November 2007 - Vol. 13
 


Rise O People, 
Called to Worship

by Ed Conlin

Click to listen to an MP3 audio clip 
of Rise O People, Called to Worship
written by Ed Conlin 
and sung by Brian Blum


Prayer, renewal, community, and ministry to the poor fuel Ed Conlin’s inspiring and Spirit-filled songwriting. Ed is a member of the Servants of the Word, a missionary brotherhood of men living single for the Lord. He lives in community in the inner city of Detroit, Michigan, USA, where, as a licensed substance abuse counselor and chaplain, he serves the poor caught in homelessness and addiction. Ed has a deep desire for, and appreciation of, praise and worship as a powerful agent of transformation for communities and individuals. His lyrics are usually taken from scripture, though some spring from the early church Fathers and great writers such as Augustine and John of the Cross. We have asked Ed to tell us about worship and about one of his new songs, Rise O People, Called to Worship
Why do we worship?
We were created by a God of infinite love who has called us into an intimate relationship of unity with the triune Godhead — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That unity is possible because the Father sent his Son into the world to redeem us and fill us with his life-giving Spirit.

It is our highest purpose to share the Trinity’s life. This statement is the reason for our worship.

Each of us, says Augustine in his commentary on the Book of Revelations, is uniquely gifted with the ability to glorify some aspect of the Divine Beauty as no one else can.

Drawn to the Lord
Hopefully, every individual who has experienced the life of God within them can recount some brief moment in worship where every fiber of their being was overwhelmed with a sense of God’s presence. We come to realize that our increasing desire for God increases our longing to give more of ourselves to him. In these encounters with God in worship we grow in our realization of the great mystery of the Trinity: the eternal exchange of infinite love ever seeking to give and receive totally.

In our community life within the Sword of the Spirit, we are especially blessed with the charismatic dimension of prayer and worship — with singing in the Spirit, praying in tongues, singing with jubilant praise and tears of joy, listening to the prophetic word, and bowing in reverent silence before the presence of the Lord. Deep worship which is reverent, non-indulgent, Spirit-orchestrated, and God-centered in praise is the treasure I believe God has given us to steward.  It’s a gift which I believe that God wants to give not only to those in charismatic communities and prayer groups, but to the whole Christian church. 

As community members, we have covenanted our lives together to be a people of praise and worship. I believe that our brotherly and sisterly commitments are truly a sign of God’s presence and work among us. Every scriptural description of heaven is replete with images of community. Gathered around the throne of God are a great company (or community) of saints and angels who join their voices in a great song of praise and worship. Here on earth, covenant commitment is a most extraordinary form of love — especially in today’s secular society which places individual freedom over faithfulness and places self-indulgence over sacrifice and the common good. Covenant love is the context of our worship of God who draws us into union with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and into community with one another as members of Christ’s body, the church.

Lyrics to Rise, O People, Called to Worship [and  audio clip of song]

Rise, O people, called to worship
Heaven’s highest praise to share
Clothed by God in holy splendor
Joined by Jesus’ priestly prayer
Here and now we see but dimly
Then and there our eyes behold
Him who we by faith now worship
Soon by sight to ever know.

Refrain

You, O font of life eternal,
You, the source of endless joy
Face to face with love forever
“Gloria” will angels cry,
“Glory” will our hearts reply
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.”
Lives we’ve offered, brought before you
As all heaven’s hosts adore
Theirs with heavenly incense burning
Eyes to shroud your holy throne
Countless saints robed white in splendor
Washed in blood of spotless Lamb
Never more to thirst or hunger
Never more to understand.

Refrain

Every tear wiped by the Father
Every nation’s tumult quelled
Lord of sea and crash of thunder
By his will creation stilled
Heaven’s host then brought to silence
At the Lamb enthroned above
Then will we the silence shatter
Worshipping the Face of Love.

I invite you to reflect on the words of the song, ‘Rise O People’. This song is an effort to raise our awareness of what we do when we gather together for praise and worship. By combining various scriptural references to heaven, this song raises our hope for the promises of God and for the eternal, beatific vision when we will see God face to face and enjoy him forever. 

Verse 1 highlights the tremendous mantle of praise God has given us now as a people 
and the hope of heaven that this praise stirs in us.

Verse 2 emphasizes the fact that heaven’s worship is rendered present to us as we enter here and now. 

Verse 3 describes Augustine’s vision at the window at Ostia (from Augustine’s Confessions Book 2, chapter 11). When Christ brings all of creation into submission and silence before him, then we, and all the heavenly host, will shatter this silence with praise, in an attitude of reverent wonder and awe.

As we worship in Spirit and truth, we enter heaven and heaven enters us. God becomes more present on earth, a world so needy and so dark. Worship is certainly God’s due, but it is also our tremendous privilege — and the world is poorer if we fail to offer it. 

[The song Rise O People, Called to Worship is included in a Music CD entitled, "Trust Him", produced by In His Presence. The CD and sheet music can be ordered from Tabor House or from In His Presence.] 
 

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(c) copyright 2007  The Sword of the Spirit
publishing address: Park Royal Business Centre, 9-17 Park Royal Road, Suite 108, London NW10 7LQ, United Kingdom
email: living.bulwark@yahoo.com
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