Preparing for Worship - August 18, 2019

Join us this Sunday as we finish up our series in the Psalms with a look at Psalm 22. This is one of the darker Psalms in the psalter and it contains the famous words that Jesus uttered from the cross - “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” Here are the songs we’ll sing together:

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.

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2. The Solid Rock

Style: This is a nineteenth century hymn that is low-tempo and prayerful. We will play the traditional version.

Info: This song is also known as "Christ the Solid Rock", "On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand", or "My Hope is Built on Nothing Less". This classic hymn was written by Edward Mote (words) and William Bradbury (music) in 1863. The content focuses on the righteousness of Christ alone as our sure hope for salvation - the solid rock upon which we stand. Though our circumstances in life are constantly changing, though our own righteousness is unreliable and faulty, we have the righteousness of Christ which is unchanging and perfect.

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3. Great is Thy Faithfulness

Style: We will play this song in its traditional style. It is low-tempo and melodic.

Info: This popular hymn was written in America as a poem in 1923 by Thomas Chisholm. It was set to music shortly afterward by William Runyan. It is based on Lamentations 3:22-23 - "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." This truth was called to mind by the prophet Jeremiah after Jerusalem was destroyed and his people taken into captivity in Babylon. The faithfulness of God is called to mind in the midst of tragedy and punishment in order to inspire hope that God will again be gracious and will not leave his people even as he is chastising them.

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4. We Will Feast In The House Of Zion

Style: This is a contemporary, mid-tempo song that comes out of Nashville. It is prayerful and has a folk-rock flavor.

Song info: Appearing on her 2015 release Psalms, this song is a favored tune from Sandra McCracken. Since its publication is has enjoyed such honor as being The Gospel Coalition's official anthem for their 2015 annual conference. The entire album, including this song, was wrought out of a season of grief for McCracken as she struggled through the dissolution of her marriage due to infidelity. Many of the songs on Psalms are lament songs - songs expressing grief and pain to God. This is appropriate because most of the Psalms are Psalms of lament. Songs like this teach us how to direct our grief, anger, and sorrow toward God who is our healer.

This song is not based on any one Psalm but draws on themes from many of the "songs of Zion" that are found in the Psalter such as Psalms 46, 48, 76, 84, 87, and 122. This song also draws on themes found in Psalms of confidence such as Psalms 115, 125, and 129.

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5. Rock of Ages

Style: We are playing a newer version of this hymn arranged by Dustin Kensrue. It is up-tempo and celebratory with an "indie rock" feel.

Song Info: The original hymn was written in 1763 by Augustus Toplady. Legend has it that one fateful evening Toplady was caught in the wilderness in the midst of a dangerous storm. He took shelter in the cleft of a large rock and this became the inspiration for the hymn: "Rock of ages cleft for me/ let me hide myself in thee." The hymn picks up on the biblical image of Jesus Christ being a "rock of refuge" for his people. The storm of God's wrath will sweep over the earth in order to remove sin. Sinners may take refuge in Jesus Christ to survive this storm.

This hymn was redone by Dustin Kensrue in 2013 and appeared on his album The Water and the Blood. It is appropriate at this moment in worship because of it's celebratory note. In the sermon we've heard about Jesus' work as rescuer and now we are able to enjoy our salvation and celebrate the refuge that he offers to us.

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See you Sunday!