Preparing for Worship - Palm Sunday
This Sunday marks the transition from the Lenten season to Easter, the transition from mourning to joy, the transition from the ministry of death to the ministry of life, the transition from old covenant to new. This Sunday is Palm Sunday. On this day we remember the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and we celebrate the coming of our king to reign and set the world to rights. Palm Sunday is a great day of celebration, welcoming our king. We wave palm branches like the early disciples did as a symbol of the trees of the field clapping their hands at the arrival of God himself to sit as king over his people. But Palm Sunday also contains a kernel of sorrow that must be accounted for. Jesus is the coming king but he is also the rejected king. He was rejected then and remains unrecognized by the world today. For this reason we, too, will not be recognized as sons of God in this age. But God knows what we are. Our Lord suffered and we should expect the same in this age.
Our full order of worship can be seen by clicking here.
Below are the songs we'll sing together this Sunday:
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.
2. LIFT UP YOUR HEADS, YE MIGHTY GATES
Style: We will be playing the traditional version of this hymn. It will be a slow tempo.
Song Info: This classic hymn was originally part of George Frideric Handel's Messiah in 1741. It has come to be considered a Christmas song about Christ's advent but it's actually about Christ's ascension into heaven after the resurrection. It comes from Psalm 24 - the Psalm of ascension. In that Psalm, the king of glory is coming to his glorious throne in Jerusalem. The gates of Jerusalem are to lift up for him to enter. This song connects that Psalm to Jesus Christ entering the heavenly throne room and sitting next to God the Father after his victory of the cross had been won. It also connects the ascension to the filling of the Holy Spirit that happens to every believer. Christ is seated in heaven with the Father but also seated in our hearts and lives by the Holy Spirit. We will sing it this Sunday as we remember Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. There he was rejected by men and crucified. But he continued his course through the resurrection and was accepted in the heavenly Jerusalem and seated at the right hand of power where he remains today.
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.
4. LET ALL MORTAL FLESH KEEP SILENCE
Style: We will play the traditional version of this hymn. It is a slow tempo.
Song Info: This hymn, in one way or another, dates back to the fifth century. It is one of the oldest surviving Christian hymns, possibly dating even earlier to AD 275. It was originally written in Greek to be a eucharistic hymn. Though it has come to be recognized as a Christmas song, it's true emphasis is on the Lord's Supper. That's why we'll sing it on Sunday before celebrating the sacrament. We will also likely sing it at other times of the year, as well.
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!