February 2 (Fourth Sunday after Epiphany). “We Walk Today in Darkness,” a hymn from our collection, Come Away with Me”(Abingdon), is a prayer of confession that ends with a prayer that we might make room in our lives for “humble, loving kindness, for just and honest ways, that we might walk together in Love-illumined days.” It would support the reading from Micah 6:1-8.
February 16 (Sixth Sunday after Epiphany). The building of the church is a theme in both the Gospel and Epistle readings for this day. Consider using our unpublished hymn, “The Built the Church,” which questions whether this church will last in this rapidly-changing, secular age, and replies that so long as we are faithful to our mission, “the church lives on, transcending time, connecting us with saints divine, embracing all who come to own Christ as their head and cornerstone.” John’s tune, CHANGING TIMES, captures the mood of the camp meeting songs from mid-19th century revival meetings. Write us for a copy of this text and tune.
March 2 (Last Sunday after Epiphany/Transfiguration Sunday). If this first Sunday of the month is also Communion Sunday and young children will be participating, consider having them sing “The Last Supper,” a short song from Sing the Stories of Jesus: Twenty-five Songs for the Youngest Singers (Augsburg Fortress). They could also sing “The Covenant” from Sing the Stories of God’s People: Thirty More Songs for the Youngest Singers (Augsburg Fortress), in support of the Exodus reading.
March 16 (Second Sunday in Lent). The first stanza of our unpublished hymn, “As Abraham and Sarah,” is based on Genesis 12:1-4a. The next two stanzas speak of Moses and Jesus, and the last stanza ties the three together:
For faith to make life’s journey, for hope that leads us on,
For love that yields compassion and seeks to right each wrong,
God, for these gifts we thank you, and offer you our praise.
With thankful hearts we promise to serve you all our days.
The text may be sung to John’s tunes, CUMMING ROAD or WEST MAIN, or to the familiar MUNICH, AURELIA, or LANCASHIRE. Write us for a copy of the complete text. Young children could sing “Abraham and Sarah” from Sing the Stories of God’s People as a children’s anthem.
March 23 (Third Sunday in Lent). The story of the Samaritan woman at the well is told in the Gospel reading. This is the theme of the first stanza of our hymn, “When the Well of the Spirit Runs Day,” published as a reproducible hymn for the May-August 2001 issue of Abingdon’s Church Music Workshop and now available as a downloadable hymn. The text is in a limerick format, so John’s tune, UNQUENCHABLE THIRST, is contemporary in style, somewhere between country western and praise music!
March 30 (Fourth Sunday in Lent). Psalm 23 was the inspiration for several of our hymns: “When We Are Called to Sing Your Praise” which appears in The Faith We Sing (Abingdon), Sing the Faith (Geneva Press), and Community of Christ Sings (Community of Christ); and “Good Shepherd, Our Leader, Provider, and Guide” ( GOOD SHEPHERD) in our collection, The Song Lingers On (Zimbel Press).
April 13 (Palm Sunday). If you need a hymn to transition from the Liturgy of the Palms to the Liturgy of the Passion, consider “We Sang Our Glad Hosannas” (HOLY WEEK) from our collection, Time Now to Gather (Abingdon). It is also included in The Faith We Sing and Sing the Faith. An anthem setting was also published by Abingdon. “Hosanna!” is a song for children aged 4 to 7 could sing in worship. It is found in Sing the Stories of Jesus.
April 17 (Maundy Thursday). Our musical drama, “Called to Be Friends,” is set within the context of the Last Supper, and recalls stories of Jesus as the kind of friend he called his disciples to be. Reproducible copies with production rights are available from Hymns, Etc.
April 18 (Good Friday) “God, Why Have You Forsaken Us?” for four-part chorus and dancers, from our musical, By the Sea (Choristers Guild) can be an effective expression of the mood of Psalm 22. Our hymn, “The Kingdom We Inherited” in Come Away with Me is drawn from John 19:36, part of the Gospel reading for this day.
April 19 (Holy Saturday). Our unpublished hymn, “How Can We Sing our Love for God” (MCDONALD) ends with an affirmation of faith based on Lamentations 3:21-23. This hymn won honorable mention in the psalm setting (text and tune) category of the Sacred Song and Hymn Search of 2005 to inaugurate the Fred Bock Institute of Music at the Brehm Center at Fuller University in Pasadena, CA. Write us for a copy.
April 20 (Easter). Our hymn, “When It Seemed that Love Was Dying” (from Come Away with Me) retells the story told in John 19:38-42 and 20:1-18, and ends with a powerful affirmation of the Resurrection. John has set it to a moving tune, KRISTA’S TUNE. If you have an early morning service, consider beginning it with “Alleluia! Christ Is Risen!” from our musical, By the Sea (Choristers Guild) for four-part chorus, handbells, and solo dancer. Young children could sing “Alleluia” from our Sing the Stories of Jesus.
Holy Week (April 13-20).
Our cantata, If They Could Speak: A Journey through Holy Week, for Narrator, Four Readers, and SATB choir, with Keyboard, Snare Drum, Suspended Cymbal, Tambourine, Flute, Cello, and Handbells, can be used on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday. The last song, “The Stone at the Tomb,” can be reserved for Easter morning, if desired.
May 11 (Fourth Sunday of Easter). Our hymn, “There Is A Need for Shepherds” (SHEPHERDS TODAY) from our collection, Come Away with Me, is appropriate for Good Shepherd Sunday. This is also Mother’s Day, and our hymn, “A Mother Lined A Basket” (WEST MAIN) is frequently chosen for this day. The hymn is included in The Faith We Sing, Sing the Faith, Community of Christ Sings, and our collection Time Now to Gather. Choristers Guild has an anthem setting entitled “Love Enough to Give.”
May 18 (Fifth Sunday of Easter). “Sing of A People” (WARNER MEMORIAL) is a hymn commissioned by the church John served as organist and director of music for many years. Members of the congregation contributed their ideas about what it means to be God’s people for each of the stanzas. The text supports 1 Peter 2:10. The hymn is unpublished but a copy of the text and tune may be obtained from Hymns, Etc.
June 8 (Pentecost Sunday). The text of our anthem, “Twelve Disciples in the Temple” (Choristers Guild) is based on Acts 1:4, 8 and 2:1-4, and the tune is an exciting setting of the Japanese tune, TOKYO for piano and optional flute, hand bells or hand chimes, suspended cymbal, gong, triangle, and wind chimes. John has also arranged TOKYO as a hymn tune. Contact us for a copy. Another of our hymns, “When the World Is Babbling Round Us” (MIDDLETOWN) draws on the connection between the Tower of Babel and Pentecost stories. It is included in Community of Christ Sings, and our collection, Come Away with Me.
A Hymn for All Seasons. “Behold the Lamb of God,” first published in anthem format by GIA and now included as a hymn in Lift Up Your Hearts: Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs (Faith Alive Resources for the Christian Reformed Church/Reformed Church of America) is probably our most versatile hymn. Once the melodic tune and refrain are learned, congregations can easily sing one or more of the twelve stanzas related to events in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, bookending them with the two new stanzas added in Lift Up Your Hearts.