Preparing for Worship - August 14, 2016
This Sunday we continue in our series on the Psalms and take a second look at Psalm 1. To view our full liturgy click here. Here are the songs we'll be singing together:
1. REJOICE (COME AND STAND BEFORE YOUR MAKER)
Style: This is a contemporary, up-tempo song that is perfect for a call to worship.
Song Info: This song was written as a collaborative effort between two of my favorite worship artists: Stuart Townend and Dustin Kensrue. It first appeared on Kensrue's 2013 album The Water and the Blood - in my opinion one of the greatest modern worship albums released in a long time. This song calls us to rejoice in the Lord, our maker. It leads us to sing and meditate on God's infinite perfections. It's appropriate here because we should come to God first with praise and adoration. Before we confess our sin, before we acknowledge our needs, before we make any requests we ought to first praise God and adore him for who he is.
2. BE THOU MY VISION
Style: We will sing a contemporary version of this hymn that will be very familiar. The version we're singing is likely the most commonly known version. It is low-tempo and contemplative.
Song Info: This is a traditional Irish hymn of unknown authorship that probably dates to the eighteenth century, though possibly comes from the sixteenth century. This hymn has been translated into dozens of languages in its lifetime and remains one of the most popular hymns ever written. The subject matter is certainly appropriate for this moment in worship. The song is about asking and allowing God to be our "all in all". As we sing, we ask God to be our vision, our wisdom, our shield, our treasure, and our comfort. That we would ascribe all glory to God, look to him for all our needs, and find all of our desires fulfilled in him is the true heart of worship.
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. CARRIED TO THE TABLE
Style: This song is a contemporary tune. It is somber, low-tempo, and contemplative.
Song Info: This is a much newer song written by Leeland Mooring and performed by the band Leeland. It first appeared on their album Sound of Melodies in 2006. The content of the song is based on the story of David and Mephibosheth found in 2 Samuel 9. Mephibosheth was Jonathan's son and king Saul's grandson. But because of a tragic accident during childhood Mephibosheth was lame in both feet. In the ancient world, when a new dynasty ascended the throne (as is just happening to David in 2 Sam 9) it was common for the new king to slaughter any living relatives of the former dynasty who might have some claim on the throne in order to secure his position.
However, because of David's deep love for Jonathan he decided that he would have kindness on his son Mephibosheth. He called him to the palace intending to give him a seat at his table and make him equal to his own sons. Mephibosheth was understandably terrified when he was called because he thought that David intended to kill him. But instead David showed him grace and he was "carried to the table" to sit next to the king all the days of his life.
This song connects this story to our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Though we, by all rights, should have been considered enemies of the king, king Jesus showed us great mercy by giving us who are crippled by sin a seat at the Father's table. This is such an appropriate song to sing before communion because we, too, are truly "carried to the table/ seated where (we) don't belong".
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!