Our Song in the Night

Here is a song I wrote for my church‘s lenten series on Lament & Hope. It’s a reflection on Psalm 77 and voices a lot of the struggles that our family has experienced in the past year. I think it’s clear listening through it, but the “turn” in the bridge from our struggle and questions to the suffering of Jesus is something we’ve taken comfort in. Nicholas Wolterstorff says it beautifully in his book, “Lament for a Son“:

“How is faith to endure, O God, when you allow all this scraping and tearing on us? You have allowed rivers of blood to flow, mountains of suffering to pile up, sobs to become humanity’s song–all without lifting a finger that we could see. You have allowed bonds of love beyond number to be painfully snapped. If you have not abandoned us, explain yourself.

We strain to hear. But instead of hearing an answer we catch sight of God himself scraped and torn. Through our tears we see the tears of God.”


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O Troubled Soul, Be Still

Finally something new! So much has happened since I last posted something on this site. There are a few hundred entries on our family blog explaining our son’s battle with leukemia, and I wrote up some thoughts about this song there as well, so I’ll just put the lyrics and recording link here.

O Troubled Soul, Be Still

listen to a recording

Be still, O troubled soul, be still;
Fear not, the Father holds you near.
Take up your cross, lay down your will,
And bring him all your fears,
And bring him all your fears.

O anxious soul, lay down your load,
Oh, hear His voice, He speaks to thee,
“Be still and know that I am God,
And cast your cares on Me.
Cast your cares on Me”

O fearful soul, be still, be still,
Be of good cheer; has He not said,
“I will be with you, fear no ill,
I am here, be not afraid“?
I am here, be not afraid“?

O waiting soul, be still, be strong,
And though He tarry, trust and wait;
Doubt not, He will not wait too long,
Fear not, He won’t be late.
Fear not, He won’t be late.

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Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven

This has become a favorite at Hope Chapel over the past couple of years. How can you not love “ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven…who, like me, his praise should sing”? This is my retuning, although there are lots of other great tunes out there as well.

Recording | Chart

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I Surrender All

Here is a live recording of Judson Van De Venter’s late 19th-century hymn ‘I Surrender All’. This hasn’t been in the regular cannon of songs at Hope Chapel, but it happened to be a very fitting sending song a few weeks ago. We used the slightly reworked lyrics by Caedmon’s Call (most notable change may be in very 2 where they substitute “treasures” in place of “pleasures” so that the line reads “Worldly treasures all forsaken…”).

Recording | Chord Chart

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Blessed Assurance

Here’s a recording of Fanny Crosby’s “Blessed Assurance” from a worship service at Hope Chapel about a month ago. A great reminder that for the Christian, the work is done and “all is at rest”.

Recording | Chord Chart

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Hello! It has been a long while since I’ve posted anything here, but I’ve got some new music to share with you. First off, I’m going to be participating in a songwriting challenge called 7in7, starting today. For the next week I’ll be writing a song each day and posting a demo recording of it. What a challenge. Here’s the first one: https://soundcloud.com/michaelvanpatter/what-could-be. It’s a little song about living in the present.

Secondly, my band Meager Fare released a 6-song EP in January. You can check it out on our store, or on iTunes or Amazon music.

Third, I’m going to be posting some arrangements of hymns that you’ll know in the coming weeks. They are live recordings from services at Hope Chapel Greensboro and are mostly our versions of some traditional hymns. Stay tuned for those.

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New Christmas record from Hope Chapel

Jesus ComesHope Chapel, where I serve as director of worship arts, just released a Christmas record and you can get it for free here: http://hopechapel.bandcamp.com/album/jesus-came-jesus-comes. I produced and arranged everything, along with my friend (and worship intern!) Griffin Kale. It’s completely in-house, from the musicians and singers to recording, mixing, and mastering. We even had a group of 20 or so folks sing in a stairwell after the worship service one day (you’ll hear them on tracks 1 and 6).

Along with the music, your download will include a PDF with chord charts for all of the arrangements– maybe some of you are still looking for Christmas music to use in worship services this season. Hope it can be useful to you!

I’d love to hear what you think. Feel free to email me at michaelvanpatter [at] gmail.com.

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An original hymn: For Your Glory

Every song I’ve posted on this blog has been an old hymn text set to new music. Occasionally, though, I’m hoping to post a song with original text and music. This is a text that I first wrote almost 10 years ago, then rewrote about 2 years back. It’s an attempt to capture the majesty and worth of God and the humble worship that results. At the same time, it’s a reminder that we are daughters and sons, loved and known– and so we can worship boldly and with confidence. This recording is from last Sunday’s worship service at Hope Chapel.

For Your Glory (words/music: Michael Van Patter)

recording | chart

It’s for Your glory, Lord, we come—not for our own gain
For Your glory, Lord, we come—to praise Your holy name
Not on a merit of our own, alone we’d bring you shame
But by the power of His blood, we stand and bless Your name

We hope in nothing we have done, we boast in Christ alone
We are daughters, we are sons; and we are loved and known
And in the quiet of this place, we’ll boldly seek Your throne
And plead the merit of His blood and worship You alone

You are worthy our Messiah! You are worthy Abba Father!
You are worthy King of Glory! You are worthy of all praise!

When the last sun fades away and all is said and done
You will be forever praised, from every tribe and every tongue
And every knee will someday bow in reverence ‘fore Your throne
Until that day we’ll join and sing, “the glory’s Yours alone”!

You are worthy Great Redeemer!You are worthy Mighty God!
You are worthy Everlasting! You are worthy of all praise!

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Issac Watts hymn for the Ascension

Here’s a hymn rewrite I contributed to a Cardiphonia project called Hymns for the Ascension. It’s a bit different than my normal folkish style– I enjoyed actually using no guitars on this one. Check out the entire collection of songs here: http://cardiphonia.bandcamp.com/album/hymns-for-the-ascension.

Lord, When Thou Didst Ascend (text: Issac Watts, 1719)

recording | chart

Lord, when Thou didst ascend on high,
Ten thousand angels filled the sky;
Those heav’nly guards around thee wait,
Like chariots that attend thy state.

Not Sinai’s mountain could appear
More glorious when the Lord was there;
While he pronounced his dreadful law,
And struck the chosen tribes with awe.

How bright the triumph none can tell,
When the rebellious powers of hell,
That thousand souls had captive made,
Were all in chains like captives led.

Raised by his Father to the throne,
He sent the promised Spirit down
With gifts and grace for rebel men,
That God might dwell on earth again.

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a new song!

Hello friends. It has been far too long since I’ve posted something. My church, Hope Chapel moved into a new facility at the end of 2011 and it consumed most of my fall and winter. I have missed the creative outlet that hymnwriting provides and I’m looking forward to jumping back in soon.

For now, I do have one new song for you (although it’s actually been out on the internets for a few months). I was glad to contribute something to a compilation project called ‘Songs for the Supper’, organized by Cardiphonia. The album consists of 30 songs from writers all over, all around the theme of the Lord’s Supper. It’s really quite fantastic. I contributed one called “Thee, King of Saints We Praise’. Hope you enjoy.

* to hear the rest of the songs, go here: http://cardiphonia.bandcamp.com/album/songs-for-the-supper

Thee, King of Saints, We Praise (Text: Charles Wesley, 1859; Music & Add. lyrics: Michael Van Patter, 2012)

(recording | lead sheet)

THEE, King of Saints, we praise,
For this our Living Bread;
Sustained by Thy grace,
Sustained by Thy grace,
Sustained by Thy grace
And at Thy Table fed ;

We we in lower parts
Of Thy great kingdom feast,
We feel in our hearts,
We feel in our hearts,
We feel in our hearts
The promise of Thy rest.

Yet still a higher seat
We in Thy kingdom claim,
And begin by faith to eat,
Begin by faith to eat,
Begin by faith to eat
The Supper of the Lamb.

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