Preparing for Worship - Sunday January 10
Here's our lineup for this coming Sunday. Take some time to get to know the songs in order to prepare your hearts for worship. I've also included some comments in here concerning why we put certain songs where we put them in the service.
1. Rejoice (Come and Stand Before Your Maker)
Style: This is a contemporary, up-tempo song that is perfect for a call to worship.
Song Info: This song was written as a collaborative effort between two of my favorite worship artists: Stuart Townend and Dustin Kensrue. It first appeared on Kensrue's 2013 album The Water and the Blood - in my opinion one of the greatest modern worship albums released in a long time. This song calls us to rejoice in the Lord, our maker. It leads us to sing and meditate on God's infinite perfections. It's appropriate here because we should come to God first with praise and adoration. Before we confess our sin, before we acknowledge our needs, before we make any requests we ought to first praise God and adore him for who he is.
2. Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed?
Style: We will be playing the traditional version of this hymn. It is lo-tempo and contemplative.
Song Info: There seem to be hundreds of version of this hymn out there. The lyrics are so powerful that it has been covered and re-arranged by several artists. Yet the traditional hymn was written by Isaac Watts (lyrics) and Hugh Wilson (music) in the 18th century. This tune fits well at this point in the service because it causes us to meditate on our sinful condition before the Lord. Here we move from rejoicing in the Lord and his goodness in creation to our sinful response to God. Though God has showered infinite grace upon us in making us in his image, we have repaid him by rebelling against his rule in our lives. Yet this song is also about God's surprising mercy in sending his own Son to come as man and die for our rebellion.
3. Only Your Blood Is Enough
Style: This is a contemporary and mid-tempo song. It has an indie-rock feel.
Song Info: This song was produced as part of a collection that Sojourn Church produced of re-tooled Isaac Watts hymns. Though this song is unique enough to be considered original, it is adapted from Isaac Watt's Psalm 51 Part 2. The lyrics and music were written by Neil Robins and it was released on Over the Grave in 2009. This song is appropriate at this point in the service because it recognizes the need for a savior. We have sung about God's goodness, our sin, and now we will sing about our need for a savior. As the song says: "No bleeding bird, no bleeding beast, no hyssop branch, no priest, no running brook, no flood, no sea can wash away this stain from me. Only your blood is enough to cover my sin." Here, with an eye on our sin, we ought to prepare our hearts to hear the sermon and to hear about the hope we have in the gospel of Christ.
4. Before the Throne of God Above
Style: We will be playing the most known, contemporary version of this hymn. It is lo to mid-tempo and contemplative, but also joyful and powerful.
Song Info: The lyrics to this hymn were penned by Charity Lee Bancroft in the 1860's. She was the daughter of an Irish minister and wrote a large collection of hymns published in her hymnbook Behind the Veil. This is by far her most famous hymn. It was set to the tune of a number of different other songs, often taking on a more somber note. It wasn't until 1997 when Vikki Cook of Sovereign Grace Ministries wrote the tune that we are all familiar with today. Her melody interpreted the lyrics in a much more joyful light and the song took on a flavor of hope and joy. After this, the hymn experienced a revival within evangelical churches.
The hymn was originally named: "The Advocate". It's a perfect title. This hymn is about Jesus our advocate and our high priest stepping in to intercede for us in order to offer the perfect sacrifice for our sins. This is an appropriate moment in the worship service to sing this song because we've just heard the word of God in the sermon. In the sermon we've heard about everything we've already sung - God's glory, our sin, our need for a savior. But we've also heard about Christ's work on the cross as our savior. So now we gratefully sing of his work: "Before the throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect plea, a great High Priest whose name is love, who ever lives and pleads for me".
5. All My Days (Beautiful Savior)
Style: This is a contemporary hymn done in a CCM style. It is up-tempo and joyful.
Song Info: This is one of my favorite songs from hymn writer Stuart Townend. It's subject matter reflects back on our salvation, sings a song of gladness because of it, and looks toward the fulfillment of our salvation: a new heavens and a new earth. "Where countless worshippers will share one song, and cries of 'worthy' will honor the lamb." It is appropriate at this moment in worship because of its emphasis on glory that is to come. A great reminder for us as we conclude worship and go out into the world to live as disciples of Jesus.
See you Sunday!