Monday, November 09, 2015

My Worship World: Woodinville Youth Rally

I have wanted to do this for a while. My close friends and those that live life with me on Facebook know that I am frequently contacted by other Churches of Christ to come be a guest worship leader. Leading God's people in worship is a passion of mine.

I want to be able to share things about worship with others and thought I should talk about recent worship sessions and give some tips or ideas. So I will occasionally share these opportunities.

This weekend I led worship for the Woodinville Church of Christ in Washington State. They were having a youth rally and my name was given as someone who could be a guest leader. I will usually say yes because I love to lead worship.

Their theme was "Legacy" as it was their 10th annual rally. We heard from Mitch Wilburn about what that means to leave a legacy and what Luke wrote about in the book of Acts. I decided that in the spirit of the theme, I would use my worship time to share a story or two from the songs we sang to talk about the authors and why they wrote the songs they did.

One song in particular was one I felt moved to share. It was the story of George Matheson. He wrote the hymn "O Love That Will Not Let Me Go".

No, we didn't sing this song during the youth rally portion. I led this song on Sunday morning for the entire church worship, but the rally was still technically happening.

George Matheson was going blind as a teenager. By the time he was in college he had lost his vision entirely. A sad thing for such a young person. His sisters decided to help him finish school by reading him his books and helping him learn his material. As he eventually went to seminary, they went so far as to learn Greek, Hebrew, and Latin so that they could teach him the Biblical languages.

The story goes that while in ministry his fiancee decided she could not go on in life and marry a blind man so she broke off the relationship. He never really got over her. When his sister was getting married, all the past feelings of sadness came back to him. But he knew his God and wrote the hymn for her wedding. He knew the God that gave him joy in suffering. Hope in hopelessness. Strength when he had fear. May we never give up because life gets difficult.

Here are the words to the song and a video of the Westminster Chorus singing a haunting rendition of that hymn.

O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O Light that follow'st all my way,
I yield my flick’ring torch to Thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in Thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from Thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.