Preparing for Worship - July 30, 2017
Join us this Sunday as we continue in our series on the Sermon on the Mount. To view our full liturgy click here. Here are the songs we'll sing together:
1. REJOICE (COME AND STAND BEFORE YOUR MAKER)
Style: This is a contemporary, up-tempo song that is perfect for a call to worship.
Song Info: This song was written as a collaborative effort between two of my favorite worship artists: Stuart Townend and Dustin Kensrue. It first appeared on Kensrue's 2013 album The Water and the Blood - in my opinion one of the greatest modern worship albums released in a long time. This song calls us to rejoice in the Lord, our maker. It leads us to sing and meditate on God's infinite perfections. It's appropriate here because we should come to God first with praise and adoration. Before we confess our sin, before we acknowledge our needs, before we make any requests we ought to first praise God and adore him for who he is.
2. HOLY, HOLY, HOLY
Style: We will play the traditional version of this song with a "folk rock" sort of feel. It will be mid-tempo.
Song Info: This hymn is one of the most famous and popular hymns of all time. It was written by Reginald Heber in the late 18th century. Its main focus is on the Trinity. It was even written to be used on "Trinity Sunday" but it has become much more widely used and beloved. It's appropriate at this moment in the worship service because we are still meditating on the transcendence and glory of God but also beginning to recognize our own inadequacies. The hymn sings: "...though the eyes of sinful man thy glory may not see."
3. 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.
4. HE WILL HOLD ME FAST
Style: This is a contemporary song that could easily be mistaken for a traditional hymn. It is low-tempo and prayerful.
Song info: The lyrics to this popular song were originally written by Ada Habershon (1861-1918). Although the original hymn never enjoyed much popularity and has been completely overtaken by this contemporary version. It was revived by Matthew Merker, worship pastor at Capital Hill Baptist Church, in 2013 and since has been covered by many other worship artists.
The content of the song focuses on Christ's faithfulness to his people. Rather than singing that "we will cling to him!", we sing in this song "he will hold me fast!" The most memorable line says: "I could never keep my hold/ through life's fearful path/ for my love is often cold/ he must hold me fast". Singing this reminds us that Jesus is the author and perfecter of our salvation. If not for his faithfulness to us we would surely fall away. As Johannes Gerhardus Vos has put it, if Jesus died only to make it possible for people to be saved, then not a single person would be saved. Jesus did not only die for us but also is constantly at work through the Holy Spirit to give us the grace we need to respond to him.
5. IN CHRIST ALONE
Style: This is a contemporary song that is oft mistaken for a classic hymn. It is mid-tempo and done in the style of a traditional hymn.
Song Info: This is one of many songs that we play written by Stuart Townend. It was produced in 2001 but already is enjoying endurance as a modern hymn and will likely enjoy popularity in the church for generations to come. The content of the song focuses on salvation through Christ alone. It touches on themes familiar to classic hymns such as On Christ The Solid Rock I Stand. This is an appropriate moment in worship to sing this song together because we are beginning to incline our hearts to hear the word of God in hopes of hearing about the grace of God in the gospel. Hearing the gospel strengthens us in our sinful state to overcome sin here and now.
6. ROCK OF AGES
Style: We are playing a newer version of this hymn arranged by Dustin Kensrue. It is up-tempo and celebratory with an "indie rock" feel.
Song Info: The original hymn was written in 1763 by Augustus Toplady. Legend has it that one fateful evening Toplady was caught in the wilderness in the midst of a dangerous storm. He took shelter in the cleft of a large rock and this became the inspiration for the hymn: "Rock of ages cleft for me/ let me hide myself in thee." The hymn picks up on the biblical image of Jesus Christ being a "rock of refuge" for his people. The storm of God's wrath will sweep over the earth in order to remove sin. Sinners may take refuge in Jesus Christ to survive this storm.
This hymn was redone by Dustin Kensrue in 2013 and appeared on his album The Water and the Blood. It is appropriate at this moment in worship because of it's celebratory note. In the sermon we've heard about Jesus' work as rescuer and now we are able to enjoy our salvation and celebrate the refuge that he offers to us.
See you Sunday!