Preparing for Worship - May 1
This Sunday marks the final week in our sermon series: The Hope of the Resurrection. We hope that this series has filled you with hope and empowered you to live a life of hope here and now. A full order of worship for this coming Sunday can be seen by clicking here. Here are the songs we'll sing together:
1. CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY
Style: We will be singing the traditional version of this famous easter-hymn. It is up-tempo and celebratory.
Song info: This is a hymn written for Easter by Charles Wesley in 1739. Yet even in 1739, Christian song writers were taking older hymns and contemporizing them. This one was based on an older hymn by the same name that came from the 14th century. The words are set to the tune Lyra Davidica which comes from John Baptist Walsh in 1708. The content of this song focuses on the resurrection of Jesus and what it means for us. It is heavily imbued with Scripture and connects Jesus' resurrection with our hope of resurrection. Though this hymn is typically sung on Easter day, we will sing it this Sunday to close out our celebration of the Easter season.
2. HELP MY UNBELIEF
Style: This is another low-tempo song done in a contemporary and somewhat indie-rock kind of style.
Song Info: This song was originally composed by John Newton (also responsible for Amazing Grace) in the eighteenth century. It was rearranged by Clint Wells in 2005 and recorded by Red Mountain Band. The lyrics to this song are stunning. We place it after the sermon in order to help us respond to the gospel and prepare our hearts to receive Christ in communion. The song is a confession of sin and a confession of our need for God's grace. The song confesses rightly that we cannot even respond to God unless he helps us:
"I would but can’t repent,
though I endeavor oft;
This stony heart can ne’er relent
till Jesus makes it soft."
3. The Christian's Hope Can Never Fail
Style: This song is set to a contemporary melody and is played in a country-music style. It is lower tempo.
Song Info: This is another song produced by the Red Mountain Band and was released in 2006. Red Mountain specializes in finding old, sometimes lost hymns that have fallen into disuse and revitalizing them. This particular hymn comes from Gadsby's Hymnal, a hymnal produced by baptist minister William Gadsby in the nineteenth century. The main theme of this song is the sojourning life of the Christian. The opening line: "We travel through a barren land/ with dangers thick on every hand" summarizes it nicely. Though the tunes are very different, this hymn has much in common with "A Mighty Fortress is Our God". Both recognize the perilous world that we journey through as we head toward the kingdom of God. Both also recognize Jesus' inability to fail. And because Jesus cannot fail we cannot fail because we are his people and he journeys with us.
4. AH, HOLY JESUS
Style: We will play the traditional version of this hymn. It is low-tempo and perfectly suited for post-sermon reflection and preparation for the Lord's Supper.
Song Info: Ah Holy Jesus is a German hymn from 1630 by Johann Heermann. The tune itself was composed by Johann Crüger but has been used by various other composers including JS Bach and Johannes Brahms. It has a beautiful and enduring melody and equally beautiful lyrics. The song is a meditation upon the cross. Why was innocent Jesus crucified? It was not because of his sin, but ours. "Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered. The slave hath sinned and the Son hath suffered". The song concludes with a confession that we can by no means repay Jesus. All that is left for us to do is adore him and offer our lives as sacrifices of thanksgiving to the king.
5. IT IS FINISHED
Style: This is a high-energy, up-tempo song. It's a contemporary tune done in a joyful, indie-rock style typical of much of Dustin Kensrue's music. This is the first time that we have played this song, so you might want to listen to it a few times to familiarize yourself.
Song Info: This is one of my favorite worship songs right now. Written and produced by Kensrue, this song appears on his 2013 album The Water And The Blood. Nearly every song on this record is great. This song joyfully celebrates the finished work of Jesus. By his life, death, and resurrection he has reconciled us to the Father and purchased a place for us in the world to come. This is good news that is worthy of joyous celebration. Hopefully this song will help us get into that mindset and rejoice in the gospel.
See you Sunday!