Sunday, July 01, 2012

Canadian Worship Night - The Stories Behind the Songs

When I realized July 1 was a Sunday, I thought, "Wouldn't it be cool to have all Canadian worship music at The Gathering for Canada Day?"

So tonight, that's just what we did! I did some research and found the stories behind all the songs, and gave it out to the congregation.

As my Canada Day gift to you, 
here are the stories behind the worship songs*
 we sang tonight:

*The Gathering often incorporates secular inspirational songs into worship, so for tonight's purposes, Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Young are worship writers! 

Heart of Gold
By Neil Young
"Heart of Gold" was released on the 1972 album Harvest, and was a #1 hit in both Canada and the USA. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked it #297 on their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. The song is one of a series of acoustic pieces which were written partly as a result of a back injury. Unable to stand for long periods of time, Young could not play his electric guitar and so returned to his acoustic guitar, which he could play sitting down.

Come, Now is the Time to Worship
By Brian Doerkson
In the mid-1990’s, Canadian worship leader, Brian Doerkson, and his family were in their lowest place - they lost everything financially, experienced a tremendous ministry failure, and discovered a genetic illness in 3 of their 6 children. In the midst of this time, he took a prayer walk and heard the line, “Come, now is the time to worship…”. He realized that the call to worship sounded in all times and in all places, not just for those who have it all together - we are called to worship even at the lowest  points in our lives. Doerkson wrote the song and used it in his private worship for weeks. Within months of bringing it to his church, it was being sung in churches around the world. 

You Take Me Higher
By Gerald Flemming
Gerald wrote “You Take Me Higher” in 2011 as a congregational song of praise. It expresses the joy and energy of a personal encounter with an all-powerful God. “You Take Me Higher” has been featured in The Gathering’s recent video teaser, and will appear on Infinitely More’s upcoming debut CD.

Hallelujah (Psalm 31)
By Leonard Cohen 
Tonight’s verse text: King David
"Hallelujah" was originally released on Cohen’s studio album, Various Positions (1984). Cohen's original version contains several biblical references, most notably evoking the stories of Samson and the traitorous Delilah from the Book of Judges, as well as the adulterous King David and Bathsheba: “she cut your hair" and "you saw her bathing on the roof, her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you." Tonight’s text draws from Psalm 31 - ironically, a psalm attributed to King David.

If You Could Read My Mind
By Gordon Lightfoot
"If You Could Read My Mind" reached number one on Canadian music charts and was Lightfoot’s first recording to appear on the American music charts, reaching number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in January 1971. Lightfoot has cited his divorce for inspiring the lyrics, saying they came to him as he was sitting in a vacant Toronto house one summer.  

Living Manna
By Allison Lynn
Allison wrote “Living Manna” late one night in her parent’s Burlington living room. The song speaks to the wholeness of God, as found through bread, water, blood, and the Trinity. “Living Manna” will appear on Infinitely More’s upcoming debut CD.

Refiner's Fire
By Brian Doerkson
One day, while stuck in traffic, Brian Doerkson felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and ‘heard’ two lines being sung repeatedly - “Purify my heart, let me be as gold…” He rushed to his church, hid away in a back room with his guitar, Bible, and concordance, and began to search through all the references to “purify.”  Doerkson says this about the song, “...singing words like ‘Purify my heart’ is so dangerous and so important. It prepares us to see God. … Our calling and role in God’s unfolding redemption depends on our hearts being purified. And our relationship with God depends on it as well.” 

God keep our land, glorious and free!
Happy Canada Day!!

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