for by his sister. But he wrote this hymn at a time when his sister would be married and no longer able to be his primary care taker. Emotionally, Matheson looked to God himself as his care taker. He said that he wrote this hymn in the time frame of five minutes.
See you Sunday!