This coming Sunday I’ll be serving as the worship leader at State College E-Free Church. I put the set list together before I knew what the theme of the message would be (the theme is hope). Because of this I decided to assemble a list with a progression of thoughts instead of centering it around an individual theme. Over the past few weeks I added and subtracted songs numerous times, ending up with this:
Prelude: (A) God You Reign – Lincoln Brewster & Mia Fieldes
We’ll start the service with a song praising God the Father and acknowledging His sovereignty.
Song #1: (G) Jesus Messiah – Chris Tomlin, Daniel Carson, Ed Cash, & Jesse Reeves
In the transition between the prelude and main set I’m planning to talk about the mystery of God reigning over the earth, yet still being patient with us and allowing us to hold on to our own illusions of control. Sin created a chasm between God and humans, yet He reached out to us at our weakest point. This is the Gospel message. This is the story of a Messiah. The One in whom we place our hope.
Song #2: (A) Marvelous Light – Charlie Hall
This song continues that thought. Though we were once fatherless, strangers, and without hope God chose to show us kindness. In Jesus we have life. We are called out of the sin and darkness that surrounds us and urged to run to the freedom that is found in the light.
Song #3: (A) Your Name – Paul Baloche & Glenn Packiam
We are saved in the name of Jesus. In addition to celebrating that fact, this song also speaks of desire to be strengthened so that we can glorify Christ in our lives.
Song #4: (E) Be Thou My Vision – Dallán Forgaill, Eleanor Henrietta Hull, & Mary Elizabeth Byrne
The main set ends with a prayer to be granted vision and wisdom. In addition to these requests are reminders of the inheritance and treasure we have, as well as the joy that awaits us.
As I was singing this song this week I noticed something that prompted me to wonder. Verse two contains the line: “Thou my great Father, I Thy true son.” Many songs that are sung corporately contain the words men or man to refer to humans, yet calling oneself a son is a bit more difficult to apply corporately (at least I assume it might be a bit strange for women to sing this line). Seeing this reference to being a son prompted me to check the authorship of the song. My copy of music credited two women, Eleanor Hull and Mary Elizabeth Hyde as the authors (this is music from CCLI, which should be accurate). This made me very, very curious. Did two women write a hymn in which they refer to themselves as sons? So I sought the assistance of Google. And that’s how I discovered that the original lyrics of Be Thou My Vision are attributed to a first century Irish poet by the name of Dallan Forgaill, though it is not certain that he wrote the text. Mary Elizabeth Byrne translated the text to English in 1905; several years later Eleanor Hull used the poem to construct the verses we all recognize as the hymn. Mystery solved.
Two final thoughts before I move on:
1. Dallan Forgaill had a serious sight impairment. This makes the the song Be Thou My Vision a bit more interesting to me. While the lyrics are written in the context of needing vision to live with wisdom, it is interesting to think that Forgaill might have drawn inspiration from his own inability to physically see and made the connection to spiritual sight.
2. According to tradition Dallan Forgaill was killed by raiding pirates at an island monastery. That’s right, pirates.
Closing Song: (D) Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken – Henry Lyte & Bill Moore
My thought in selecting this song as the closing song is that it ties up the thoughts expressed in the main set. We have a loving God; we have a merciful Savior; we have been offered life; life is difficult; we need direction. The closing line of the song says “Hope shall change to glad fruition, faith to sight and prayer to praise.” That’s such a good line I plan to sing it twice.
I’m looking forward to practicing tomorrow and the service on Sunday.