ChurchFolk: Songs of Death and Resurrection, Part 2

Devotionals > ChurchFolk: Songs of Death and Resurrection, Part 2

ChurchFolk: Songs of Death and Resurrection, Part 2

March 24, 2016


Erik Dewar, pastoral resident for worship and music, and Ruth Newby, ministry associate in worship and music, at College Church in Wheaton recently wrote about the ChurchFolk project and their first two songs for Good Friday and Easter. Today, they join God Centered Life again to tell us about the last two “Songs of Death and Resurrection” as we prepare for Good Friday and Easter.  The last two hymns for Songs of Death & Resurrection are here! We arranged these two specifically with Good Friday and Easter in mind. May our hearts cry, “What wondrous love is this?” as we reflect on Jesus’ redeeming work this Holy Week.

O Sacred Head

For the third recording of this project, we wanted to create an arrangement that was reflective in nature, allowing the listener to both mourn the sin for which Jesus bore God’s wrath and also to respond to the wonder of the cross. As we were looking through the hymnal with this purpose in mind, Caleb Wiley came up with the idea to combine O Sacred Head Now Wounded and What Wondrous Love Is This. The more we worked on the arrangement, the more we were inspired by the prayer-like, personal nature of O Sacred Head Now Wounded and the question-based introspection of What Wondrous Love Is This: O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down, Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, thine only crown: How pale thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn! How does that visage languish which once was bright as morn! What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul? What thou, my Lord, hast suffered was all for sinners’ gain; Mine, mine was the transgression, but thine the deadly pain. Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ‘Tis I deserve thy place; Look on me with thy favor, vouchsafe to me thy grace. What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul! What wondrous love is this, O my soul! What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul, To bear the dreadful curse for my soul. What language shall I borrow to thank thee, dearest Friend, For this thy dying sorrow, thy pity without end? O make me thine forever; and should I fainting be, Lord, let me never, never outlive my love for thee— And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be; And through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on; And through eternity, I’ll sing on. To complement the reflective feel of the hymn texts, we went with an ensemble of five people, the smallest group we’ve used for ChurchFolk projects so far. Many thanks to Melissa Hilker (vocals) and Kevin Casey (banjo) for joining. Also, listen for the juxtaposition of melodies between voice and cello during the third verse of O Sacred Head Now Wounded. The layering of the two hymns eventually spills into a hopeful look into the endless joy of eternity. Until we get there, may we live humbly for our Savior who bore the dreadful curse to make us his forever. —Ruth

 Jesus Lives, and So Shall I

We wanted to celebrate Jesus’s resurrection specifically with one of this project’s four hymns. After exploring a handful of ideas, I kept going back to the text based on Gellert’s 18th C. German poem, Jesus lebt, mit ihm auch ich. We wrote the second verse to dwell longer on the actual Resurrection event; then set it all to a new tune. The empty tomb and the staggering promises of God are the grounds to these confident words. What a radical mockery of death to sing “thy sting is gone forever!” Death itself must obey our victorious King. Our arrangement begins instrumentally with the despair of the grave. The sound of hope builds throughout the introduction, then spills over into singing: Jesus lives, and so shall I. Death, thy sting is gone forever! He who bowed his head to die, lives, the bands of death to sever. He shall raise me from the dust; Jesus is my Hope and Trust. Jesus is my Hope and Trust. Jesus lives, though once he died. In the ground he was forsaken. Yet, the stone was rolled aside! How the gates of hell were shaken! Death obeys Him, yes, it must; Jesus is my Hope and Trust. Jesus is my Hope and Trust. Jesus lives, and reigns supreme, and his kingdom still remaining, I shall also be with him, ever living, ever reigning. God has promised. He is just; Jesus is my Hope and Trust. Jesus is my Hope and Trust. Jesus lives, I know full well. Naught from him my heart can sever, Life, nor death, nor pow’rs of hell, joy, nor grief, henceforth forever. None of all his saints is lost; Jesus is my Hope and Trust. Jesus is my Hope and Trust. The Lamb who was slain is now standing in Resurrection glory! We pray “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1:17–21) —Erik]]>


Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.


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