Here's our set from this weekend: Pre-Service: "Say Say" (A) [Christy Nockels, Chris Tomlin, Kristian Stanfill] Call To Worship - Hebrews 13:8 "Unchanging" (G) [Chris Tomlin] Welcome/Offering/Announcements/Greeting "Hosanna" (G) [Brooke Fraser, arr. by Starfield] "How Great is Our God" (G) [Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Ed Cash] Focus: "Phos Hilaron"/"Hail Gladdening Light" "Joyous Light" (G) [unknown, John H. Gower; Arr. and additional chorus by Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, and Louie Giglio] Message - "God Is: Trinity" [David Hinkle] "Holy Holy Holy" (D) [Reginald Heber and John Bacchus Dykes]
This weekend in worship with Fellowship was one of my favorites so far. It felt like everything connected really well, and that the focus of the morning permeated everything. The message for the weekend was about the doctrine of the Trinity, and Pastor David did a great job of communicating the understanding and the significance of this doctrine for the Church. There was a lot of ground to cover, and it was thick subject matter, but I think the message was clear, and people walked away with something to cling to for practical purposes in their Christian life. David ended with the idea that we are to live our lives "To the Father, by the Son, and through the Spirit."
We chose two main songs to emphasize and support the teaching time and bring our people to a point of worshiping in a "trinitarian" way: "Joyous Light" and "Holy Holy Holy." "Joyous Light" is a song that I value highly, as it is based off of the earliest known hymn for the church, "Phos Hilaron." Before teaching this song to our congregation, I read a translation of "Phos Hilaron," known as "Hail Gladdening Light." Here is that text:
Hail, gladdening Light, of His pure glory poured Who is the immortal Father, heavenly, blest, Holiest of Holies--Jesus Christ our Lord!
Now we are come to the sun's hour of rest; The lights of evening round us shine; We hymn the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit divine!
Worthiest art thou at all times to be sung with undefiled tongue, Son of our God, giver of life, alone: Therefore in all the world Thy glories, Lord, Thy own. Amen.
It's an amazing thought that we can join in a song that the church has song since the 3rd century A.D. (almost 1700 years ago!). The writers of "Joyous Light" put it this way:
Verse 1 Hail Gladdening Light, Sun so bright Jesus Christ, End of night Alleluia
Verse 2 Hail Gladdening Light, Eternal Bright In evening time, ‘round us shine, Alleluia, alleluia
Chorus We hymn the Father, we hymn the Son We hymn the Spirit, wholly Divine No one more worthy of songs to be sung To the Giver of Life, all glory is Thine
Verse 3 Hail Gladdening Light, such joyous Light O Brilliant Star, forever shine, Alleluia, alleluia
It was a great moment for us this weekend, as we we joined in singing this ancient hymn and truth about the nature of our God.
"Holy Holy Holy" was a late addition/change to the set for this week, as David and I discussed late Thursday about wrapping the message. Some scholars maintain that the Scriptural phrase, "Holy Holy Holy" is referring to each person of the Trinity, and we thought it might be fitting (even without mentioning that) to do a song that contained both that phrase and explicit references to the "Blessed Trinity." It was also another way to connect both old and new in our worship time.
In reference to my learning experience last week (see here), we did "How Great Is Our God" all the way down in the key of G (A bit lower than the recording in C#...). It was rather low, but it fit well in the flow of the rest of the worship set, and the people sang it well. I think the key of A would have been fine, but it further emphasized to me the value of putting things in singable keys - which is something I have been working on and learning for the last 4 years. If you are leading somewhere, and it seems that people are not singing with you (I believe the participation of our congregations ought to be part of the goal), try dropping the key a step or so and see what happens. Try to eliminate any excuse people can give for not joining in the song with the church, especially for the guys.
In all, it was a great weekend of worshiping together. I love our team here at Fellowship, and I am so blessed to serve with them. Their hearts and their talent is what makes our weekends special together. I'm excited about where things are heading, and the things we're learning together as we help to lead God's people in worshiping their King!
I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were!
In the Son,