Worship Music Feb 1

lifting_handsWe are in the midst of a series from the book of Galatians. This week’s sermon was from the last part of Chapter 2, which will be familiar to a lot of people for verses 20 and 21, “I have been crucified with Christ and I myself no longer live…” Some of the themes from the sermon were union with Christ and dependence on Christ. In talking with Mike earlier in the week he suggested that something about Christ being our all in all would be appropriate.

The Highest and Greatest
Forever Reign
In Christ Alone
You Are My All in All/I Stand in Awe


Despite the vagueness of the lyrics – they never actually mention Jesus – I chose to start with The Highest and Greatest to introduce the idea of Christ’s sufficiency. It’s still a relatively new song for us and the tempo doesn’t make it a natural “first song.” However, I thought it would do well to start us focusing on Christ and who He is and then we could use other songs to develop the ideas further throughout the service.

Forever Reign is becoming a favorite at Communion. We’ve only started singing it in the last year but the congregation seems to respond well to it. Again I wonder as I read the lyrics again why it isn’t more specific throughout – are we singing about God the Father or Jesus – or some combination of both in that often confused evangelical way? I take the entire song to be speaking of Jesus as that makes the most sense. Again, most of the purpose here is to move the theme forward. A note on the music itself, I find the key to be a bit troublesome. If we go any lower it’s too low in the verses. But as it is it’s way too high for most people if you go up an octave on the third verse as they do in the recording. When we sing this song I often vacillate between staying down and going up for the high part. This week I felt strong so I sang it high. I’d like to hear from others if they think it is conducive to worship or not (for the lead singer to sing an octave above most of the congregation).

Cornerstone is a reworking of the hymn On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand, which ironically replaces the original chorus the title was taken from. But the verses remain untouched and carry the idea of dependence very well. Originally I had Cornerstone before Forever Reign, but as I played through the set it just didn’t seem to make sense that way. Again there’s a part in this song that, in the original recording, goes up an octave. However, I chose to let Suzy take the high part. I think part of me just didn’t feel comfortable doing that on two songs in a row.

“Here in the death of Christ I live” seemed especially appropriate for the passage about being crucified with Christ. I’m not going to say that I look for ways to insert In Christ Alone into my set lists, but I will say it finds its way there more often than most. The lyrics are strong, the music fits well and the hymn like feel is a welcome sound to most in our church. I do have some questions about the seeming mixture of atonement theologies (“the wrath of God was satisfied” and “bought with the precious blood of Christ”) but the theology of atonement is something I’m working through myself at the moment and I don’t think it’s so egregious that it affects the power of the song.

As far as I know, I hadn’t used You Are My All in All in a service since leading the youth worship team almost 15 years ago. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good song. And when Mike mentioned that phrase my mind naturally went immediately to that song. As I was preparing the set list I thought about trying to find something more recent that had the same kind of theme. But I kept coming back to it. I decided to put the chorus of I Stand In Awe together with it. We went from “Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is Your Name” to “I stand, I stand, in awe of You.” Back to All in All for the second verse and then the combined chorus again, ending with the chorus from All in All. We also had Suzy sing phrases from The Highest and Greatest while Carol and I sang the chorus from All in All – so her part was something like “You are the highest/You are the greatest/worthy is Your name/Angels will worship/nations will bow down/worthy is Your name.” I really liked the way it flowed and I liked tying it back together with the first song. I think it worked well, but honestly I didn’t get any feedback to know if it was okay or if it was too much.

February 2, 2015  Tags: , ,   Posted in: music, worship and the church

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