HYMNS ETC. - Hymns for the Lecitonary
Hymns for the Lectionary February - May, 2018
A versatile hymn for the Lenten-Holy Week-Easter Season. As John Bell pointed out in a meditation in one of his books, John the Baptist affirmed Jesus as the “Lamb of God” not at the time of his death, but when Jesus came to be baptized. It is an expression that could be used for Jesus at any time during his life on earth. Mary used that concept in writing fourteen (yes, fourteen!) stanzas about incidents from Jesus’ life, each one ending with the refrain: Agnus Dei! Gloria! Behold the Lamb of God! She intended that one or more of twelve stanzas could be sung, depending on the lectionary reading for the day, with “bookend” stanzas 1 and 14 with John’s easy-to-learn tune as a congregational hymn. The refrain allows children to participate in the singing. “Behold the Lamb of God” may be found in the hymnal, Lift Up Your Hearts: Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs (Faith Alive Christian Resources). It is also in Singing Our Savior’s Story: A Congregational Song Supplement for the Christian Year (Hymn Texts since 1990), comp. and ed. James Abbington (GIA).
February 4 (Fifth Sunday after Epiphany). The story of Peter’s healing his mother-in-law in Mark 1:29-34a is the Gospel reading for this day. We have twice visited what is widely accepted as the foundation of Simon Peter’s home in Capernaum and the near-by site of the synagogue where Jesus often taught and wrote our hymn, “A Woman Was Sick”, with that setting in mind. It can be found in our new collection, Faith That Lets Us Sing (Wayne Leupold Editions, Inc.). Both Unison and SATB settings are included. 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 18 (First Sunday in Lent). Another hymn in our new Faith that Lets Us Sing collection makes reference to the story of Noah in Genesis 9 and also supports the verses about Jesus’ baptism in the Gospel reading from Mark 1. “For Your Wise, Creating Spirit,” was inspired by the baptismal prayer in the United Church of Christ Book of Worship that makes reference to the role of water in biblical events from creation to the life of Jesus. The tune is FIRST CHURCH.
March 25 (Sixth Sunday in Lent, Palm/Passion Sunday). “We Sang Our Glad Hosannas” (HOLY WEEK) is still one of our favorites among our hymns. It helps a congregation transition from the triumphal entry of Christ to the crucifixion and the hope that this was not the end. The hymn was first included in our collection, Time Now to Gather: New Hymns for the Church Family (Abingdon Press), but also appears in the supplements, The Faith We Sing (Abingdon Press) and Sing the Faith (Geneva Press).
April 1 (Easter). “When It Seemed that Love Was Dying” (KRISTA’S TUNE), a hymn that was included in our first collection, Come Away with Me: A Collection of Original Hymns (Abingdon Press), draws on the accounts of the resurrection in John 19-20 and parallels in the other Gospels. KRISTA’S TUNE is one of John’s most beautiful tunes.
April 22 (Fourth Sunday of Easter) This is also known as Good Shepherd Sunday. Our hymn, “Good Shepherd, Our Leader, Provider, and Guide” (GOOD SHEPHERD) paraphrases Psalm 23 from a Christian perspective that anticipates the role of Jesus as “Good Shepherd.” It is found in our collection , The Song Lingers On (Zimbel Press).
April 29 (Fifth Sunday of Easter) “Love Is Enduring” (LOVE IS) is a hymn that explores the meaning of love as expressed in I Corinthians 13 and 1 John 4:18. John’s lovely tune supports the simple words of the text but does not overwhelm it. There is an alternate stanza for the last stanza when the hymn is used in a Communion service.
May 20 (Pentecost Sunday) “Twelve Disciples in the Temple” is a Pentecost text set to John’s harmonization of the Japanese tune, TOKYO for unison/two part voices, with piano, congregation, and optional flute, handbells (3-4 octaves) or hand chimes, suspended cymbal, gong, triangle, and wind chimes. (Choristers Guild #CGA1027). The text could also be sung as a congregational hymn to a setting of TOKYO such as #72 in the NEW CENTURY HYMNAL. Another Pentecost hymn is “When the World Is Babbling ‘Round Us” (MIDDLETOWN) in the hymnal, Community of Christ Sings (Herald Publishing House). It was first published in our hymn collection, Come Away with Me, and as a unison anthem, under the title “Prayer for Pentecost,” both by Abingdon Press.
May 27 (Trinity Sunday) A lively, rhythmic opening hymn of praise for Trinity Sunday is our “God of Every Generation” (WAUWATOSA), that first appeared in our collection, The Song Lingers On. It is also included in Community of Christ Sings. The text, which is a prayer for the church, addresses God in Trinitarian terms.
Songs from our Sing the Stories collections will enable young children to contribute to congregational worship on these Sundays:
February 18: “Jesus Is Baptized” (Sing the Stories of Jesus) and/or “God Told Noah” (Sing the Stories of God’s People)
March 4: “The Great Laws” (Sing the Stories of God’s People)
March 25: “Hosanna” (Sing the Stories of Jesus)
April 29: “Philip and the Man in the Chariot” (Sing the Stories of God’s NEW People)
May 6: “Peter Baptizes Cornelius” (Sing the Stories of God’s NEW People)
May 20: “The Day of Pentecost” (Sing the Stories of God’s NEW People)
(All three collections are published and available from Augsburg Fortress.)