Worship & Music Ministry

What's Going On This Month

What's up at St. Mark Lutheran Church? In addition to our Saturday and Sunday services, choir, and hand bells, we've got some special things coming up. You can find more information about these 'happenings' on the Events page.

Our Hymns - A Little of the Backstory

The origins for some of the Hymns scheduled for this month are presented here. Some will be sung at one of our services. Others are suggestions to be sung as a personal 'Hymn Sing' on Sunday.

We Three Kings of Orient Are – John Henry Hopkins, Jr. (1820-1891)

Unfortunately we tend to sing only the first stanza of most Christmas carols even though the depth of meaning is often found in later stanzas. Everyone knows the wise men, but what was their significance? John Henry Hopkins, an Episcopalian minister (as well as a news reporter and stained glass artist) pondered this question in hymn form in 1837.

Gold was a gift for a king. Frankincense was brought by priests in their worship of God. Myrrh was a spice used in burial. Thus Jesus was honored by these sages as King, God, and Sacrifice.

How then shall we approach the King of Kings? What gold shall we bring? What incense shall we offer as priests of our God? How can we honor our crucified Lord? It makes sense to consider these questions [on] the traditional date of Epiphany, celebrating the magi’s worship of our Lord.

The One Year Book of Hymns

I Need Thee Every Hour – Annie Sherwood Hawks (1835-1918)

You don’t often think of hymns being written by thirty-seven-year-old homemakers from Brooklyn, but that’s the story of this hymn. Annie Hawks was busy with her household chores when the words came to her. She later wrote, “I was so filled with a sense of nearness to my Master that, wondering how one could live without Him in either joy or pain, these words, ‘I need thee every hour,’ were flashed into my mind. Seating myself by the open window in the balmy air of a bright June day, I caught up my pencil and the words were soon committed to paper.

The pastor of her Baptist church was a musician, and he put the words to music. Two years later, Dwight L. Moody and Ira Sankey discovered the song, and it became famous, much to the amusement of Annie Hawks.

Hawks reflected, “It was not until years later, when the shadow fell over my way, the shadow of a great loss, that I understood something of the comforting power in the words.” God often allows us to learn in the sunshine what we will need to lean on in the darkness.

The One Year Book of Hymns

Come, Sound His Praise Abroad – Isaac Watts (1674-1748)


Even as a child, Isaac Watts liked to make rhymes. Once when he was scolded by his father for making rhymes in ordinary conversation, he responded, “Oh, Father. Do take some pity, and I will no more verses make.” But, Isaac Watts continued to write poems. As an older teenager, he complained about the ponderous psalms the church was singing. His exasperated father told Isaac that if he was dissatisfied, he should write something better. So he did. For the next two years the young Watts wrote a new hymn every week.


Many of the new hymns like “Come, Sound His Praise Abroad,” were paraphrases of the psalms and were used to make the message of the psalms more relevant to Christian audiences. Later in life, Watts said, “My design was not to exalt myself to the rank and glory of poets, but I was ambitious to be a servant to the churches, and a helper to the joy of the meanest [lowliest] Christian.

The One Year Book of Hymns

The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want – Scottish Psalter 1650

Scottish Bibles in the seventeenth century often had psalms in meter printed after the book of Revelation. The metrical psalms were sung twice a day in most of the humble cottages in Scotland and so became more familiar to people than the Bible text itself.

This text of the familiar Twenty-third Psalm comes from a metrical version by Francis Rous, a member of the British Parliament. He was dissatisfied by the inaccuracy of other psalm translations being used by the Puritans, some of which took liberties with the meaning to make the words rhyme. [This} version is a faithful paraphrase of David’s original. Rous’ Psalter was widely used and was authorized by the Westminster Assembly, which also created the Westminster Confession of Faith.

The One Year Book of Hymns

Join the Fun

Make Wednesday night your music night

Consider joining one or both of these music ministries

with instrument and/or song.

A place in the choir...

We have revved up the old Victrola and start singing on a regular basis in the balcony or on the floor and occasionally ringing those bells and chimes. 

Don’t you want to be part of this incredible, fun ministry? It is our position that we present the word of the Lord in prayerful song to open the hearts, minds and ears of the congregation in order for them to receive the message of the day. We are just one instrument to deliver the good news of the love of Christ. The more instruments, the louder the band. The louder the band, the better they hear! 

Please consider joining us.  On Wednesdays, hand bells begin from 6pm-7pm and the Trinity Choir Choir from 7pm-8pm.

See Melinda or any member of the choirs for more information.  It could be the best hour or two you spend with us!

Tell Me the Story of Jesus - 1880