Preparing for Worship - January 27, 2019
Join us this Sunday as we continue in our series in Matthew’s gospel. Here are the songs we’ll sing together:
1. A Song for the Sabbath (Psalm 92)
Style - This is a contemporary tune done in a country style. It is mid-tempo, joyful, and full of energy.
Song Info - The lyrics of this song were penned by Isaac Watts in the eighteenth century as part of his attempt to Christianize the Psalter. What this meant what that he took the 150 Psalms, set them to meter and rhyme, and attempted to make allusions to Christ more clear and to add gospel language to the Psalms where appropriate. Psalm 92 is called in Scripture "A Song for the Sabbath", and so that is what it's called here. It is a Psalm of thanksgiving that focuses on giving thanks for the work of God. Verses 4-5 say:
For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
How great are your works, O Lord!
Your thoughts are very deep!
This reminds us that the Sabbath is a time when we cease from our work in order to enjoy the work of God, to contemplate his works, and to allow him to continue to work in us. While we rest on the Sabbath, God is at work to preserve and perfect his people. These lyrics were set to music composed by Billy Otten, worship leader here at Faith Church.
2. Lead On, Lead On
Style: This song is low tempo and prayerful. It’s a contemporary hymn.
Song Info: This song appeared on Stuart Townend’s 2018 release Courage. Townend is regarded by many as a modern hymn writer, having written such modern classics as How Deep the Father’s Love for Us and In Christ Alone. This particular song focuses on the theme of discipleship and is a prayer for Jesus to lead us, step by step, throughout a dangerous and dark world toward the eternal kingdom.
3. 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.
4. Heal Us
Style: This is a low-tempo and yet very energetic song. It's done is a classic mo-town/gospel style.
Song Info: This tune is an adaptation of the hymn: "Heal Us Emmanuel Hear Our Prayer" which was written in the 18th century by William Cowper. Cowper was a poet and hymn writer but also suffered from depression and attempted suicide on more than one occasion. This song beseeches the Christ, God with us, to touch us and heal us where we most need healing. It draws on different narratives in the gospels in which Jesus healed broken people. The version you hear here was arranged by Kevin Twit of Indelible Grace. It appears on their 2015 release: "Look to Jesus".
This is a very appropriate song to play as we prepare to receive the Lord's Supper. In the Lord's Supper we come to the Lord himself not just to receive the elements, but to receive Christ by faith. Jesus is the ultimate medicine that heals our guilt, blindness, sinfulness, and shame.
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.
See you Sunday!