The Gentle Wolves Vol. 2: Track 6 – God of the Dead

Today’s song:
God of the Dead
Words and Music: Seth Woods, 2008.

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This is one of the last of Seth’s songs that have made such a mark on Servant Church in its first year.  I love the simplicity of this song.  The joke has often been made that ‘God of the Dead’ makes a great metal band name.

This song serves as a corporate prayer. It is an ‘us’ song as opposed to an ‘I’ song.  These are important because the Christian life is not about ‘me and God’, its about ‘us and God’.

Key lyric: Open your mouth and breathe our new name

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The Gentle Wolves Vol. 2: Track 5 – O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

Today’s song:
O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
Words: Charles Wesley, 1739.
Music: Charles G. Glaser, 1828.  Additional lyrics by Richard Kentopp, 2010.

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This is the first Wesley song which I have been able to convert to something not involving a large organ.  Now that I’m working for a Methodist church, there’s a lot of pressure to do many more similar conversions by our great champion, Chuck.  While I do appreciate Wesley’s theological and ecclesiastical legacy, his songs are very…. wordy.  And…. melodically complex.  Sometimes it seems like he was in a competition with his brother John to see how many words they could cram into a day.  We might see more of Wesley at Servant Church in the future, but for now I’m still catching my breath from getting through the last stanza.

I decided to add the cheezy little refrain in the middle for two reasons.  First, musically, it just begs a refrain, something phrased slowly that doesn’t feel like we’re rapping with the Wesley brothers.  Also, I wanted to contextualize the song to our local context at Servant Church.  ‘Teach us the songs that will cause all to sing, breathe through our lives to impart the grace that only you can bring’ This is a nice cheezy wedding of Servant Church’s mission statement and Wesley’s original lyrics.

Key lyric: My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim, to spread through all the earth abroad the honors of thy name.

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The Gentle Wolves Vol. 2: Track 4 – My Father’s World



Today’s song:
My Father’s World
Words: Maltie D. Babcock, 1901.
Music: Seth Woods, 2008.

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This is probably my favorite song that my good friend Seth Woods unearthed and set to new music.  Before I began playing it with Seth years ago I had never heard a version of this 20th century classic that wasn’t just the cheeziest thing I’ve ever heard.   The lyrics, however, are some of the most wonderful to ever be written.  The theological centerpiece of the song is the ability to see the Creator through creation.  While the universe, galaxies, solar systems, and wonderfully ordered planets are not necessarily proof of a creator, they certainly can reflect one and act as his vocal chords to us.

Key lyric: In the rustling grass I hear him pass, he speaks to me everywhere.

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The Gentle Wolves Vol. 2: Track 3 – I Have Decided To Follow Jesus

Today’s song:
I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
Words: Unknown
Music: Traditional Indian Folk Melody

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This song has been with me since I was a child.  I love the simplicity of this powerful hymn.  Though its origins are unclear, this song speaks to the diversity of songs that we worship with at Servant Church.  One of the most interesting things about this song is the second verse which says ‘Though I may wander, I still will follow…’.   Though this is the line we sing, many of the sources I’ve found online and in books say ‘Though I may wonder…’  Obviously the difference in the single vowel implies an important difference in meaning.

We at Servant Church want church to be a place that you can wonder.  We wonder about God, we wonder about what our meaning in life is, and we wonder exactly how we’re supposed to reconcile these crazy ideas that Jesus spoke of are supposed to be reconciled with our every day lives.

At the same time, I appreciate the honesty in acknowledging the fact that we will wander and stray in our following of Jesus, even though we will ultimately follow.

In the end we went with the latter because we thought honesty would be a higher value to communicate at Servant Church.  But, of course, you’re welcome to say either when we sing it on Sunday!

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The Gentle Wolves Vol. 2: Track 2 – Come Down O Love Divine

Today’s song:
Come Down O Love Divine

Words: Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1906.
Music: Seth Woods, 2008.

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Sorry for the delay in posting this song, I had some problems having this track come together.  It eventually worked with some percussion help from my long time collaborator and brother Winston Reed Chapman.

This is another of Seth Woods’ incredible songs that we use regularly at Servant Church.  The lyrics, taken from the turn of the century America, speak perfectly of the ways which we are dependent upon the LORD.  We absolutely can not visit our Creator.  Instead God, his fire, light, grace and love are things we must receive and certainly can’t conjure.

Key Lyric: Come down O love divine, seek thou this soul of mine and visit it it with thine own ardor glowing!

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