Preparing for Worship - November 13, 2016
Have you ever wondered how to hear from God? This Sunday we continue in our series on the Psalms by looking at Psalm 19. Psalm 19 is a famous "wisdom psalm" that was written by David and has a lot in common with Psalm 119. By looking at Psalm 19 Matt will focus on how God reveals himself to the world - both through Scripture and through creation itself. To view our full liturgy click here. Here are the songs we'll sing together:
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. WE ARE LISTENING
Style: This is a contemporary song played in an up-tempo, alt-country style.
Song Info: This is one of many songs that we play that was produced by the people of Sojourn Church in Louisville Kentucky. It was written in 2006 by Jeremy Quillo and remains one of Sojourn's most popular songs. It is a perfect song to sing before the sermon. The refrain "We are listening to your word" says enough. We sing that we are gathered together to hear from our God and delight in his son Jesus.
4. The Sands of Time Are Sinking
Style: We will play this song in its traditional style. It is a low-tempo, prayerful, harmonious, nineteenth century hymn.
Song info: The lyrics to this hymn come to us from Scottish poet and minister's wife Ann Cousin (1824-1906). This song is based on her poem "Last Words" which seeks to lyrically convey some of the final writings of Samuel Rutherford, a Scottish minister and professor who served on the Westminster Assembly.
The song could be classified as a lament because it focuses on the reality of death and looks forward to the glories of heaven. Because of this it is often understood to be otherworldly. The refrain "Immanuel's land" is taken to be a reference to heaven above. But this is really a lament that looks forward to the return of Christ to renew our land - this land - and to make it into his New Heavens and New Earth. We ought to sing this lament as though we were like Abraham sojourning through the land of promise. We know the land that we pass through truly is Immanuel's land, though we have not yet come into our full inheritance. We look forward to the day when "the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ..." (Rev 11:15) because "glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel's land!"
5. IT IS FINISHED
Style: This is a high-energy, up-tempo song. It's a contemporary tune done in a joyful, indie-rock style typical of much of Dustin Kensrue's music. This is the first time that we have played this song, so you might want to listen to it a few times to familiarize yourself.
Song Info: This is one of my favorite worship songs right now. Written and produced by Kensrue, this song appears on his 2013 album The Water And The Blood. Nearly every song on this record is great. This song joyfully celebrates the finished work of Jesus. By his life, death, and resurrection he has reconciled us to the Father and purchased a place for us in the world to come. This is good news that is worthy of joyous celebration. Hopefully this song will help us get into that mindset and rejoice in the gospel.
See you Sunday!