In an effort to better serve our congregation and orient new visitors to our Sunday worship gathering I've decided to publish a mid-week blog post that will give you information and media that you need in order to prepare for Sunday. Look for this each week around this time. Here's our setlist for the coming Sunday along with corresponding media and some information about the songs themselves.
1. O Come, All Ye Faithful
Style: We will be singing the traditional version of this hymn, though perhaps at a more up-tempo pace than you may have heard in the past.
Song Info: This song works well as a Call To Worship during the advent season because it is announcing that the advent of the kingdom of God has come and calling all of those who have been faithfully waiting for it to come and witness what God has done. The writing of the lyrics are attributed to John Francis Wade in 1751. This hymn was originally sung in Latin.
2. The First Noel
Style: We will sing the traditional version of this hymn. The tempo will be slow.
Song Info: "Noel" literally means "birthday". The song recounts the story of the very first announcements of the birth of our Lord. The song reminds us of the humble estate of Jesus. He is worthy to rule over us because he knows what it's like to be poor and overlooked. The author of the lyrics remains anonymous but the music was composed by John Stainer in 1833.
3. O Little Town of Bethlehem
Style: We will sing the traditional version of this hymn. It will be slow to mid-tempo.
Song Info: Phillips Brooks, an American Episcopal priest, wrote this hymn in 1868 after visiting Bethlehem in the Sanjak of Jerusalem. This song again reminds us of the humble nature of our Lord. He did not come to us with pomp and circumstance. Rather, salvation came unlooked for.
4. What Child is This?
Style: We will sing the traditional version of this hymn. It will be mid-tempo.
Song Info: The melody of this song dates back to the 16th century and is commonly known as "Greensleeves". William C. Dix wrote the lyrics. This is another song that causes us to meditate on the humble nature of Christ. "This! This! Is Christ the king". This unlikely, unlooked for, unadorned, poor child is actually the anointed one of God. The audio included here does not exactly match the version we will sing, but it does give an idea about the tempo, melody, and feel that we'll be going for.
5. Angels We Have Heard on High
Style: We will sing the traditional version of this hymn. It will be more up-tempo with a spirit of celebration.
Song Info: This song works well as a "sending song" because of its celebratory feel. "Gloria in excelsis Deo" is Latin for "Glory to God in the Highest". It is a hymn of praise and rejoicing sung in response to the wonderful grace of God that we have found in Christ Jesus. The melody is a traditional french melody but our modern arrangement was put together by Edward Barnes in 1937.
See you Sunday!