We are going to be talking this week about the direction, “captivate”. When I was talking to Ryan this week about the service, I thought a lot about what it looks like to the world to be a child of God and so the songs this week speak to the idea of how our lives look different when we walk in faith.
Here with You
There is a line in the chorus of this song that when I first heard it, made me stop, “I have heaven in me, everything’s changed and I will never be without You.” I was immediately thrown off by the “everything’s changed” because what does that look like to have everything changed? It’s such a bold statement about God’s presence in our lives that I wanted to make sure I came from a place of authenticity when I sang it.
The bridge answers my question perfectly when it says, “You see me in the fire, reaching out with open hands. You find me on my knees, fill me with Your peace again. Forever I am loved and freedom reigns in me.” The change that happens in our lives when we accept God’s love is that He gives us a life of peace, love and freedom. I am the same person, but I have a completely different perspective that changes the way I see and do life. So in this call to worship, we open our time with bold statements of our faith—we call on God and acknowledge that He is here with us, that we have heaven in us, that trusting Him changes everything in our lives and we will never be without Him.
Holy, Holy, Holy/God with Us
I grew up singing old hymns and ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ is one of my absolute favorites. What I recently realized about this song is that it has a place in so many different branches of Christianity—from Church of Christ to Methodist to Presbyterian, Lutheran and Church of God. Each of these branches of Christianity have fundamental differences, but this song has a place in all of their worship.
Worship is meant to unify, to bring us together as a community. The United Church of Christ has a call to worship that says, “We gather with different joys and sorrows, different hopes and fears….Different people, different lives, different histories, Yet one people with one God…”. In ‘God with Us’, we sing the line “so that all the world will know our God with us.” These two songs celebrates our unity, the strength that it provides for us and how we tell the world about how our lives are changed by God.
It Is Well
Horatio Spafford wrote this hymn in 1873 in a time of tragedy. He was living in Chicago and lost his son in the Great Chicago Fire (in 1871). A couple years later, he sent his family to Europe where he would meet them after he took care of last minute buisness affairs, but the ship carrying his wife and four daughters sank after a collision with another ship. His wife survived and sent him a telegram to say, “Saved alone …”. While Mr Spafford was crossing the Atlantic to be with his wife, the captain of the ship called him to stand and look over where the ship carrying his daughters had sank. This is when Horation Spafford wrote the words, “when peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrow like sea billows roll, whatever my lot Thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.”
God offers us a peace that surpasses all understanding. Not that we will not experience pain and hurt but, like we expressed in our call to worship, God gives us a life of fullness instead of scarcity, love instead of isolation and freedom instead of fear. We sing the song “It is Well” with a modern adaptation, but the same sentiment—whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say it is well with my soul.
I look forward to worshiping with you all this Sunday.
Love to you all.