Posts Tagged ‘hymn’

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Essentials Blue Final Project (song)

February 11, 2009

[Skip to the bottom of the post for the recording…]

So, after five intense weeks of worship theology, we’ve all been asked to post a creative project, a response to our learnings that could possibly be of use to our spiritual communities.  Well, you can take the worshiper out of the Anglican  church, but you can’t take the Anglican out of the worshiper.   I’ve chosen to rework a quasi-classic hymn, originally titled “Rise Up, O Men of God”.  The text was written in 1911 by William Merrill, a Presbyterian minister who would undoubtedly hate what I’ve done.  I follow in a long line of hymnal revisionists who have toyed with the lyrics to change the text from an exhortation towards men (actual males, not mankind) to a more broad congregational spectrum.  My own spiritual upbringing was in a church that sang “Rise Up, Ye Saints of God” each year on the first Sunday in November (All Saints’ Day).

Below are my lyrics.  The first verse is [roughly] Merrill’s original, and I kept the last line of the second verse intact, but everything else was written by me (I think).

Rise up, ye saints of God; be done with lesser things
Give heart and soul and mind and strength
to serve the King of Kings

Rise up, ye saints of God; Earth’s suffering doth prolong
all join in bringing Kingdom power
to end the night of wrong

Rise up, ye saints of God; as Jesus on the cross
He died to cover all our sins
and make a way for us

Rise up, ye saints of God; as Jesus rose to save
triumphant over pain and death
King Jesus, o’er the grave

We’re alive, we’re alive
in King Jesus, we’re alive
rising up, rising up to view the breaking dawn
we’re alive, we’re alive
in King Jesus, we’re alive
rising up, rising up with all our souls to you

The call is to all people to awaken to and join in God’s work of resurrection.  It is not just future resurrection, but present.  God’s kingdom is not separate, but coterminous with ours and getting closer.  This hymn specifically calls us to consider Jesus as we go about this awakening.  We look to him as the example, the one who gave his life for the kingdom being lifted on a cross and was then risen from the dead as we and God’s creation will be.  We also look to Jesus as the executor of this coming kingdom; more than just an example, his death and resurrection actually triggered this intersection of worlds, cancelling human sin and defeating the power of death.  Boo-yah!!!

Finally, upon contemplating Jesus’ importance, we celebrate the life he has won for us and we proclaim him Lord, our king.  Just as early Christians said, “Jesus, not Caesar is Lord”, we say Jesus is deserving of our full allegiance.  He has given life and we follow him, ushering in the new creation.

Here is a recording. I wish I had more time to polish it, but this week is crazy at work and I won’t get to it for another week if I don’t post it tonight.

This is the chord chart

Please leave feedback of any kind.

For: The Institute of Contemporary and Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen’s University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt

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Week 2: This Weary Earth (song)

January 22, 2009

For: The Institute of Contemporary and Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen’s University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt

All week, my mind has been drawn to this “Kingdom of Heaven” notion of of God restoring everything some day just as Jesus was resurrected fully and more so.

In particular, I’ve been thinking about how much of our planet requires restoration.  A coworker of mine, after seeing An Inconvenient Truth, told me that he’s convinced the planet is beyond repair and that any attempts we make to turn the tide of climate change would be feeble and futile.  The earth is going to die and humanity with it.  “We are a virus to the planet and the Earth needs us to die.  It’s inevitable”, he said.  I find this more and more difficult to reconcile with my faith and I wonder how large a share of this restoration work God is hoping we’ll try and shoulder.

Some quasi-poetic phrases came to mind yesterday and I started writing.  By the end of the day I had a song:

This Weary Earth (click to hear my hastily assembled recording).

This weary earth doth groan for care
and rescue from her keepers’ war
which rages, lustful in its aim
extinguishing life’s dimming flame

While sovereign God, in sadness toils
to soften hearts with healing oil
Earth’s kingdom heaves a dusty sigh
awaiting heaven’s grand reply

Were angels charged to tend the earth
then thrive, she would, e’er since her birth
Yet, fallen, we in violent form
have wrought our home it’s greatest harm

O beauty, rest resplendent thus
and God, restore in man your trust
to render heavenly design
redeemed as ours as we are thine

Criticism is invited and welcomed.  It’s been quite some time since I’ve put some original artistic expression into the world for others to see and I’d cherish feedback.

[1] Dan Wilt, Online Studies in Worship Theology and Biblical Worldview,  9-10