HYMNS ETC. - Hymns for the Lecitonary
Hymns for the Lectionary
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, congregational hymn-singing has been discontinued in favor of hymns sung by “virtual” choirs or soloists in pre-recorded or live-streamed worship services. Members of the congregation are encouraged to sing along from wherever they are watching. This might be a good time to introduce some new texts and tunes as members can replay them as needed to learn the texts and tunes. Here are some suggestions from a list of our hymns.’’
January 3 (Second Sunday after Christmas)
Take a look at “They Built the Church” (CHANGING TIMES) as support for the Gospel reading and the surreal situation in which we find ourselves today. The second stanza is:
“Life’s only constant now is change,
Our way is hard, and times are strange,
Yet sing, rejoice, let prayers be said!
The church lives on with Christ as head! Alleluia”
The hymn is found in our newest collection, Faith That Lets Us Sing (Wayne Leupold Editions, 2017).
January 6 (Epiphany)
“Finding Jesus” from our collection, Sing the Stories of Jesus (Augsburg Fortress, 2008), is a song about the visit of the wise men that younger children could sing in congregational worship.
Our hymn, “Spirit-Child Jesus” (SPIRIT-CHILD) in Worship and Song (Abingdon, 2011) points to the spiritual presence of Christ in our traditional seasonal celebrations and the need to pass on that good news throughout the year.
“Though Shepherds Heard the Angels” (BAINTON) is a quirky little hymn that has Mary wondering why on earth her strange visitors brought such unusual gifts for a child, and was inspired by memories of hearing church history professor Roland Bainton read from Martin Luther’s earthy Christmas sermons every year at Yale Divinity School. This hymn is in Faith That Lets Us Sing.
January 10 (First Sunday after Epiphany-The Baptism of Christ)
“When Jesus was Baptized by John” (JORDAN SPRING) from Faith That Lets Us Sing retells this event with an emphasis on Jesus’ baptism as a calling to a life of loving service, and encourages us to remember our own baptisms in the same way. Another hymn in that collection, “For Your Wise, Creating Spirit” is based on the baptismal prayer in the United Church of Christ Book of Worship, and focuses on the role of water in biblical events from creation to the life of Jesus.
Consider also using the short “call and response” song, “Jesus Is Baptized,” from Sing the Stories of Jesus in the children’s time during congregational worship. It could be sung by an adult with the children echoing each short phrase. If the children have learned the song ahead of time, they could sing the leader’s part and have the congregation repeat each phrase.
January 17 (Second Sunday after Epiphany)
The first stanza of our hymn “Before the Dawn Had Broken” (CHILD-LIKE FAITH) from Faith That Lets Us Sing tells the story of God’s calling Samuel which is found in the reading from the Hebrew scriptures.
February 7 (Fifth Sunday after Epiphany)
“A Woman Was Sick” (HEALING TOUCH) is a hymn we wrote after twice visiting what is widely accepted as the home of Peter’s mother-in-law in Capernaum where the incident cited in today’s Gospel reading took place. There are both Unison and SATB settings of the hymn in Faith That Lets Us Sing, that can be combined for an easy choir anthem. Use the SATB setting for the first three stanzas, with soloists singing the parts of Peter and his wife, and then the Unison setting for the last two stanzas.
February 21 (First Sunday in Lent)
“Like Ancient People on a Quest” (MITAKUYE OYASIN) uses the metaphors from the Lakota Vision Quest to voice the prayer expressed in Psalm 25:4-5. The hymn, along with a commentary explaining the metaphors, can be found in our third collection, The Song Lingers On (Zimble Press, 2003). The tune name is Lakota for “All my relatives,” a prayer and greeting that recognizes we are related to and responsible for all living things the Great Spirit (Wakantanka) has created. John has avoided frequently used stereotypical devices in his tune, except for occasional drum-like bass lines. Alternately, it may be sung with a flute supporting the melody and drums, shaker, and wrist bells. Keep in mind that Lakota people sing their hymns at a slightly slower tempo.
March 28 (Sixth Sunday in Lent, Palm/Passion Sunday)
“We Sang Our Glad Hosannas” (HOLY WEEK) takes singers back into the stories of that first Holy Week from Palm Sunday to Easter in the spirit of Edward R. Murrow’s “You Are There” television series of years ago. It is a useful transitional hymn if you celebrate both Palm and Passion Sunday on this day, but you may want to reserve stanza 5 for Easter Sunday. The first four stanzas could also be sung on Good Friday. The hymn is in our second collection, Time Now to Gather (Abingdon, 1998), and also in the supplements, The Faith We Sing (Abingdon, 2000) and Sing the Faith (Geneva Press, 2003).
For songs young children can learn to sing and share with the congregation during Holy Week, consider these titles from Sing the Stories of Jesus” (Augsburg Fortress, 2008): “Hosanna,” “The Last Supper,” and “Alleluia” (for Easter).
For Holy Week, consider also our versatile hymn, “Behold, the Lamb of God” (KENSINGTON), that can be found in Lift Up Your Hearts (Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2013) and Singing Our Savior’s Story (GIA, 2014). The hymn has twelve stanzas based on incidents in the life of Jesus bookended by two hymns that identify him as the “Lamb of God.” Stanzas can be selected according to the Gospel readings for each Sunday and sung with the “bookend” stanzas to what will become a familiar tune through this repetition. Stanzas 9-13 deal with Holy Week events and Easter. The refrain allows even the youngest children to participate.