Preparing for Worship - November 26, 2017
Join us this Sunday as we near the end of our sermon series in Philippians. This Sunday we look at Philippians 4:2-7 and a very famous passage about giving thanks in all circumstances. Paul tells the church to rejoice and to give thanks in all situations where we would instead be inclined to anxiety and despair. Why is thanksgiving so powerful and important? Join us as we talk about this. Here are the songs that we'll sing together:
1. GOD ALL NATURE SINGS THY GLORY
Style: This song is set to the tune of the familiar "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" and "Ode To Joy". We will play the traditional melody with a mid-tempo. The style is traditional and joyful.
Song Info: The melody to this song goes all the way back to Ludwig Van Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" found in his Symphony No. 9. It has been adapted multiple times for hymns and even secular music. The most famous adaptation is probably "Hymn to Joy" penned at the turn of the 20th century. The lyrics to this particular version are considered by many to be a significant advancement in terms of communicating biblical truth. They were written by David Clowney in 1960. David Clowney was the son of the great Edmund Clowney who served as a presbyterian minister, theologian, and president of Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia.
This song fits well as a call to worship because it focuses on themes of God's glory seen in creation: "God all nature sings thy glory and thy works proclaim thy might/ ordered vastness in the heavens, ordered course of day and night". You can tell that the hymn writer was presbyterian by the emphasis on "order" (little joke). The hymn then turns to man's dignity - not a subject often taken up in worship music. "Clearer still we see thy hand in man whom thou hast made for thee/ ruler of creation's glory, image of thy majesty." It is right to praise God for his works and for creating us in his image before we meditate upon our sinful condition.
2. 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.
3. PASS ME NOT O GENTLE SAVIOR
Style: Our version will be easily recognized as the traditional melody, though we will play it in the style of Red Mountain Band with a more southern, alt-country feel. It will be mid-tempo.
Song Info: This hymn was originally written by Fanny Crosby in 1868. Crosby is one of the most famous and beloved hymn writers of the past 200 years. This song has been widely covered in its history by artists that include Bob Dylan and MC Hammer. In this song we entreat the Savior to help us, not to pass us by. This is an appropriate song for this moment in worship because after we have acknowledged God for his goodness we are turning to reflect on our own brokenness and sinful response to God. We are beginning to detect our need for a savior. As we sing this song we ought to attempt to cast off all other helps and false saviors that we turn to in order to absolve ourselves of sin. We should turn to Jesus, the true savior, and pray for his help.
4. 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.
5. 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!