Preparing for Worship - August 20, 2017
Join us this Sunday as we descend from the Sermon on the Mount and witness the healing ministry of Jesus. In Matthew 8:1-17 Jesus comes into contact with some figures that a Jewish Rabbi would not normally have associated with. He touches a leper and makes him clean - something a Rabbi would not have done. He also offers to enter into the house of a Roman Centurion - something a Jew in that day would not likely have done - to heal his servant. Jesus crosses all kinds of social boundaries in this passage to bring healing to those who are in great need.
To view our full liturgy click here. Here are the songs that we'll sing together:
1. HAIL TO THE LORD'S ANOINTED
Style: We are playing a contemporary, alt-country version of this old hymn/psalm. It is up-tempo and joyful.
Song Info: The lyrics to this tune were originally composed by Scottish poet, hymn-writer, and activist James Montgomery in 1822. His original lyrics are almost entirely preserved, although slightly altered, by Sandra McCracken in this version that we are singing. She also set the words to new music which she composed. Montgomery's words were based heavily on Psalm 72 and in many Psalters this song is associated with Psalm 72.
Psalm 72 is a Royal Psalm written by King David for his son Solomon. It is a plea for God to give his justice and wisdom to the king so that the reign of the king might bring forth equity and prosperity on earth. This Psalm can be applied to Jesus as "great David's greater son", who is God's anointed king forever. Hail to the Lord's anointed!
2. 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.
2. 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. BLEST IS THE MAN
Style: While this particular song was arranged recently, the tune is a familiar traditional American tune. It is low-tempo, prayerful, and having a celtic/traditional american folk feel.
Song Info: The lyrics were composed by Isaac Watts in 1719 as a part of his psalter. Isaac Watts undertook to make the psalms metrical, give them rhyme, and even to "Christianize" them in certain places. This means that wherever he believed that a psalm alluded to Jesus, he would make it more explicit. This particular song has a few examples of this. His words are a Christianized version of Psalm 32.
Psalm 32 is a Psalm of David and a psalm of an individual giving thanks to God. It was likely written some time shortly after Psalm 51 - David's famous Psalm of penitence. The Psalm recounts the blessings associated with forgiveness of sin. David likely wrote this Psalm after experiencing the agony of being confronted about his sin and being exposed. He then humbled himself with prayer and fasting and returned to fellowship with the Lord. This Psalm is likely the result of this experience.
We can sing these words with David as we prepare our hearts for the Lord's Supper, which always ought to be a time of being confronted with our sin, humbling ourselves, confessing our sin, and receiving God's assurance of pardon.
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!