Preparing For Worship - Sunday March 13
You can view our entire order of worship by clicking here. We will not celebrate communion this coming Sunday because of a lack of an ordained teaching elder. We will have an extra song in place of communion. Here are the songs we'll sing together this week:
1. ALL CREATURES OF OUR GOD AND KING
Style: We will play the traditional version of this song which is markedly different from the popular contemporary version. The time signature will be noticeably different and the music is more complex and beautiful. But the melody line remains essentially the same. It is mid-tempo, joyful, and Orchestral.
Song Info: The words to this hymn may be originally ascribed to Saint Francis of Assisi in 1225. They are contained in his poem A Canticle to the Sun which was inspired by Psalm 148. William Draper translated the words into English in the late nineteenth century. The music comes from a popular German hymn from 1623 composed by Friedrich Spee. All in all, this song has a very rich history. This is a great song for a call to worship because it is calling all creatures (created things) to enter into the presence of the creator to worship and give thanks to him. In the song Francis explores multiple characters in creation and calls them to praise and thank God. Since we will not sing all of the verses on Sunday I will include a seldom-sung verse that is still very powerful:
"Earth ever fertile, day by day
bring forth your blessings on our way;
All flowers and fruits that is you grow,
let the his glory also show;
O praise him, O praise him,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! "
The Lord's Day is a wonderful day to stop from our normal activity to observe the continual activity of God in upholding his creation. This song causes us to remember the glorious world that God has made and give him thanks for making it and putting us in it.
2. TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS
Style: We will play the traditional version of this song. It is low-tempo, peaceful, and contemplative.
Song Info: This song comes to us from 1882. The lyrics were written by Louisa Stead and the melody by William Kirkpatrick. The backstory to this song is perhaps true, perhaps legend. It appears that Stead's husband died prematurely in a tragic accident. This made Stead's life very difficult as a single mother caring for a little girl. Their family fell into poverty where they had to learn how to trust Jesus to provide for their needs. Eventually the mother and daughter moved to South Africa to serve as missionaries.
This song is appropriate here because it prepares our hearts to hear God's word. "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take him at his word, just in simple faith to trust him, just to know 'thus saith' the Lord." As we sing this song, this sentiment ought to be our prayer. Whatever Jesus has to say to us in the unfolding of his preached word, we are ready to hear and believe.
3. SPEAK, O LORD
Style: This is a contemporary song done in a low-tempo and contemplative tone.
Song Info: This is another modern hymn written by Stuart Townend and the Gettys. Their mission in hymn-writing, it seems, is to write modern hymns that are musically excellent and maintain the integrity and theological depth of the famous hymns of the past. And they have been very successful in this endeavor. We sing this song at this point in worship because we are preparing our hearts to hear God's word in the sermon. This song focuses on God's word and the power of God's word to transform our hearts, bring us to worship and obedience, and build up his church.
4. WHAT WONDROUS LOVE IS THIS?
Style: We will play the traditional version of this hymn. It is slow and somber yet contains lots of energy.
Song Info: This song comes to us from 1811 and the American South. It is often considered a spiritual and was written during the Second Great Awakening. The author of the lyrics is probably anonymous but the melody is based on a traditional English melody. For the music geeks out there, this hymn is sung in the Dorian mode which gives it its haunting quality. There were traditionally 6 verses, though we will only sing 4 of these.
This is a great hymn to sing after hearing the sermon and before celebrating the Lord's Supper. In the sermon we hear of God's love in giving us his Son. This song celebrates the giving of the Son and prepares our hearts to receive him in the Lord's Supper.
5. HELP MY UNBELIEF
Style: This is another low-tempo song done in a contemporary and somewhat indie-rock kind of style.
Song Info: This song was originally composed by John Newton (also responsible for Amazing Grace) in the eighteenth century. It was rearranged by Clint Wells in 2005 and recorded by Red Mountain Band. The lyrics to this song are stunning. We place it after the sermon in order to help us respond to the gospel and prepare our hearts to receive Christ in communion. The song is a confession of sin and a confession of our need for God's grace. The song confesses rightly that we cannot even respond to God unless he helps us:
"I would but can’t repent,
though I endeavor oft;
This stony heart can ne’er relent
till Jesus makes it soft."
6. AND CAN IT BE?
Style: We will play the traditional music for this song while including drums. It will be the familiar tune with a bit more energy.
Song Info: This hymn is likely one of the best loved of Charles Wesley's 6000 hymns that he wrote. The song was written in 1738 as a celebration of Wesley's conversion. The line: "I woke, the dungeon flamed with light/ my chains fell off, my heart was free/ I rose went forth and followed thee" are often quoted in sermons. This song fits well at this point in worship because we are acknowledging our need for conversion. Some of us need to be converted for the first time, some of us need a fresh experience of grace to stir up our obedience. We look to hear of God's grace in the sermon that follows.
See you Sunday!