Choir practice is on Monday evenings at 6:00 pm
Hear the call of the Kingdom, lift your eyes to the King.
Let His song rise within you as a fragrant offering
Of how God, rich in mercy, came in Christ to redeem
All who trust in His unfailing grace.
King of heaven, we will answer the call;
We will follow, bringing hope to the world,
Filled with passion, filled with power to proclaim
Salvation in Jesus’ name.
Words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. Copyright
2006 Thankyou Music. Used by permission. CCLI #1063600.
Most of us know the powerful hymn, “In Christ Alone.” I researched it when we celebrated my 30th anniversary here in 2012. What I learned was that Keith Getty and Stuart Townend met at a gathering of Christian musicians, and they discovered that God had been urging each to write hymns with solid theological truths and to set them to singable tunes. (“Be Thou My Vision” was the model for their tunes.) They decided to collaborate and the result has enriched our worship.
We are being encouraged and challenged to grow as Christ’s disciples and to reach out. Part of that “reaching out” is embracing more hymnody and using diverse musical styles in worship. I am learning and growing. I challenge you to join me in this journey. Although I am a musician, words have always moved me more than music. When we sing in worship, heed the texts. They can give wings to your praise, voice to your confession, and challenge you to a deeper faith.
Here are some ways that we are going to GROW together. The Chancel Choir is working on several anthems based on the work of Getty and Townend – “Hear the Call of the Kingdom,” “God of Grace,” and “Speak, O Lord.” We are also learning a rousing gospel arrangement of “Blessed Be the Name” as well as a Spiritual-based “Let Everything that Hath Breath Praise the Lord.” Our newly-formed band, Cornerstone Christian Revival (named by Randy Boone who remembers the Creedence Clearwater Revival – CCR), led by Jim Vansandt, is practicing and will be assisted by a trio of ladies in leading us in singing contemporary praise music as well as long-known and beloved old hymns and fellowship songs monthly at Jacob’s Well. (BY THE WAY, THE MAKE-UP OF THAT BAND IS NOT WRITTEN IN STONE. IF YOU CAN PLAY OR LEAD THE SINGING, YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO DO SO. JUST CONTACT ME OR JIM.) On two Sunday mornings during the fall we will be led in worship by the musical offerings of Fair Garner, Paul Garner, and Kay Tidwell Sanford.
Let me invite you – old and young – who love to praise God in
song to join the Chancel Choir or the band. Our new Choir
rehearsal time is 6 p.m. on Mondays. Join us for a practice or
two. You do not have to be able to read music. You just need a
willingness to serve and learn.
This is an opportunity to “answer the call” to serve Him.
“My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” #379
On his way to work it came to Edward Mote to write a hymn on the “Gracious Experience of a Christian.” As he went on his way the chorus came to him:
“On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand.”
At the end of the day he had completed two stanzas. The next Sabbath a man at church asked Mote to visit his wife who was quite ill. On such visits he usually sang a hymn, read scripture, and had prayer. Mote looked for hymnal in the home, but could not find one. In his pocket he found this hymn which they sang. The wife liked it so much that she asked for a copy of it. He went home and wrote the last two stanzas. At the encouragement of the sick woman, he had a thousand copies printed for distribution.
Edward Mote’s (1797-1874) parents were not God-fearing people and would not let
their son attend a school where the Bible was read. At sixteen Edward became an apprentice cabinetmaker. His employer took him to hear John Hyatt preach and Mote said that was the beginning of his conversion. After studying for the ministry he was pastor Horsham Baptist Church for twenty-six years.
The tune, Solid Rock, by William Batchelder Bradbury was composed in 1863 for this text. It was published in The Devotional Hymn and Tune Book (1864), the only Baptist hymnal published in the United States during the Civil War. Four of his hymn tunes, including “Jesus Loves Me,” are in the hymnal we have in the sanctuary.
Music In Christian Worship
But be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. Ephesians 5:18b-20
The Scripture abounds with references to singing and praising God with instruments and song. Indeed, the history of the church is that of a singing people. From the strains of “alleluia” and “Kyrie eleison” sung by the early church fathers, through the years of Gregorian chant, Lutheran hymns, Bach cantatas, Handel oratorios, English hymnody, gospel music, folk hymnody, and the present day “You Are Amazing God,” the people of God have lifted their voices in song. Song is an integral part of our personal and corporate worship. As a Christian – and especially as a Presbyterian, I have studied and thought much about worship and music’s part in it. Here are a few of my discoveries:
Worship is about God – not about us. It is designed to focus love and praise in His direction. It is our response to our caring Creator who has provided for, protected, led, and saved us. The miracle is that when we focus on him, we are transformed. When I consider music to be used in worship, I pray to discern that which is God-centered.
Music is a tool to use in God’s service. It is not the end-all. It is not performance. Rather, it is an offering. It can
give the Scripture wings, teach theological truths, or help the worshiper transcend the reality of this world. Each Sunday the choir and I pray that God will accept our offerings and use them to lead others closer to Him. And He does just that. Our offerings – even our least technically correct ones – can be magnified in the hands of the Holy Spirit so that God is glorified and others are led to worship.
We have the responsibility and privilege of singing for all the saints. That’s why it is important that we sing older hymns as well as newer music when we worship together. We are singing our faith, and in many cases our faith is formed by what we sing. We can learn from one another. We can sing for our brothers and sisters who are unable to voice their praise due to pain or illness or joy.
The psalmist writes, “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.” The Christian has to sing, for God has put a “new song” of GRACE in his heart! Alleluia!