October 4 (Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time—Proper 22). Churches around the globe celebrate this Sunday as World Communion Sunday. Our hymn, “Circle the Table” (WORLD WIDE COMMUNION) is especially appropriate for this day. It was published by Abingdon Press as a unison anthem, and as one of the songs in Faith Songs: Songs and Activities for Children Grades 2-6. It is also included in the hymn supplement, Voices Found (Church Publishing), and Worship Boldly, a program book published by Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
November 1 (Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost, Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time—Proper 26). On this Sunday and the next there are readings from the Book of Ruth. Our musical, The Song of Ruth, originally published by Abingdon has songs that would be appropriate for a choir to sing. The opening unison chorus, “Calamity,” is based on Ruth 1:1-8, and “The Widow’s Lament, a trio for three women, that follows explains the situation of Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah. “Song of the Gleaners,” for chorus, soloists, and Keyboard with handbells, is a paraphrase of Psalm 146.
November 8 (Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time—Proper 27). If you do a fall musical with children, youth, or an intergenerational cast, consider “The Song of Ruth.” Individual songs could be used (see above) earlier and the whole musical presented on this day. Preview copies are now available from Hymns Etc., and for an additional fee, permission is granted to reproduce it in quantities needed for performance.
November 15 (Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time—Proper 28). The second stanza of our hymn, “A Mother Lined A Basket” (WEST MAIN), is based on the story of Hannah and Samuel. It is included in our collection, Time Now to Gather: New Hymns for the Church Family (Abingdon Press), and also in the Community of Christ Sings hymnal (Herald Publishing House) and the supplements, The Faith We Sing (Abingdon Press) and Sing the Faith (Geneva Press). Choristers Guild has an anthem setting of the hymn for children under the title “Love Enough to Give” (CGA808).
November 22 (Reign of Christ and Thanksgiving Sunday). Our hymn, “The Kingdom We Inherited” (PLACERVILLE) is based on the Gospel reading in John 18:33-37. It can be found in Come Away with Me: A Collection of Original Hymns (Abingdon Press). If you have an interfaith Thanksgiving service, you may also want to sing “Now Thank We All Our God” (NUN DANKET), replacing the third stanza with two alternate stanzas Mary has written for such occasions. The text will be included in our new collection, Faith That Lets Us Sing (Leupold Editions), but will also appear in Mary’s hymn interpretation in the Fall 2015 issue of THE HYMN.
November 29 (First Sunday of Advent). Psalm 25:1-10 is a prayer for God’s guidance. Our hymn, “Like Ancient People on a Quest” (MITAKUYE OYASIN), uses the concept of the Lakota vision quest in a similar prayer for the traditional values of wisdom, courage, generosity, and respect. The hymn is included in our collection, The Song Lingers On (Zimbel Press), along with an explanation of the Lakota imagery used in the text. John’s simple tune could be supported with a flute, drum shakers, and wrist bells.
December 20 (Fourth Sunday of Advent). Hymns about Mary and Elizabeth are hard to find. Take a look at “One Was Old, Another Barren” (GOD’S PROMISES) from our collection, Time Now to Gather: New Hymns for the Church Family (Abingdon Press). It speaks of Sarah (old), Elizabeth (barren), who believed the promises they had from God.
December 24 (Christmas Eve). “One Holy Night in Bethlehem” (WHISTLER’S TUNE) is a good hymn to sing on Christmas Eve. It is found in our Time Now to Gather, and in the hymn supplements, The Faith We Sing (Abingdon Press) and Sing the Faith (Geneva Press). Abingdon also published an anthem setting of this hymn for combined choirs (children, youth, and SATB).
December 27 (First Sunday after Christmas). Consider choosing our hymn, “Behold the Lamb of God” (KENSINGTON), using stanzas 1 and 14 with stanza 3 that refers to the story of Jesus talking with the elders in the Temple. The tune and its refrain are memorable, and once learned can be used with one or more of the other stanzas based on the liturgical year from now through Easter. The hymn is included in the hymnal, Lift Up Your Hearts: Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs (Faith Alive Christian Resources), and the supplement, Singing Our Savior’s Story: A Congregational Song Supplement for the Christian Year, Hymn Texts since 1990 (GIA).