Preparing for Worship - April 28, 2019
Why does it matter that Jesus rose bodily from the dead? Does it matter? Could Christianity survive if the historical resurrection were not true? Come and hear what the Bible has to say about these matters as we continue to focus on the resurrection of Jesus and worship the risen Christ together. Here are the songs we’ll sing Sunday:
1. How Great Thou Art
Style: We will be blending traditional and contemporary elements in this song. The melody and chords will be the familiar, traditional arrangement though we will play this song a bit more up-tempo with an alt-country feel.
Song Info: This well known hymn has a long translation history. It is based on a poem written in Swedish, then translated into German, then into Russian, then into English from the Russian. Stuart K Hine is responsible for the English version that we all know, which originated in 1949. The melody is a traditional Swedish melody. This hymn is one of the most popular of all time, second only to Amazing Grace.
This hymn makes an excellent call to worship because it is all about approaching God with an attitude of praise and thanksgiving. We are taught in Scripture to come into his presence of God with praise and thanksgiving before we come with requests or even confession of sin.
2. Good Shepherd of My Soul
Style: This is a contemporary hymn played in a celtic-folk style. It is mid-tempo and prayerful.
Song Info: This song comes to us from Stuart Townend, Keith and Kristin Getty, and Fionan de Barra. It is a prayer that Christ would dwell within us, transform our lives, and mold us into Christ-likeness. It especially reflects on the difficulty of this journey living in a fallen world. My favorite line is this:
I’ll walk this narrow road
With Christ before me,
Where thorns and thistles grow
And cords ensnare me.
Though doubted and denied,
He never leaves my side,
But lifts my head and calls me to follow.
"Thorns and thistles" is a reference to the fallen world in which we live. We walk with Christ on a narrow road in a land of thorns and thistles. The way of the Christian is difficult. But the good news is that we walk with Christ. Though we doubt him, deny him, and fail him countless times he is always with us, lifting us up and calling us anew to continue following him.
"for the righteous falls seven times and rises again..." (Proverbs 24:16)
"Seven times" indicates completion. Our failure and our sin is complete. It couldn't get any more sinful. Yet because of the presence of Christ with us we rise again and continue on the way. We cannot help but do so thanks to his grace.
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. I Need Thee Every Hour
Style: We will play this hymn in its traditional style. It is somber and prayerful.
Song Info: This nineteenth century hymn was written by the American poet and hymn writer Annie Hawks. She wrote many hymns with her pastor Robert Lowry who also wrote the famous “Nothing But the Blood”. Though this hymn came to be translated into more languages than any other hymn by the time of Hawks’ death, it was first sung in Cincinnati Ohio, appearing in a Sunday School hymn book arranged for a congregation there.
The hymn is about our continual dependance upon God. Each line opens with: “I need thee every hour”. My favorite line is: “I need thee every hour, Oh Lord Most High. Temptations lose their power when thou art nigh.”
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!