HYMNS ETC. - Hymns for the Lecitonary
Hymns for the Lectionary
September 11, Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 19. We have a new, yet unpublished hymn, based on the story from Exodus in the Hebrew scripture for this day. It retells the story of the Golden Calf, with our current situation in mind, ending with this stanza:
As Moses went back up the mount
and begged God to forgive
the faithless Hebrews of their sin
that they might love and live,
so we would plead in our own time
for those who go astray,
who worship idols with no hearts;
forgive them too, we pray.
John set the text to a new tune we named BRUEGGEMAN, after Walter Brueggeman whose preaching and teaching have nurtured our understanding and love for the Hebrew scriptures. Contact us if you would like a copy of the hymn now.
September 25, Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 21. In the United Church of Christ this is observed as American Indian Ministry Sunday. Consider our hymn, "Like Ancient People on a Quest" (MITAKUYE OYASIN) from our collection, The Song Lingers On (Zimbel, 2003), which is a prayer hymn using symbols of the Lakota Vision Quest. Paul John Robinson, organist and director of music at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Lincoln, Nebraska posted his dramatic interpretation of this hymn on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZS_CEck3rw) featuring Ben Vandevere, tenor; Taylor Cobb, keyboard, Bob Snider, Drums. Check it out.
October 2, Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 22. World Communion Sunday. Our hymn, "How Can We Sing Our Love for God" (MACDONALD) is based on Psalm 137, one of the psalms for today, and Lamentations 3:21-23, part of the suggested Hebrew scriptures. You can find the hymn in our fourth collection, Faith That Lets Us Sing (Wayne Leupold Editions, 2017.)
October 23, Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 25. The Gospel reading from Luke is Jesus' parable of the Pharisee and tax collector who offered two very different kinds of prayers in the Temple. Our hymn, "Up to the Temple One Fine Day," (WHEATON) from our first collection, Come Away with Me (Abingdon, 1998), tells this story, ending with this stanza:
God, should we come to you in pride,
remind us of our sinful side,
that all who worship in this place
might seek and find forgiving grace.
October 30, Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 26. Reformation Sunday. "When Jesus Came to Jericho" (LENOIR-RHYNE), from Faith That Lets Us Sing, tells the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus from Luke 19:1-10, the Gospel reading for today.
November 20, Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 29. Reign of Christ and Thanksgiving Sunday. If you celebrate Thanksgiving Sunday on this day or participate in a community Thanksgiving service sometime this week, consider singing "Now Thank We All Our God" (NUN DANKET), from Faith That Lets Us Sing. We have replaced Martin Rinkart's third stanza with two new stanzas without Christological reference so people of all faiths can sing the hymn together.
November 27, First Sunday of Advent (Year A). "Though Despair, Like Deepest Darkness" (LOVE LIGHT'S SHINING), a prayer hymn from Faith That Lets Us Sing, draws on the symbolism of light and darkness in Isaiah 2:1-5, today's reading from the Hebrew scriptures.
December 4, Second Sunday of Advent. A benediction, "God of Hope" (BLITCHINGTON), for SATB voices, from Faith That Lets Us Sing is based on Romans 15:13, part of the reading from the Epistles for today.
December 11, Third Sunday of Advent. Both the Gospels of Matthew and Luke contain the story of how an imprisoned John the Baptist sent his followers to ascertain whether Jesus was indeed their awaited Messiah. "Are You the One" (SENT BY JOHN) from our second collection, Time Now to Gather (Abingdon 1998), paraphrases the story from Luke, supported by additional evidence of his power from other incidents. It will also support today's Gospel reading from Matthew 11:2-11.
December 18, Fourth Sunday of Advent. The first stanza of "When Mary Heard An Angel Say" (EVONNE) from Faith That Lets Us Sing is based on the Gospel reading from Matthew for today. Succeeding stanzas refer to other Nativity stories in which angels appear, ending with a stanza on Hebrews 13:2. The hymn was written for an Advent service of lessons and carols in memory of a woman who sensed God's presence in the angels she had encountered in her life.
December 24, Christmas Eve. Faith the Lets Us Sing has several hymns and short songs suitable for this day. "Brave Shepherds Quaked" (CAST AWAY FEAR) speaks to our troubled times with the message, "Do not fear" that came to the shepherds, the friends of Jesus in later years, and at the tomb and ends with a prayer addressed to O Perfect Love that casts out fear. "Who Was There" (FIRST TO KNOW) honors the shepherds who trusted the angels' message that the Christ had been born. "One Holy Night in Bethlehem" (WHISTLER'S CAROL) is another favorite for Christmas Eve. It is found in Time Now to Gather (Abingdon, 1998) and the two hymnal supplements, The Faith We Sing (Abingdon, 2000) and Sing the Faith (Geneva Press, 2003.)
December 25, Christmas Day. "A Blessing for Christmas Eve" (CHRIST'S EXAMPLE) is a two-stanza unison benediction that connects the birth narrative with the ministry of the adult Jesus and is suitable for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. It could also be sung by carolers or in the home. A primary children's choir could sing "Gloria," three short stanzas, each ending with "Gloria in excelsis Deo!" from Sing the Stories of Jesus (Augsburg Fortress.)
December 31, New Year's Eve. Using familiar Christmas symbols (carols, creche, tree, gifts, and candles) the text of "Spirit Child Jesus" affirms that Christ is spiritually present in these traditions and calls upon us to follow the Way of Love as we move through the other seasons of the liturgical year. The hymn is found in Come Away with Me (Abingdon 1998) and Worship and Song, the United Methodist hymnal supplement published in 2011.
January 1, New Year's Day. First Sunday after Christmas Day. The Gospel reading for today is Matthew's story of an angry, fearful King Herod's order to kill all the two-year-old children in and around Bethlehem out of concern that one of them might be the promised Messiah. Our hymn, "As Rachel Mourned the Children" (HEROD'S LEGACY) in Come Away with Me, re-tells that story and relates it to our world today. It is not a joyful song, but a thought-provoking way to begin a new year, especially in light of all the children we have lost to gun violence in this country in the last year.
January 6, Epiphany. Two hymns in Faith That Lets Us Sing refer to the visit of the Wise Men in Bethlehem. "Though Shepherds Heard the Angels" (BAINTON) tells of Mary's reaction to the gifts they brought that were so strange for a child. "How Foolish They Were" (ROCKVILLE) comments on the foolishness, yet wisdom, of the visitors to make this journey. Either or both would be appropriate for worship on this day.
January 8, First Sunday after Epiphany. The Baptism of Christ. We wrote "When Jesus Was Baptized by John" (JORDAN SPRING) in Faith That Lets Us Sing after we had visited what is thought to be the baptismal site at "Bethany beyond the Jordan." When the river was flowing too high for safety, the baptisms may have taken place in the near-by Jordan Spring, hence the name for the tune. Since Christians believe Jesus was without sin, the text interprets his baptism as the time he was called and anointed to his mission, and suggests that we see that element, as well as forgiveness, in our own baptism. "Spirit, Falling Like a Dove" (ENGLISH ORCHARD) from Come away with Me, is another baptismal hymn that refers to the symbolism of water, wind, and fire in the sacrament. Also, young children could contribute to worship by singing "Jesus Is Baptized," lively call and response song from Sing the Stories of Jesus: Twenty-five Songs for the Youngest Singers (Augsburg Fortress, 2008.) An older child or teacher could sing the leader's part and the children the response, or the children and their teacher could take the lead with the congregation responding.
January 15, Second Sunday after Epiphany. "Behold the Lamb of God" (KENSINGTON) is a versatile hymn with fourteen stanzas that can be sung in various combinations with the first and last stanzas as "book-ends." It was inspired by John Bell's sermon on today's Gospel reading in his book of meditations, He Was in the World (Wild Goose Publications, 1995). Stanzas 2-4 take the story of Jesus from birth through baptism and the rest follow his life and ministry to his resurrection. First published by GIA in octavo form (3G-7715) for Unison Voices, Piano, C Instrument, and Cello, the hymn setting is included in Singing Our Savior's Story: A Congregational Supplement for the Christian Year, Hymn Texts since 1990, compiled and edited by James Abbington (GIA G-8867, 2014), and Lift Up Your Hearts: Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, a hymnal published by Faith Alive Christian Resources in 2013. (The "book-end" stanzas were added to the hymn setting and do not appear in octavo.)
January 22, Third Sunday after Epiphany. Both of our two hymns about Jesus' calling the fishermen to follow him go on to refer to others who answered his call to join him in his ministry. "Jesus Sang to Fisherman" (BLACK MOUNTAIN) is included in Time Now to Gather, and "Like Fishermen Who Left Their Boats" (BY THE SEA) can be found in Faith That Lets Us Sing. Our Sing the Stories of Jesus has "Follow Me," a little song young children could sing in worship on this day.