Hymns & Songs

Engaging the Word

Oct 2011    

Speak O Lord

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
Th at the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfi l in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow’r that can never fail—
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
Th at will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

Text and Music: Keith Getty and Stuart Townend
For the tune, please visit http://youtu.be/MGg40zKRvAg

“LET THE WORD OF CHRIST dwell richly among you” (Col. 3:16). These words of Paul state the centrality of the Word of God in worship and in our lives.

How do we engage the Word of God as a worshipping community? In worship, the Word of God comes to us through the reading of the Scriptures and through the sermon. This is made possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. The preacher goes through diligent preparation. The Scripture reader needs to prepare himself or herself too.

It is in light of preparing for the proclamation of the Word that the song “Speak O Lord” was written by contemporary hymn writers Stuart Townend and Keith Getty.

The song “Speak O Lord” was written as a sung prayer for illumination. As they worked on the text, Getty thought more about how we can see reverence and realise the importance of the Word – both in listening and responding. Townend had two questions: How do we really connect to the Word we hear? How do we affect the world by the Word we heard?

Having heard their points and looking at the text of the song, it may be worth singing the song in two different movements in worship. The first stanza functions as the sung prayer for illumination. As we prepare to engage God’s Word, we pray that the Word will shape and form us to be like Christ.

Worship is a dialogue. After hearing the Word, what is our response?

In the Old Testament after Moses read the book of Covenant to the people, they responded “We will do everything the LORD said; we will obey” (Exodus 19:8, 24:3, 24:7).

In the context of using “Speak O Lord”, we would sing the second and third stanzas as our response. It is still a prayer: we ask God to teach us obedience, humility, and to deepen our understanding of who God is and how we should respond to His grace upon us.

Our response goes beyond our singing. Our response lies in the way we conduct ourselves after coming out from corporate worship. It is a challenge! The world is harsh. Thus, we sing this song as a prayer asking the Lord to renew and transform us so that we may go out, empowered by the Holy Spirit, striving to serve Christ in our daily tasks, not forgetting to take joy in all that we do and – for His Glory.

Judith Mosomos is a Lecturer in Church Music at the Methodist School of Music.

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Christmas message in music on Dec 6

THE METHODIST SCHOOL OF MUSIC (MSM) will present “Gaudete, Gaudete! Christmas Through the Ages” at the Esplanade Concert Hall on Dec 6, 2011 at 7.30 pm.

Following the success of the Wesleyan Hymn Festival 2010, the Hymn Festival Director/Composer Michael Burkhardt (left) of the United States will return to direct a 100-voice chorus with orchestra and organ, presenting seasonal anthems and carols.

Be inspired again by the timeless message of Christmas through anthems, carols and organ music.

Tickets, from $10, are available now at SISTIC www.sistic.com.sg

Net proceeds will be channelled to the MSM Scholarship Fund.

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