Preparing for Worship - November 11, 2018
Join us this Sunday as we continue in our series in Hebrews by looking at the latter half of Hebrews chapter 12. Here are the songs we’ll sing together:
1. A Song for the Sabbath (Psalm 92)
Style - This is a contemporary tune done in a country style. It is mid-tempo, joyful, and full of energy.
Song Info - The lyrics of this song were penned by Isaac Watts in the eighteenth century as part of his attempt to Christianize the Psalter. What this meant what that he took the 150 Psalms, set them to meter and rhyme, and attempted to make allusions to Christ more clear and to add gospel language to the Psalms where appropriate. Psalm 92 is called in Scripture "A Song for the Sabbath", and so that is what it's called here. It is a Psalm of thanksgiving that focuses on giving thanks for the work of God. Verses 4-5 say:
For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
How great are your works, O Lord!
Your thoughts are very deep!
This reminds us that the Sabbath is a time when we cease from our work in order to enjoy the work of God, to contemplate his works, and to allow him to continue to work in us. While we rest on the Sabbath, God is at work to preserve and perfect his people. These lyrics were set to music composed by Billy Otten, worship leader here at Faith Church.
2. Be Still My Soul
Style: We will sing this classic hymn in its traditional style. It is low-tempo, somber, and contemplative.
Song Info: The melody to this hymn was composed in 1900 by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. It was written to be a Finnish patriotic song. But the melody is so good and has become so popular that is has been since used as the melody for six different Christian hymns and various other songs. The lyrics were originally written in German by Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel in 1752.
Altogether this is a stunning hymn. Its content is especially appropriate for those who are suffering. The great theme of this song is that though this Christian life (and all life on earth) is full of suffering, we have hope and comfort in Jesus Christ through his resurrection from the dead. The hymn calls us to be patient in tribulation and to rejoice in hope. Though we suffer now because of illness, tragedy, sin, persecution, and repentance we have the sure and certain hope of resurrection. This makes it so that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us when Jesus returns.
This is an appropriate time in worship to sing this song because it helps us move from praising the glory and grace of God to recognizing our own fallen condition.
3. What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Style: We will play this hymn in its traditional style. It is low-tempo and prayerful.
Song Info: This famous and beloved hymn was written in 1855 by Joseph Scriven. This tune, like many great tunes, was not originally written to be seen by anyone but the author's mother. He wrote it for her to comfort her in a time of trouble. The hymn focuses on the blessing of prayer and meditates on the wonderful privilege it is to be able to approach the living God in prayer.
4. Love Lifted Me
Style: We play a contemporary version of this hymn which is upbeat with a motown feel.
Song Info: Love Lifted Me is a classic, American hymn which has been covered and repurposed by artists such as Alan Jackson and Kenny Rogers. It was originally written by James Rowe in the early 20th century. The song very much captures the spirit of early 20th century American, protestant religion, emphasizing a personal encounter with the savior and exhorting all to “be saved today!” The version we play was rearranged by the Sing Team on their 2017 release Sing On.
5. Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending
Style: We will play this in its traditional version. It is up tempo and joyful.
Song Info: This hymn was one of the many famous (and forgotten) hymns of Charles Wesley. Inspired by Revelation 1:7, John 20:24-31, Revelation 22:20, and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, this hymn is about an eager anticipation of the return of Christ. Sometimes it is sung as an Advent hymn because of its focus on the coming of Christ. But it is appropriate for all seasons. The church should sing "O Come Quickly!" as she thinks about her long sojourn on earth in this age. This hymn helps us to not be too closely attached to this world and to eagerly anticipate the coming of the kingdom of God in glory.
See you Sunday!