This week, Josh preached from Acts 1: 15-26. Our songs were gathered around the theme of the Ascension. The Ascension is the moment when Jesus "was taken up" and "hidden by the clouds" in Acts 1. Below, you’ll find the list of the songs and artists. Clicking the song titles will take you to the lyrics. Below the songs, there is an example of one way you might think of these songs in light of this week's theme. If you want to talk about any of these, feel free to comment or email me at email@example.com.
All the Poor and Powerless by All Sons and Daughters
Oceans by Hillsong United
Up On A Mountain by The Welcome Wagon
How They Fit In:
There are many ways to think about the significance of songs and the way they fit together–-this is simply one way you can look at these songs in light of this week’s theme.
Come Thou Fount: We sang this song to think again about the work of Jesus in light of the Ascension and to begin anticipating the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost (next week). This song can be understood to be firmly planted between the Ascension and Pentecost--especially when we look at the stanzas out of order. The second stanza talks about raising an "Eben-Ezer"--a throw-back to the time Samuel made a monument to signify God being with Israel in a battle against the Philistines (1 Sam 7:12)--to remember what God has done for us in Jesus. The third stanza looks back on the work of Jesus as well in acknowledging the fact that we stand as debtors in light of what Jesus did for us [Note: We are not debtors in the sense that God has a cosmic ledger that shows us in the red--Jesus wiped that ledger clean. We are debtors in that we know that Jesus did something for us that we can in no way repay, and our gratitude drives us to respond in love.] Ok. So. We look back before the Ascension in the second two stanzas. In the first stanza, we look forward to the coming of a "Fount of Every Blessing" that can "tune our hearts" and teach us a song sung by "flaming tongues above." This fount that we call for is the Holy Spirit.
All The Poor and Powerless: In the Ascension, we see that Jesus did not simply rise from the dead for a time, only to die again. Instead, He stepped beyond the realm that we might call physical to be with the Father. He didn't die--he left. The power of the resurrection held true. This means that the hope of the resurrection and the hope of the Kingdom movement that entered the world through the ministry of Jesus live on, even in the absence of Jesus walking among us. This is means that the poor, the powerless, the lost, the lonely, thieves, cowards, and all those who society would quickly rid itself of if given the option, can find their Hope.
Oceans: Before Jesus' ascension, He promised the disciples that the Holy Spirit would come empower them to continue His work. In His leaving, Jesus called His followers to stay the course. We too are called to continue His work--and seeking to do this can be equal parts confusing and overwhelming. Oceans uses the image of walking on water to illustrate at least two things: doing things that we are literally incapable of doing without God's aid, and entering into chaotic and unknown territory. As we contemplate what it means for us to be Jesus in the world, we must not lose sight of the fact that we are neither able nor expected to do it alone.
Up On A Mountain: This song reminds us of the dread that Jesus had before the crucifixion (like any of us, he did not want to die), and that He was aware of what would ultimately become of the human race if he did not die. Despite all of this, the third verse points out that the work of Jesus for us did not cease after the cross. Though Jesus is no longer among us in flesh and blood, Jesus is still intimately concerned for the human race--He is praying on our behalf and is with us through the Spirit. Though Jesus ascended, He is not wholly gone--we are not alone.
Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos.