Preparing for Worship - September 8, 2019
Join us this Sunday as we continue in our series in Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians. Here are the songs we’ll sing together:
1. Praise To The Lord The Almighty
Style: We will be playing a modern take on the traditional version of this song. The melody will be the same but the chords will be simpler. We will play this mid-tempo.
Song Info: The melody of this hymn and original German lyrics date back to 1680 and is attributed to Joachim Neander. Catherine Winkworth translated it into English in 1863. It paraphrases both Psalm 103 and 150. This hymn usually falls under the category of "Praise and Thanksgiving" so it is an ideal song for a call to worship. This song focuses on God's role as creator and sustainer. As we sing it we call ourselves to recognize the work that God has done and is constantly doing to uphold our lives and care for us.
2. I Believe in God the Father
Style: This hymn has been around in various forms for a long time. The tune itself is a popular Sacred Harp tune from 1844 - Beech Spring. It has a Celtic or Appalachian sound and is mellow and prayerful.
Song Info: This particular arrangement was produced recently by Daniel Justice Snoke and released on a Cardiphonia compilation. The lyrics are a stylized version of the Apostles' Creed. From early times the church has considered the Apostles' Creed to be a full yet succinct definition of the gospel. We don't normally think of it as a proclamation of the gospel because it contains much more than just the cross and resurrection.
But in the Heidelberg Catechism, a revered reformation document, Question 22 asks: "What then must a Christian believe?" Answer: "Everything God promises us in the gospel. That gospel is summarized for us in the articles of our Christian faith -- a creed beyond doubt, and confessed throughout the world." The Catechism goes on to cite and unpack the entirety of the Apostles' Creed.
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.
4. Although We Are Weeping (Psalm 126)
Style: This is a contemporary tune done in an ambient, folk style. It is low-tempo and prayerful.
Song info: This tune was produced by Sojourn Music and released on their 2014 album: New Again. It is heavily based on Psalm 126. Psalm 126 is a Song of Ascents, which means that it was used in Israel by pilgrims who were journeying to Jerusalem during feast times. This particular Psalm was written after the exile. It talks about the Lord restoring the fortunes of Zion - a reference to their return from exile. The Psalmist rejoices in this miracle and then turns to a plea for restoration. The land was desolate after 70 years of exile and in need of restoration of all kinds. This prayer asks God to establish the work of their hands as they go out to sow their seed and try to rebuild their lives.
This song is good for us to sing today because we too are called to busy ourselves with building the kingdom of God. The exiles of that time were called by God to return to the land and rebuild, awaiting God's promise to visit them and completely restore the kingdom. We're in a very similar spot. As we wait for Jesus' return we are called to sow seeds of the kingdom and seek to establish God's kingdom in every place. So this prayer is for the church today. Restore us, O Lord.
5. Three in One
Style: This is a contemporary tune done in an up-tempo folk rock style.
Song info: This song focuses on the Triune God and how each person of the Trinity is active in our salvation.
See you Sunday!