As I put together the set list for this coming Sunday I spent some time thinking about adversity. Actually, to be more specific, I spent time thinking about correct responses to adversity. The sermon will be based on Psalm 27, which is a prayer of David. I find the final two verses very interesting, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”
Prelude: (E) Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee – Henry van Dyke
This song features one of my favorite lines: “Thou art giving and forgiving, every blessing, ever blest, wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!” Wellspring of the joy of living. Joy is so powerful, especially deep-seated joy that is not based on surface pleasures or convenience. In difficult or mundane times joy is a testament to peace, to maturity, to contentment.
When I was reviewing the lyrics it occurred to me that “hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above” would be more powerful if leaves were substituted for the flowers, considering they have photosynthetic tissue and are able to use solar energy. Then I thought about photoperiodism and how light duration can influence flowering. And then I realized I’ve been spending too much time studying plants.
Song #1: (E) You Are Holy (Prince of Peace) – Mark Imboden & Tammy Rhoton
I like starting the main set of songs by thinking about attributes of God and how we should respond to them. The song ends with an emphasis on God as our Prince of Peace, which is something to dwell on in times of adversity. This song features a chorus that is divided into two parts, traditionally by gender. I really would like to rotate the parts so that both sets of lyrics are covered by everyone singing the song. I’ve been weighing the distraction factor (changing a routine, exposure to a different melody) versus the benefit (exposure to both aspects of the chorus). In my opinion the women’s chorus is lyrically far superior to the men’s chorus, so maybe I’m just jealous.
Song #2: (A) God You Reign – Lincoln Brewster & Mia Fieldes
Here we affirm that God is in control. I really appreciate the lyrical simplicity of this song. We make no grand promises or declarations; we just focus on what is true.
Song #3: (A) Our God – Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Jonas Myrin, & Matt Redman
When I heard the passage for the morning would be Psalm 27 the first song that crossed my mind was this one. It speaks of the supremacy of God and reminds us that we are with Him. If our God is with us; if our God is for us; how then should we live?
During the fall semester I saw someone sitting under the Life Sciences bridge on campus strumming a guitar and singing this song. It stuck in my head. I’ve never used it as a leader, in part because at times it feels a bit lyrically awkward. But I’ve managed to come to peace with that awkwardness for the moment.
Song #4: (D) Desert Song – Brooke Fraser
In every season of life we have reason to sing, reason to worship. In difficulty and in ease we are called to do the same thing. This is a challenging song.
Closing: (A) Everlasting God – Brenton Brown & Ken Riley
This ties in with the final verses in Psalm 27. We will wait upon the Lord. We will wait upon the Lord, for He is the defender of the weak. He comforts those in need.
This set list might be the first one I have ever assembled that does not feature a song that explicitly incorporates the Gospel. The Gospel is interwoven in these songs, but not clearly spelled out. It is something I will keep in mind during my opening comments.
I’m looking forward to this weekend. It is such an honor and privilege to lead Believers in corporate singing. I hope these songs encourage and challenge others the way they have me this week.