Worship Music May 27

This week was Mike’s last week in the 40 Days with Jesus series. Like last week he actually was using a text from before the crucifixion and resurrection – this time Matt 11:28-30, which is the famous, “come unto me all who are heavy laden…” passage. Looking back, I think perhaps I could have tried to find something more along the lines of comfort and peace, but as I was putting together the list, none of that came to me. So, the songs are a bit disjointed, I think, but the main idea was dependence on Christ, and His unique sufficiency. I have mentioned before that I am not a big fan of doing patriotic songs in church, but Mike’s feeling is that we only have two or three occasions to do so every year and that on those special occasions it is appropriate and good. And since Mike is the pastor of the church I submit to that willingly.

Pastor’s Greeting
My Country ‘Tis of Thee/America The Beautiful
Your Grace is Enough
Before The Throne of God Above
You Alone
It Is Well With My Soul

Video – Special Memorial Day video. I had intended to have us start the service with the patriotic medley and then show the video, but we didn’t get that all worked out before Sunday morning (I didn’t communicate well enough what I was hoping to do there), so we started the service with the video.

Patriotic Medley – I’m not sure where it came from, but I found the music for this little medley – basically the verses of My Country ‘Tis of Thee and the chorus of America The Beautiful – in my music collection. I don’t recall ever having led it before, but found it to be a good choice for the day. We sang the first and last verse of My Country ‘Tis of Thee (the last being “Our fathers’ God to Thee, Author of Liberty…” I leave it to you to debate how evangelical our forefathers were, but I like the sentiment of the verse anyway).

I was not prepared to follow the patriotic song with Your Grace is Enough, so I had no meaningful transition into the “worship” music, we just jumped in. I’ve been suffering with allergies and coughing for the better part of four or five days so it was good that the team wanted to sing the song in the key of D instead of the more usual key of G. My singers all said it was a much better key for them, but I honestly felt it to be low. Maybe we’ll try something in between next time. The purpose of the song was to introduce the idea that God is sufficient, and I also feel like there’s a connection (however unspoken) between God’s grace and our peace.

The whole point, in my mind, of the song Before the Throne of God Above is that Christ is our advocate (Hebrews 4). The song (as the Scripture passage) says that Christ: is our High Priest, intercedes for us, is the Risen Lamb, is Righteousness, is the Great I AM, and more. All of these things to me are part and parcel to my comfort, so to speak; to being able to rest in Christ, knowing that these things are true about Him. So again, it’s a roundabout way to getting there, but made sense to me.

You Alone is a short little chorus by David Crowder the chorus of which says, “You alone are Father, You alone are good, You alone are Savior and You alone are God.” I chose it for that continuing theme that Christ alone is sufficient. “You are the only one I need…”

We ended with It Is Well even though I don’t know how it fits the theme. And I told the congregation as much. I think this is the second time I was putting together a worship set and kept coming back to It Is Well even though it didn’t seem to fit. Such was the case this week. I just kept coming back to it, even though I knew it didn’t work there.

This is something I should explain a bit, I suppose. I spend a great deal of time trying to put things together in a way that fits a particular theme. As Wesley (our Woodthorn drummer) said once, “the pastor doesn’t just read a bunch of random verses.” No he doesn’t. Even though we know that “God’s word will not return void.” Even though we know that God is glorified in the reading of His Scripture, is He not? So too God is glorified through the singing of praise and worship to Him, even if the songs do not conform to some theme or some specific and rigid purpose. So why should I put the time into doing things the way I do them? Is it just being stubborn and stuck in my own ways? Well, sure. But only because I’ve done it the other way and for me, I think this way is better. Why not try to find songs that support the sermon? Why not try to reinforce ideas that will be brought out in the sermon or in other parts of the service (the Lord’s Supper, for instance)? At the same time, why be rigidly and unalterably tied to a theme if it seems apparent that God has put a particular song on your heart?

May 28, 2012  Tags: , ,   Posted in: music, worship and the church

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