Preparing for Worship - October 14, 2018
Join us this Sunday as we continue in our series in the book of Hebrews. Making good progress, we enter this week into the famous Hebrews 11. This chapter is sometimes called the “Hall of Faith” because faith is the central subject of the passage and it recounts the examples of many faithful men and women from Scripture in order to encourage us to remain faithful to God in the midst of trials and uncertainty. Here are the songs we’ll sing together:
1. To God All Praise and Glory
Style: This is a contemporary song which is joyful and resembles the 70s space-rock, dancehall jams of Electric Light Orchestra.
Song Info: This song is an adaptation of the classic hymn "Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above", originally written by Johann Jakob Schutz in 1675. The Lyrics have not really been altered and the melody has also remained similar. But the feel of the song has changed dramatically. This new arrangement by Brian Eichelberger of Seattle's The Sing Team is responsible for this version. It's theme is Soli Deo Gloria - that glory and praise is due to God alone.
2. Amazing Grace (I’ve Got a Reason to Sing)
Style: This is a new take on the classic hymn. It sounds very similar to the traditional hymn and will be very familiar, but this version has taken on a late 70's disco feel.
Song Info: This version of Amazing Grace was arranged by Brian Eichelberger of The Sing Team (Seattle) and released on their 2017 release. Amazing Grace was originally written by John Newton and published in 1779. Amazing Grace has today come to be one of the most recognizable songs in the English speaking world. It was originally written to illustrate a New Years Day sermon. Newton was a former slave trader who became an Anglican minister. The subject of this hymn is God's amazing grace. God's grace is what originally opened our eyes to our sin and also showed us the mercy of God in Christ. God's grace is what carries us through life - through many dangers toils and snares. And when we arrive in glory it will be thanks to God's grace and we will still be singing the praises of his glorious grace.
3. Only Your Blood is Enough
Style: This is a contemporary and mid-tempo song. It has an indie-rock feel.
Song Info: This song was produced as part of a collection that Sojourn Church produced of re-tooled Isaac Watts hymns. Though this song is unique enough to be considered original, it is adapted from Isaac Watt's Psalm 51 Part 2. The lyrics and music were written by Neil Robins and it was released on Over the Grave in 2009. This song is appropriate at this point in the service because it recognizes the need for a savior. We have sung about God's goodness, our sin, and now we will sing about our need for a savior. As the song says: "No bleeding bird, no bleeding beast, no hyssop branch, no priest, no running brook, no flood, no sea can wash away this stain from me. Only your blood is enough to cover my sin." Here, with an eye on our sin, we ought to prepare our hearts to hear the sermon and to hear about the hope we have in the gospel of Christ.
4. Heal Us
Style: This is a low-tempo and yet very energetic song. It's done is a classic mo-town/gospel style.
Song Info: This tune is an adaptation of the hymn: "Heal Us Emmanuel Hear Our Prayer" which was written in the 18th century by William Cowper. Cowper was a poet and hymn writer but also suffered from depression and attempted suicide on more than one occasion. This song beseeches the Christ, God with us, to touch us and heal us where we most need healing. It draws on different narratives in the gospels in which Jesus healed broken people. The version you hear here was arranged by Kevin Twit of Indelible Grace. It appears on their 2015 release: "Look to Jesus".
This is a very appropriate song to play as we prepare to receive the Lord's Supper. In the Lord's Supper we come to the Lord himself not just to receive the elements, but to receive Christ by faith. Jesus is the ultimate medicine that heals our guilt, blindness, sinfulness, and shame.
5. New Again
Style: This song is up-tempo with a very celebratory spirit. It is perfect as a benedictorial, sending song. Worship will conclude with a recognition that Christ has risen in victory and a call to go and tell the world.
Song Info: This song was written and produced by Brooks Ritter and Mike Cosper of Sojourn Church in Louisville Kentucky. It is a celebration of the victory of the resurrection. "Death is defeated and Jesus reigns, tell the world there is hope in his name". In the name of Jesus we have hope that, though we will suffer death, we too will rise in victory. Death cannot defeat the people of God because death could not defeat Jesus - the king of God's people. This song sends us out into the world in hope and with the message of the gospel in our heart and on our lips.
See you Sunday!