Preparing for Worship - June 9, 2019
Join us this Sunday as we continue in our series in the Psalms. This week we will begin to look at Psalm 139 and what it has to say about God’s knowledge of all things - including his intimate knowledge of us. 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. Begone Unbelief
Style: We will play this song in its traditional style. It is low-tempo, magisterial, and prayerful.
Song Info: This hymn was written by John Newton in the eighteenth century. Newton is most famous for his hymn Amazing Grace. This hymn focuses on faithfulness to Jesus throughout the trials and sufferings of life. In that regard, its subject matter is similar to hymns like Be Still My Soul and It Is Well With My Soul. This hymn is less well known that the latter mentioned but its content is just as rich.
3. The Solid Rock
Style: This is a nineteenth century hymn that is low-tempo and prayerful. We will play the traditional version.
Info: This song is also known as "Christ the Solid Rock", "On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand", or "My Hope is Built on Nothing Less". This classic hymn was written by Edward Mote (words) and William Bradbury (music) in 1863. The content focuses on the righteousness of Christ alone as our sure hope for salvation - the solid rock upon which we stand. Though our circumstances in life are constantly changing, though our own righteousness is unreliable and faulty, we have the righteousness of Christ which is unchanging and perfect.
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!