Preparing for Worship - July 21, 2019

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Join us this Sunday as we continue in our series in the Psalms. This Sunday we look at Psalm 25 which is a plea for help in the midst of trouble. Here are the songs we’ll sing together:

1. How Great Thou Art

Style: We will be blending traditional and contemporary elements in this song. The melody and chords will be the familiar, traditional arrangement though we will play this song a bit more up-tempo with an alt-country feel.

Song Info: This well known hymn has a long translation history. It is based on a poem written in Swedish, then translated into German, then into Russian, then into English from the Russian. Stuart K Hine is responsible for the English version that we all know, which originated in 1949. The melody is a traditional Swedish melody. This hymn is one of the most popular of all time, second only to Amazing Grace.

This hymn makes an excellent call to worship because it is all about approaching God with an attitude of praise and thanksgiving. We are taught in Scripture to come into his presence of God with praise and thanksgiving before we come with requests or even confession of sin.

Sheet MusicAudio

2. Be Still My Soul

Style: We will sing this classic hymn in its traditional style. It is low-tempo, somber, and contemplative.

Song Info: The melody to this hymn was composed in 1900 by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. It was written to be a Finnish patriotic song. But the melody is so good and has become so popular that is has been since used as the melody for six different Christian hymns and various other songs. The lyrics were originally written in German by Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel in 1752.

Altogether this is a stunning hymn. Its content is especially appropriate for those who are suffering. The great theme of this song is that though this Christian life (and all life on earth) is full of suffering, we have hope and comfort in Jesus Christ through his resurrection from the dead. The hymn calls us to be patient in tribulation and to rejoice in hope. Though we suffer now because of illness, tragedy, sin, persecution, and repentance we have the sure and certain hope of resurrection. This makes it so that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us when Jesus returns.

This is an appropriate time in worship to sing this song because it helps us move from praising the glory and grace of God to recognizing our own fallen condition.

Sheet MusicAudio

3. 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.

Lead Sheet (found in the Red Mountain Songbook), Audio

4. Love Lifted Me

Style: We play a contemporary version of this hymn which is upbeat with a motown feel.

Song Info: Love Lifted Me is a classic, American hymn which has been covered and repurposed by artists such as Alan Jackson and Kenny Rogers. It was originally written by James Rowe in the early 20th century. The song very much captures the spirit of early 20th century American, protestant religion, emphasizing a personal encounter with the savior and exhorting all to “be saved today!” The version we play was rearranged by the Sing Team on their 2017 release Sing On.

Sheet Music, Audio

5. And Can It Be?

Style: We will play the traditional music for this song while including drums. It will be the familiar tune with a bit more energy.

Song Info: This hymn is likely one of the best loved of Charles Wesley's 6000 hymns that he wrote. The song was written in 1738 as a celebration of Wesley's conversion. The line: "I woke, the dungeon flamed with light/ my chains fell off, my heart was free/ I rose went forth and followed thee" are often quoted in sermons. This song fits well at this point in worship because we are acknowledging our need for conversion. Some of us need to be converted for the first time, some of us need a fresh experience of grace to stir up our obedience. We look to hear of God's grace in the sermon that follows.

Sheet MusicAudio

See you Sunday!