For the next few Sundays we will continue to focus on the narratives of the early life of Jesus in our series "O Little Town of Bethlehem". We will, however, be shifting gears musically. As we come out of advent we'll continue to play traditional hymns in traditional ways but we'll also return to many contemporary worship songs that we learned together the past quarter. Here's what's in store for Sunday:
1. Come People of the Risen King
Style: This is an up-tempo contemporary hymn that is performed in a celtic style. The usual instrumentation for this hymn would include various strings, piano, and even wind instruments. We'll be playing this song with viola, cello, guitar, and piano. It should make for a beautiful arrangement.
Song Info: This song was written in 2007 by Keith & Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend. Townend is an English born worship leader and modern hymn writer who is responsible for hymns such as: "In Christ Alone" and "How Deep The Father's Love For Us". His songs are often mistaken to be classic, traditional hymns. This song functions as a great call to worship because it is calling the people of the risen king to come and worship him - whoever they may be. "Come young and old from every land, men and women of the faith". This song reminds us that Jesus, by his death and resurrection, has created a most diverse people that includes men, women, young, and old from every tribe, nation, and tongue.
2. All Glory Be To Christ
Style: This is a newer song played to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. You will recognize the melody, though the chords are a bit different. The song has a lot of energy but it is played at a slower tempo. It has something of an indie-rock feel.
Song Info: Played to the tune of Auld Lang Syne, this song was arranged by Kings Kaleidoscope and lyrics written by Dustin Kensrue. Kensrue is responsible for writing many excellent contemporary hymns and worship songs that we play at Faith. Auld Lang Syne is traditionally sung around the New Year because it is a song of farewell. It bids adieu to the old year in order to welcome the new. Lyrically, this version of the song is about giving all glory to Christ, which is an appropriate parallel. If we've accomplished anything good in the past year, let's use this opportunity to give glory to Christ and thank him for establishing the work of our hands.
3. Come Ye Sinners
Style: We will be playing a contemporary, modified version of this hymn. One of the shining virtues of the traditional hymn is its haunting melody. Thankfully, the version we are playing preserves the original melody and nearly all of the original lyrics. It's updated slightly to suit popular modern tastes.
Song Info: The lyrics were written by Joseph Hart in the 18th century. Hart was a hymn writer and minister in London, but he did not become converted until age 45. For much of his life he lived in opposition to God. This hymn seems particularly suited to his story. My favorite line is: "Come ye weary, heavy laden, lost and ruined by the fall. If you tarry til you're better you will never come at all." This version of the song was arranged and produced by Sojourn Church in Louisville Kentucky. Sojourn is a young, but large, reformed congregation in Louisville that is responsible for producing much excellent music and planting many healthy churches around the United States.
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. 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!