Highlights

Your glory, Lord—the reason we serve!

Jul 2019    

Hymnody is a rich and distinctive tradition of Methodism. Indeed, Methodism is memorably described as being “born in song”, as our expressions of faith are substantially captured in the thousands of hymns penned by the Wesley brothers. This hallowed tradition did not, however, come to an end with the final drop of ink from a Wesleyan pen; nor should it, given the Biblical exhortation to “sing to the LORD a new song” (Ps 96:1).

It was against this backdrop that work began on “The Reason We Serve”. The process commenced literally above the clouds, where concepts and lyrics were scrawled—mid-flight—on an air-sickness bag. The words that flowed were borne out of our reflections on a continuing journey of service; specifically, that we serve with the strength that God provides, so that in all things He might be glorified (1 Pet 4:10–11).

“The Reason We Serve” reminds us that we are called to serve with our God-given gifts (verse 1), to exemplify Christ the servant-King (verse 2), and to press onward and upward as disciples in one united body of Christ (verse 3). The bridge is an intimate confession of our sinful nature, a recognition of our struggles on the path of sanctification, and a prayer for God’s mercy and grace. Each refrain builds upon the previous, encouraging us to lean on God’s perfect strength and to serve for His glory.

The piece features a fusion of elements from Wesleyan hymnody and modern worship songs. It combines a traditional multi-verse structure with a contemporary refrain and an optional bridge, thus at once reflecting the Methodist Church’s rootedness to its heritage and its evolution with the times.

The piece is written for congregational singing, and is available in English (original) and Mandarin (translated). It was first corporately sung in Mandarin at the 2016 dedication service at Queenstown Chinese Methodist Church. It has since been regularly used as a sending song during worship services.

The English original was first sung at the 2018 Methodists, Sing! event, organised by the Methodist School of Music, followed by the Aldersgate SG 2019 Celebration Service.

We pray that “The Reason We Serve” will edify and encourage our brothers and sisters to press on in service for His glory.

The Reason We Serve

Verse 1
Father in heaven, You call us to serve
Our brothers and sisters, our neighbours on earth.
For Lord, we are stewards of gifts from above,
Your glory is the reason we serve.
* Refrain

Refrain
And in Your strength, O Lord, we give our all,
We rise to the challenge, we answer the call.
And we press on, we serve in faith, hope and love;
Your glory, Lord—the reason we serve!

Verse 2
Christ, You are king, but a servant You came,
The sick, poor and weary You loved all the same.
And this You commanded, our neighbours to love,
Your glory is the reason we serve.
* Refrain

Verse 3
Lord, as Your people, we move forth to serve,
As one in the Spirit, with vigour and verve.
As humble disciples, flagbearers of love,
Your glory is the reason we serve.
* Refrain

Bridge
Lord, we’re but sinners, we stumble and fall.
We sought not Your glory, we gave not our all.
Forgive us, recharge us and mould us Your way,
Help us, renew us, we pray!
* Refrain

Words and Music:
Leong Shengyu and Justin Yeo

The original audio recording of  “The Reason We Serve” is at
https://youtu.be/KKzEopkuACU

Justin Yeo and Leong Shengyu serve in the worship and music ministry of Queenstown Chinese Methodist Church.

Picture by Tinnakorn/Bigstock.com

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