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!
Maria Currey, Assistant Director of Music – Traditional
Hymn Highlight – “Nothing But the Blood”
Robert Lowry (1826-1899) has provided us with many of the best loved nineteenth-century texts and tunes from the United States. The Philadelphia-born author and composer of this hymn was a popular Baptist preacher and educator who served churches in Pennsylvania, New York City, Brooklyn, and Plainfield, New Jersey. Lowry, a graduate of Bucknell University, became known for his gospel songs while ministering in Brooklyn, collaborating often with William H. Doane in producing some of the most popular Sunday school song collections of his day.
“Nothing but the Blood” focuses on a single theme and drives it home. The singer will repeat the text, “nothing but the blood of Jesus” twelve times if he or she sings all four stanzas. The refrain is succinct and reinforces the theme. The language is direct and obvious, with all one- or two-syllable words. The theme of cleansing from sin is prominent in gospel song literature.
Hebrews 9:22 appeared originally above the hymn in the original publication by Lowry and William H. Doane entitled Gospel Music (1876). The passage reads: “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.”
Charles Wesley often used the word “blood” in his hymns. However, it is not in a gory sense, but as a synonym for grace. One can often sing “grace” in place of “blood” in a Wesley hymn. For example, “And Can It Be that I Should Gain,” equates the results of the shedding of Christ’s blood with mercy and love.
Though many might relegate “Nothing but the Blood” to the past, it lives on in modern renditions, especially in evangelical contexts. Contemporary Christian artist Matt Redman incorporates this hymn into his song, “Nothing but the Blood” as do the popular Australian group, Hillsong United. Reflect on the words of this timeless hymn in provided links, remembering with joy that we are covered by the blood of Jesus!
Adaptation (Maria Currey) – by Dr. Hawn, distinguished professor of church music at Perkins School of Theology. He is also director of the seminary’s sacred music program.
Kerri Roberts, Assistant Director of Music – Contemporary
Worship Through Remembrance
A very important aspect of biblical worship, both personal and corporate, is remembrance. The Hebrew word “zakar,” means not only to call to mind, to remember, but also to make mention of, to speak of, or to act upon that which one remembers.
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.
You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
So we see a natural correlation in scripture between remembrance and worship. We do not simply remember with our minds, but we also speak out through song, creed, prayer who God is and what He has done.
One of several Greek words for remembrance in the New Testament is “anamnesis.” This is the actual word used in Jesus’ command at the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Used in Luke 22:19 and 1 Corinthians 11:24,25, this word doesn’t mean merely an action done in memory of but rather an affectionate calling of the Person Himself to mind.
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
This Sunday as we gather for corporate worship we will call to mind the mighty deeds of our God and remember Him in our worship. We will also remember and worship as we partake together of the Lord’s Supper. We will have the opportunity to affectionately set our minds on the Person of Jesus and to express our love through the lyrics of a new song, Jesus We Love You.
Our affection, our devotion
poured out on the feet of Jesus
Jesus we love you
Oh how we love you
You are the one our hearts adore