Preparing for Worship - August 26, 2018
Join us this Sunday as we continue in our series in Hebrews. This week we explore the remainder of Hebrews 6 and consider what it means to "imitate those who by faith and patience inherit the promises." Here are the songs we'll sing 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. Amazing Grace (I've Got a Reason to Sing)
Style: This is a new take on the classic hymn. It sounds very similar to the traditional hymn and will be very familiar, but this version has taken on a late 70's disco feel.
Song Info: This version of Amazing Grace was arranged by Brian Eichelberger of The Sing Team (Seattle) and released on their 2017 release. Amazing Grace was originally written by John Newton and published in 1779. Amazing Grace has today come to be one of the most recognizable songs in the English speaking world. It was originally written to illustrate a New Years Day sermon. Newton was a former slave trader who became an Anglican minister. The subject of this hymn is God's amazing grace. God's grace is what originally opened our eyes to our sin and also showed us the mercy of God in Christ. God's grace is what carries us through life - through many dangers toils and snares. And when we arrive in glory it will be thanks to God's grace and we will still be singing the praises of his glorious grace.
3. Only Your Blood is Enough
Style: This is a contemporary and mid-tempo song. It has an indie-rock feel.
Song Info: This song was produced as part of a collection that Sojourn Church produced of re-tooled Isaac Watts hymns. Though this song is unique enough to be considered original, it is adapted from Isaac Watt's Psalm 51 Part 2. The lyrics and music were written by Neil Robins and it was released on Over the Grave in 2009. This song is appropriate at this point in the service because it recognizes the need for a savior. We have sung about God's goodness, our sin, and now we will sing about our need for a savior. As the song says: "No bleeding bird, no bleeding beast, no hyssop branch, no priest, no running brook, no flood, no sea can wash away this stain from me. Only your blood is enough to cover my sin." Here, with an eye on our sin, we ought to prepare our hearts to hear the sermon and to hear about the hope we have in the gospel of Christ.
4. Although We Are Weeping (Psalm 126)
Style: This is a contemporary tune done in an ambient, folk style. It is low-tempo and prayerful.
Song Info: This tune was produced by Sojourn Music and released on their 2014 album: New Again. It is heavily based on Psalm 126. Psalm 126 is a Song of Ascents, which means that it was used in Israel by pilgrims who were journeying to Jerusalem during feast times. This particular Psalm was written after the exile. It talks about the Lord restoring the fortunes of Zion - a reference to their return from exile. The Psalmist rejoices in this miracle and then turns to a plea for restoration. The land was desolate after 70 years of exile and in need of restoration of all kinds. This prayer asks God to establish the work of their hands as they go out to sow their seed and try to rebuild their lives.
This song is good for us to sing today because we too are called to busy ourselves with building the kingdom of God. The exiles of that time were called by God to return to the land and rebuild, awaiting God's promise to visit them and completely restore the kingdom. We're in a very similar spot. As we wait for Jesus' return we are called to sow seeds of the kingdom and seek to establish God's kingdom in every place. So this prayer is for the church today. Restore us, O Lord.
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!