Sunday, March 02, 2008

Songs, Psalms and Spiritual Songs

(Photo is I believe from York Minster in York, England but could possibly be Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury, slides are mixed up.)

Each Sunday during worship I am usually touched by one or two songs that really speak to me! Sometimes I want to write out how I feel about that and so I have decided to start a Songs on Sunday post. Maybe it will be regular. Maybe it won't! :o)

As we approach Resurrection Sunday, we are learning and singing more about our salvation. In this day of ready media stimulation and instant gratification, it is easy even for long time followers of Jesus to take their salvation for granted. It isn't a simple thing to easily explain or fathom, nor is it too complex that we cannot understand. I have been a Christian for over 30 years and it seems like each year He is teaching me something more, new and exciting about my relationship with Him and what He has done for me. So, during this season where our sermons have been about salvation and sharing the Good News of Jesus, we have been having more hymns in our music worship time. As you may or may not know, music is very devisive in churches, more than some doctrinal issues. This makes me sad. Music is powerful and influential and perhaps that is why. I love modern worship songs that sometimes give my heart wings to soar to the highest reaches of Heaven. I love hymns that share concrete doctrinal truth in lovely rhythmic, comfortable and familiar melodies, which ground me in my faith. Truthfully I would not like to have one without the other and feel there is a place for both.

During today's singing, we had a song that was both. It was an arrangement by Chris Tomlin who is one of my favorite worship leaders. He took an Isaac Watts hymn that is over 300 years old and arranged it in a blend of hymn and worship chorus. You can find it on this album.

"The Wonderful Cross"

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

See from his head, his hands, his feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did ever such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown

O the wonderful cross,
O the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
O the wonderful cross, O the wonderful cross
All who gather here by grace draw near and bless Your name

Here are the lyrics to the original song "When I survey the Wondrous Cross" by Isaac Watts who wrote over 600 hymns!

"When I Survey The Wondrous Cross"

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an offering far too small
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

[Added by the compilers of Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern]
To Christ, Who won for sinners grace
By bitter grief and anguish sore,
Be praise from all the ransomed race
Forever and forevermore.


sherriknits said...

I love that Chris Tomlin song, have it on my iPod. It reminds me of a worship conference hubby and I went to right before 9-11 where we felt like we lived in heaven for 3 days.
We tend to do more contemporary than hymns, but I agree...we need them both.

Scrabblequeen said...

I love that arrangement...we sing it also. While I too, love both Hymns and modern worship, I find that more and more churches are "choosing sides". Sad.

Carissa said...

I love both versions of that song! If you like Chris Tomlin, then I would highly recommend Indelible Grace. They are a group of mostly college students and graduates of Belmont University in Nashville, and are from my former church there. They have taken many old hymns and written updated music so that the deep and meaningful words are not lost. If you ever get to hear Kevin Twit speak, run, don't walk! He is an incredible preacher!