When it comes to worship leading, the area that seems to be my strong point is song selection. There are numerous factors that go into picking just the right worship set. 1) Picking songs that fit together thematically. 2) Picking songs that people will be excited to sing. (“God’s Wonderful People” could fit a sermon on family perfectly, but I probably wouldn’t use it. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say they love to sing that song!) 3) Picking a good mix of fast and slow, old and new. 4) Arranging these songs in an order that makes sense emotionally, typically beginning and ending with uptempo songs.
Why do I bring all this up? Well, this week I’m NOT following all of my criteria. Our sermon this week is on silence. Silence is something that many times we tend to avoid in society. We turn the TV on to fall asleep to. We put our earbuds in during a walk/jog outside. But silence can be a good thing. To accentuate that point, I thought it was necessary for me to stick to the theme. As you can imagine, most songs that are related to this topic tend to have a more slow, reflective feel. In fact, some of our songs will have moments of silence in them!
1. Master the Tempest is Raging
The words to this song can certainly have dual meaning. Is it telling the story of Jesus calming the stormy sea? Or is it a metaphor for Jesus calming the “storms” in our life? I’d say the answer is both, and I think Mary Baker (the lyricist) would agree. Mary lost her brother when she was only 42 years old, so I imagine he couldn’t have been too much older. It was devastating to her. Writing the words to this song helped her find peace through Christ.
2. Be Still and Know
Our scripture reading for our sermon includes Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” This song helps reinforce that verse in song.
3. The Lord is in His Holy Temple
This song also comes directly from scripture. Habakkuk 2:20, “But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”
4. Christ, We Do All Adore Thee
It has been 3 years since I led this song on a Sunday morning. The reason I so rarely lead it is not because I don’t like it; on the contrary, I like the song, but I feel that we don’t do the song justice. The words provide such a deep level of adoration for God; paired with the music, it should truly cause our hearts to bow before Him. The music even calls for a moment of silence before the last line of the song, which is why this came to mind for our theme this week.
5. Night, with Ebon Pinion
If there was ever a time when Christ felt alone, it must have been the Garden of Gethsemane. It was such a difficult time for Him that an angel came to strengthen Him. This song poetically depicts the scene in phrases that some may have difficulty understanding. (What exactly is ebon pinion?) This video explains.
6. Tis Midnight, and On Olive’s Brow
One of my favorite communion hymns, this song also talks about Jesus being alone in the garden. It amazes me that musically this song is written in a major key, yet it is still able to depict such sorrow.
7. Highly Exalted
After the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was led to be crucified. Scripture even refers to the silence in this part of His life. Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.”
8. Have You Seen Jesus My Lord?
There is something about being out in nature that causes us to be silent and enjoy the view around us. That was the imagery that came to mind with this song. Imagine standing by the ocean, listening to the waves crash. When we stop long enough in moments like that to be silent, we will no doubt experience God.
9. Take Time to Be Holy
The second verse of this song references how important it is to take time to be silent with God. The world is rushing around, but we should spend time alone with God to keep us from feeling rushed with the rest of the world.
I’d say there’s not much for me to say on this song. I think the title alone says it all!
11. My God is Singing Over Me
One more reason to be silent and listen: God is singing over you! What is He saying? What is His plan for your life? Be sure to take the time to listen as you go about your week.