Worship is a way of life that takes place not just at 11:00 on Sunday morning, but every other hour of the week (John 4:20-24). Through this “Call to Worship,” we want to share some thoughts about worship, scripture verses, hymns, and songs to teach and encourage you as you seek His face daily and then hopefully together with us on Sunday!
This Week at Traditional Worship (10:00)
Maria Currey, Assistant Director of Music – Traditional
Hymn Highlight – “Fairest Lord Jesus”
Like early literature, the melodies and words of our most beloved hymns have been carried from past countries and cultures into the heads and hearts of worshipers throughout our world. “Fairest Lord Jesus” is one such hymn.
Some traditions claim “Fairest Lord Jesus” to be as old as the 12th century, sung when Crusaders made their way to the Holy Land. Originally, some believe, it was sung to a Gregorian chant. While full origin is unsubstantiated, the hymn is nonetheless of earlier origin than one might imagine.
Several attribute the hymn to around 1620, when the followers of the reformer John Hus were driven from Bohemia in a bloody purge; they settled in Silesia, now part of Poland. It would have been a Bohemian folk song.
German Jesuits wrote the words and meshed them with the existing tune. The first known appearance of the hymn was in the Roman Catholic Munster Gesangbuch of 1677. Hoffman Fallersleben heard a group of Silesians singing the hymn, wrote down what they sang, and published it in his Schlesische Volkslieder in 1842, rendering the version we sing today.
In 1873, Joseph Seiss translated the German words to English; the hymn appeared in English in Richard Storrs Willis’ Church Chorals and Choir Studies in 1850.
As the hymn is shared via hand bells and flute this Sunday, consider turning to the words of “Fairest Lord Jesus,” (Hymn #88), and imagine the creative hands through which this hymn has passed – and the timeless places of worship into which it still draws our spirits.
Information from Liz Tolsma, adapted by Maria Currey
This Week at Contemporary Worship (11:15)
Kerri Roberts, Assistant Director of Music – Contemporary
Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 both exhort us as the Body of Christ to encourage one another with songs, hymns, and spiritual songs. As the word of God sinks deep into our hearts, we will naturally overflow with praise, worship, and thanksgiving, often through music. What a joy, a comfort, and an encouragement it is to have the opportunity to do that together each week at NEPC!
A new “spiritual song” to our Contemporary service comes from the artist Leeland. Lion and the Lamb began as a spontaneous chorus that simply flowed out of the writer’s heart during a worship service. As the song was completed a few years later, Leeland Mooring reflected on the biblical basis for the lyrics and who this God is, who is both the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God:
“They will follow the LORD; He will roar like a lion. When He roars, His children will come trembling from the west.” Hosea 11:10 (NIV)
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 (NKJV)
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11 (NIV)
“My brother and I were talking about this song and God’s attributes, about the power and tenderness of God at the same time. You see it with John in Heaven in Revelation. On earth, he laid his head on Jesus’s chest, and in Heaven he sees Jesus in all of His glory. He falls down like a dead man. God is so mighty and powerful, and Jesus puts His hand on his shoulder and tells him to not be afraid. It’s an amazing picture of how we tremble at His power and might and glory, and at the same time He is tender like a Lamb. It is amazing that He is both to us, for us and with us.”
As we prepare our hearts for worship this week, may we experience the awe and majesty of God alongside His tender intimacy toward us!
Our God is the Lion, the Lion of Judah
He’s roaring with power and fighting our battles
And every knee will bow before Him
Our God is the Lamb, the Lamb that was slain
For the sins of the world – His blood breaks the chains
And every knee will bow before the Lion and the Lamb
Every knee will bow before Him
– Lion and the Lamb