Preparing for Worship - January 7, 2018
We start off the new year continuing in our series in Exodus. Each week we will look at one chapter of Exodus leading up to Easter, which will co-incide with the Passover story. This week we look at Exodus 3, the burning bush, and Moses' call to deliver the people of God from slavery in Egypt. Here are the songs we'll sing together:
1. Crown Him with Many Crowns
Style: We will play this hymn in its traditional style. It is magisterial and joyful.
Song Info: The lyrics to this hymn were written in 1851 by Matthew Bridges and Godfrey Thring. The tune is called "Diademata" which stands behind many other hymns, although this is its most famous setting. From an ecumenical standpoint, this is one of the most widely used hymns among various denominations and churches - appearing in hymn books from Baptist churches to the Roman Catholic Church! Originally boasting 12 verses, we will only sing its most famous 4 verses. The subject matter of this song is on the worthiness of Christ to be crowned will all power, honor, glory, and dominion.
2. ALL GLORY BE TO CHRIST
Style: This is a newer song played to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. You will recognize the melody, though the chords are a bit different. The song has a lot of energy but it is played at a slower tempo. It has something of an indie-rock feel.
Song Info: Played to the tune of Auld Lang Syne, this song was arranged by Kings Kaleidoscope and lyrics written by Dustin Kensrue. Kensrue is responsible for writing many excellent contemporary hymns and worship songs that we play at Faith. Auld Lang Syne is traditionally sung around the New Year because it is a song of farewell. It bids adieu to the old year in order to welcome the new. Lyrically, this version of the song is about giving all glory to Christ, which is an appropriate parallel. If we've accomplished anything good in the past year, let's use this opportunity to give glory to Christ and thank him for establishing the work of our hands.
3. COME YE SINNERS
Style: We will be playing a contemporary, modified version of this hymn. One of the shining virtues of the traditional hymn is its haunting melody. Thankfully, the version we are playing preserves the original melody and nearly all of the original lyrics. It's updated slightly to suit popular modern tastes.
Song Info: The lyrics were written by Joseph Hart in the 18th century. Hart was a hymn writer and minister in London, but he did not become converted until age 45. For much of his life he lived in opposition to God. This hymn seems particularly suited to his story. My favorite line is: "Come ye weary, heavy laden, lost and ruined by the fall. If you tarry til you're better you will never come at all." This version of the song was arranged and produced by Sojourn Church in Louisville Kentucky. Sojourn is a young, but large, reformed congregation in Louisville that is responsible for producing much excellent music and planting many healthy churches around the United States.
4. HE WILL HOLD ME FAST
Style: This is a contemporary song that could easily be mistaken for a traditional hymn. It is low-tempo and prayerful.
Song info: The lyrics to this popular song were originally written by Ada Habershon (1861-1918). Although the original hymn never enjoyed much popularity and has been completely overtaken by this contemporary version. It was revived by Matthew Merker, worship pastor at Capital Hill Baptist Church, in 2013 and since has been covered by many other worship artists.
The content of the song focuses on Christ's faithfulness to his people. Rather than singing that "we will cling to him!", we sing in this song "he will hold me fast!" The most memorable line says: "I could never keep my hold/ through life's fearful path/ for my love is often cold/ he must hold me fast". Singing this reminds us that Jesus is the author and perfecter of our salvation. If not for his faithfulness to us we would surely fall away. As Johannes Gerhardus Vos has put it, if Jesus died only to make it possible for people to be saved, then not a single person would be saved. Jesus did not only die for us but also is constantly at work through the Holy Spirit to give us the grace we need to respond to him.
5. ALL MY DAYS (BEAUTIFUL SAVIOR)
Style: This is a contemporary hymn done in a CCM style. It is up-tempo and joyful.
Song Info: This is one of my favorite songs from hymn writer Stuart Townend. It's subject matter reflects back on our salvation, sings a song of gladness because of it, and looks toward the fulfillment of our salvation: a new heavens and a new earth. "Where countless worshippers will share one song, and cries of 'worthy' will honor the lamb." It is appropriate at this moment in worship because of its emphasis on glory that is to come. A great reminder for us as we conclude worship and go out into the world to live as disciples of Jesus.
See you Sunday!