Preparing for Worship - May 29, 2016
To view a full order of worship click here. Here are the songs we'll sing together on Sunday:
1. O Church of Christ Invincible
Style: This is a modern hymn done in a mid-tempo, english folk style. Like much of Townend's work it is reminiscent of a Beatles song.
Song Info: This song appears on Stuart Townend's newest release - Paths of Grace. It is a hymn of the church meant to draw our attention to truths about what it means to be God's people. The four verses work through some of the hopeful but painful realities of what it means to be the church. In order, they begin with these lines:
"O Church of Christ, invincible...
O chosen people called by grace...
O Church of Christ in sorrow now...
O Church of Christ, upon that day..."
The hymn recognizes that the church is the work of God and cannot be defeated by the devil, she is called by God's grace, she lives in an age where she can expect to suffer because of her faith, but she awaits a wonderful day of vindication and ultimate salvation when Jesus returns.
2. A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD
Style: We will play the traditional version of this song. It is low to mid-tempo though the melody and content of the song are very triumphal and full of energy.
Song Info: This famous hymn dates back to the sixteenth century and was written and composed by the German reformer Martin Luther. Luther wrote many hymns, but this is by far his most successful. In the nineteenth century there was some controversy as to whether or not Luther wrote the music, but recent scholarship on the issue suggests that he indeed did.
This hymn is a paraphrase of Psalm 46 and, in typical Luther fashion, very much focuses on spiritual warfare. The song is about the trials that we face in choosing to follow Christ - both sorrow in this age and also especial hardship that comes from the assaults of Satan. It is also about the glorious victory that we already have in Christ. This was something of a life-theme for Luther, who himself face many trials and was chiefly responsible for the reformation in Germany. This is one of my favorite hymns of all time.
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.
Our own Damon Gray took the time to chart out a lead sheet of this version. May it bless the church at large. See below:
4. Jesus Christ, Grow Thou in Me
Style: This song is done in the style of a traditional hymn to the tune of St Columba. It is low tempo, prayerful, and contemplative.
Song Info: This is a song that you might only hear at Faith. It's a mash-up of two old hymns. The lyrics are taken from "O Jesus Christ, Grow Thou in Me." Written by Johann C. Lavater in the eighteenth century, the hymn is a prayer for growth in Christ likeness. The tune is called St Columba and is the tune for other popular hymns such as How Sweet and Awesome is the Place. St Columba is a traditional Irish tune.
5. THE POWER OF THE CROSS
Style: This is a contemporary song that is mid-tempo with a powerful hook.
Song Info: This is one of many songs that we sing that was written by Stuart Townend and the Getty family. It first appeared in 2005.
It is appropriate to sing this song as a celebratory and benedictorial song though it could also work as a post-sermon song. This song recounts Jesus' death on the cross in details found in the gospel accounts, appropriates his death to our own lives, and celebrates all the benefits of salvation.
See you Sunday!