Preparing for Worship - June 4, 2017
Join us this Sunday as we continue in the Sermon on the Mount by looking at Matthew 5:33-37 - "Let Your Yes Be Yes". Here Jesus tells us how being his disciple affects the way that we talk. Our words should be so solid and trustworthy that complicated oaths and promises are completely unnecessary. The problem is that we live in a world of contracts, promises, and oaths precisely because everyone knows that words are unreliable. How could it be any different? Join us this week to find out. View our full liturgy here. Here are the songs we'll sing together:
1. GOD ALL NATURE SINGS THY GLORY
Style: This song is set to the tune of the familiar "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" and "Ode To Joy". We will play the traditional melody with a mid-tempo. The style is traditional and joyful.
Song Info: The melody to this song goes all the way back to Ludwig Van Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" found in his Symphony No. 9. It has been adapted multiple times for hymns and even secular music. The most famous adaptation is probably "Hymn to Joy" penned at the turn of the 20th century. The lyrics to this particular version are considered by many to be a significant advancement in terms of communicating biblical truth. They were written by David Clowney in 1960. David Clowney was the son of the great Edmund Clowney who served as a presbyterian minister, theologian, and president of Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia.
This song fits well as a call to worship because it focuses on themes of God's glory seen in creation: "God all nature sings thy glory and thy works proclaim thy might/ ordered vastness in the heavens, ordered course of day and night". You can tell that the hymn writer was presbyterian by the emphasis on "order" (little joke). The hymn then turns to man's dignity - not a subject often taken up in worship music. "Clearer still we see thy hand in man whom thou hast made for thee/ ruler of creation's glory, image of thy majesty." It is right to praise God for his works and for creating us in his image before we meditate upon our sinful condition.
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.
3. OH THE DEEP DEEP LOVE OF JESUS
Style: We will play this song in its traditional style. The traditional version lends itself well to adding drums and it has the feel of a rolling waltz. It is mid-tempo and somber.
Song Info: This popular hymn was written by Samuel Trevor Francis in the nineteenth century. The limitless, unfathomable depths of the love of Jesus for his people is the great subject of this song. Here we sing that Jesus' love is: "vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!". Our sin may be great, but it is measurable. Even our sin has its limit. But the scope of our sin is not comparable to the love of Jesus. His love is "unmeasured, boundless". It is infinitely greater than our sin.
We incline our ears to hear of this love in the sermon and so this song should prepare our hearts to hear the word of God.
4. HOW DEEP THE FATHER'S LOVE FOR US
Style: This is a contemporary song performed in an unusual 5/4 timing. It sounds like a classic hymn though it was written in 1995.
Song Info: This is another song produced by Stuart Townend. Written in 1995, it has become one of the most popular worship songs in the church over the past two decades. And like much of Townend's other work, this song shows signs that it will have an enduring legacy and long tenure. The love that Jesus has shown for us in his work on the cross is often recognized. But sometimes the love of the Father is not given the attention it deserves. The content of this song focuses on the love that the Father has shown to us in sending and giving his Son. It's not just that the Son has loved us by dying for us. The Father has loved us by offering up the Son as a sacrifice for sins. This is a rare song that focuses on the sacrifice that the Father made for our salvation.
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!