We love mothers at Stevens Street! Each year on Mother’s Day, our pastor takes a break from his regular sermon series to preach a message to challenge and encourage our congregation. This week’s message looked at some of the particular challenges faced by Mary, the mother of Christ. Once the message is uploaded to the website (usually Monday afternoon), you’ll be able to watch or listen here. Our set list was “mother-inspired”, though nothing was specifically “about” motherhood. Here’s the list:
O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
Our opening hymn was an upbeat version from G3 worship of one this great hymn by Charles Wesley, which he wrote on the first anniversary of his conversion (learn more about this hymn here). Wesley’s mother Susanna was a spiritual giant, who raised her 10 living children (9 died in infancy) largely without the aid of her often-absent husband. Her rigorous discipline, intentional education, and strong prayer life helped to result in the salvation of millions of souls through the ministry of her children.
This is not the version we sang yesterday (a preview of that recording is available from G3 at the link above), but if you like it, you’ll find this arrangement available from Lifeway Worship, from Tommy Walker’s Generation Hymns project.
I Love to Tell the Story
Like Charles Wesley (and Paul’s protegé, Timothy), many of us inherited a love of the gospel story from our mothers. This new arrangement by Don Chapman was published just a few weeks ago, and just happened to flow very well coming out of our first hymn. Incidentally, this blog post by Chapman about cutting verses out of hymns is helpful, and uses this hymn as an example. We also chose to cut the verse about “all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams.”
Our pace changed quite a bit following two up-tempo versions of “traditional” hymns, flowing into a beautiful modern hymn by Glenn Packiam (covered on the blog here). Mother’s Day can be a particularly tough day for some people. Whether because of divorce, death in the family, abandonment, abuse, or for any number of reasons, not everyone sitting in our church services is in a particularly celebratory mood on this day. I wanted to include a hymn speaking of God’s faithfulness and steadfast love. Through all the troubles that surround, He is the Rock that never fails!
We used the orchestration for this song available from Praisecharts. Also, I’ve got to brag a little that the solo at the beginning of the song was sung beautifully by the mother of my children!
Travis Cottrell’s song “Jesus Saves” has long been a favorite of our church. In the last several weeks, we’ve had fewer congregational songs than normal, so this week I decided to forego a choir “special” for the sake of enjoying the opportunity for our congregation to be the choir, singing about our savior at the top of our lungs! Also, this was a good opportunity to lead into a sermon about Mary, by singing of “the newborn king” without sounding too Christmasy.
There are several good arrangements of this song, but the one we used yesterday (and which is in the above video) comes from Lifeway Worship.