This weekend, we were talking about the Biblical perspective on citizenship, and how our citizenship as believers is with Christ in His kingdom, from Philippians 3:17-21. Joe preaching about imitating Christ and our spiritual leaders rather than pretending as imposters, seeking more of ourselves rather than more of Christ in us. We sought to support this message by focusing on the authority of Jesus as the King of kings, His love for us even though we were His enemies, and the fact that He is coming again to set everything right and to make everything new. For the band, we did something a little different, having only acoustic guitar, bass, and rhodes (on our Motif 8), with a single vocal. It was very simple and raw, and I think it was a refreshing change of pace for both the team and the congregation. I never want what we do on a given weekend to become rote, where we just know exactly what to expect. As the saying goes, "familiarity breeds contempt." Contempt, in this expression, is displayed by complete disregard and ignoring of the value of something due to saturation and familiarity. I never want our music, which ought to always keep our eyes pointed at Christ and engage us in the story of who He is and what He has done, to become something so familiar that we ignore its message and therefore, its power. Sometimes surprises in the songs we sing or the way they are presented are what is necessary to jar us and remind us of our purpose in singing together in our gatherings.
Here's our set from this weekend:
Pre-Service - "I'll Fly Away" (G) [Albert E. Brumley] Call to Worship - Psalm 47:6-8 "Hosanna (Praise is Rising)" (G) [Paul Baloche, Brenton Brown] Welcome/Prayer/Offering/Announcements "Because of Your Love" (G) [Phil Wickham] "Son of God" (G) [Tim Neufeld, Jon Neufeld, Ed Cash] Message - Philippians 3:17-21 - "An Appraisal of Citizenship" [Joe Hishmeh] Communion Preparation Communion Song - "In Exile" (Em) [Thrice] Response Song - "Hosanna" (G) [Brooke Fraser]
"I'll Fly Away" - This song is always an energetic one in our congregation (and, I would guess, everywhere else, too.). I think this song strikes the proper tone regarding our ultimate destination. We should celebrate the fact that we will be with God forever, and we should long for that day! We should never settle down in this world and feel that we have arrived or achieved all that we desired. We should always have a sort of unsettling feeling, that we are not truly home. We won't be home until we see Jesus' face.
"Hosanna (Praise is Rising)" - This is one of the best "call to worship" songs available. It has the feel of our praise "rising" up to God and calling out to Him. The most significant in the song is in the chorus: "Hosanna, Hosanna/ Come have Your way among us/ We welcome You here, Lord Jesus." That should be our prayer every time we encounter Jesus in worship, whether personal or gathered together - Lord, have Your way in my life and in us as the body of Christ.
"Because of Your Love" - I love the focus of this song, speaking to the thought of 1 John 4:19, "We love because He first loved us" (ESV). Because of the love of God, we have life, and the proper response ought to be love in return, expressed in and by the things we say and do in this life. Our lives should be lived in thanksgiving to God, seeking to make much of Him with everything we do in this life.
"Son of God" - I love the writers' attempt to give a complete picture of Jesus in this song. It speaks of His role as Creator, Eternal Son of God, Almighty and Omnipotent, the Holy One, the Lover of my soul, the fulfillment of prophecy, the promised Messiah, the coming King, and the one who is worthy of all our praise. It is a song that our congregation has grabbed onto, and sings wholeheartedly. I love that we can sing this powerful truth together! It's a beautiful thing.
"In Exile" - This song is one that I have wanted to do since it was released on the Beggars album around two years ago. This song is such a powerful statement about our citizenship and our true home being stored up with God in heaven. If we are in Christ, we are citizens of a better country, a heavenly city (Heb. 11:16). We look forward to that day, when we see Him face to face, and will finally be fulfilled and complete in His presence. We cannot truly rest until that day. In this song, I love the imagery and lyric of the chorus: "My heart is filled with songs of forever/ A city that endures, where all is made new..." Dustin Kensrue is an incredible songwriter and lyricist. Check out his solo stuff (Please Come Home, This Good Night Is Still Everywhere) and his recent work with Thrice (Vheissu, The Alchemy Index, Beggars).
"In Exile" Thrice
VERSE 1 I am an exile, a sojourner A citizen of some other place All I’ve seen is just a glimmer in a shadowy mirror But I know one day, I’ll see face to face VERSE 2 I am a nomad, a wanderer I have nowhere to lay my head down There’s no point in putting roots too deep when I’m movin’ on Not settling for this unsettling town CHORUS My heart is filled with songs of forever A city that endures, where all is made new I know I don’t belong here, I’ll never Call this place my home, I’m just passin’ through VERSE 3 I am a pilgrim, a voyager I won’t rest until my lips touch the shore Of the land that I’ve been longing for as long as I’ve lived Where there’ll be no pain or tears anymore
"Hosanna" - This song ended up being an even more fitting way to end than I thought it would be. Joe really emphasized how we are to live in "suspense," waiting eagerly for Christ's return. Everything will be changed, because we will see Him face to face. We should live with that expectation and that desire. If we are truly seeking more of Christ, His return is the complete fulfillment of that desire.
It was a refreshing weekend of worship, and I really enjoyed worshiping together with the band in this format. God is faithful, and I am looking forward to the day He comes like He promised.
I hope you had a great day of worship wherever you were. Please check out Sunday Set Lists over at The Worship Community, and leave your thoughts and comments below. If you were with us at Fellowship this weekend, how were you affected by your experience? If you weren't with us here, have you experienced anything similar that stirred you or changed your perspective on worship?
In the Son,