I had the opportunity to lead worship at our church yesterday morning. It’s something I always enjoy doing, but I particularly enjoyed this week’s set list. Since several people have asked about the arrangements we used, I thought I’d share here:
The first song was Chris Tomlin’s arrangement of “O Worship the King”, from the Passion: Hymns Ancient & Modern album. I love the new take on an old hymn, with lyrics by Robert Grant (a member of the British Parliament in the early 19th century) and music by Johann Michael Haydn (younger brother of Joseph Haydn). I’m not generally a fan of adding new choruses to old hymns, but decided to retain this one, as it makes use of the original lyrics from the third verse. I did not, however, retain Tomlin’s juxtaposition of the first half of verse five (“O measureless might, ineffable love”…) with the second half of verse four (“Thy mercies how tender…”). Yes, it’s cool to use the word “ineffable” whenever possible, but as Tomlin sings it, the re-arranged verse makes no sense when read as a sentence. In the day and age of lyric projection, it is more difficult to reflect on the content of the songs we sing, but it is still very important to me that we sing sensible hymns! Here is Tomlin’s recording:
Second was “By Faith”, by Keith & Kristyn Getty. Thankfully, we never have to alter any lyrics from the Gettys, as they are among the most consistently excellent modern hymn writers around! We did, however, have to leave out the Uilleann pipes intro. This song is available on the album Awaken the Dawn.
Our third song was new to our congregation, but I absolutely LOVE it! Written by Mark Altrogge, Bob Kauflin, and Ken Boer, “You Have Been Raised” reminds us that the content of the faith through which we are saved (and about which we had just sung) is grounded on the historical fact of Christ’s resurrection. Here is the song as performed by NA Band, from the Sovereign Grace Music album Risen.
The final song was a new take on an old favorite: “Rock of Ages”. Originally written in the 18th century as a poem by Augustus Toplady and set to music a generation later by Thomas Hastings, this hymn has been brilliantly re-imagined by Brooks Ritter. We so rarely sing hymns in minor keys today, which is a real shame. Ritter’s setting absolutely fits the text, and the focus on our depravity and inability to save ourselves was a suitable finish to an order of worship which had progressed from praise & adoration to declaration of faith and confidence in the assurance of our salvation. Though our salvation was once-for-all accomplished by our Savior’s death and resurrection, we must never forget the great debt of sin for which his death atoned. Here is Ritter’s arrangement, from his album The War.
I hope that this music was a blessing to the congregation, and to anyone who has stumbled upon it over the World Wide Web!