Reposted for the Christchurch earthquake, New Zealand, and Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 2011
Online resource In times like these (Janssen) Written for a tidal wave / tsunami, these words to the tune Was Mein Gott Will might be useful in the case of this earthquake. It also works to ST COLUMBA (TiS 523) Lyrics.
StS121 / FFS50 Nothing is lost on the breath of God (Colin Gibson). A beautiful song, easy to sing "Nothing is lost on the breath of God, nothing is lost for ever; God's breath is love, and that love will remain, holding the world for ever. No feather too light, no hair too fine, no flower too brief in its glory; no drop in the ocean, no dust in the air, but is counted and told in God's story." Words and music are here. Sound sample here. This song is from New Zealand
Online resource God we've known such grief and anger (Winfrey-Gillette) This hymn was written after the World Trade Center disaster and is still appropriate for today. Lyrics (to the standard hymn tune IN BABILONE) are here. Carolyn has given free-one-time use of this hymn to congregations that support the relief work by the Uniting Church in Australia, Anglican Church of Australia, Roman Catholic Church and/or ecumenical relief efforts in Victoria.
TiS 638 / NCH175 / CH717 / UMH265 / LBW380 / ELW675 /HPPS380 O Christ the healer we have come. A song of prayer for healing for others. I prefer the tune in TiS (INVERCARRY). Lyrics can be found here. "From every ailment flesh endures our bodies clamor to be freed; yet in our hearts we would confess that wholeness is our deepest need."
Iona (Sent By the Lord) / MV066 Senzenina? / What have we done? (South African) This beautiful chant from South Africa asks the question that we often ask when things go wrong beyond belief. It's important to know what the song means when singing it. If you have some part-singers in your congregation, this would be particular good. It's good to let people ask this question. It is also on the soundtrack for "The Power of One" so you could also play the recorded music if appropriate. Free sheet music is available here (loads a pdf).
Online resource: O God our words cannot express (Winfrey-Gillette). Words to the tune "Our God our help in ages past" (ST ANNE). Words here.
AoV2-070 / ATW 496 / MV090 / StJ Don't be afraid (Bell) I love this song of reassurance. "Don't be afraid, my love is stronger. My love is stronger than your fear".
URW311 I love you Lord you hear my cry (Watts) A simple song wth two verses, or you could use it as a Psalm refrain with the text read by a leader. It would be pretty amazing if you can sing it in 4 parts, I reckon. The 2nd verse could be quite appropriate as a lament on its own during intercessions.
Iona (Love From Below) / CH734 / CP296 O Christ you wept when grief was raw. This is a funeral song, that may be appropriate for those in communities more directly affected by the fires. A better tune for a congregation is ROCKINGHAM. Words are here. Words can be changed quite simply if you, sadly, need to remember more than one person who has died.
Online resource The Voice of our grief (Harding). A quite groovy chant "God of sorrow, God of justice, God of healing hear the voice of our grief". Sheet music available here. There is also a sample PDF and mp3 file with a really strange synthesizer part.
FFS05 Be their names remembered (Murray/Bray) Simple chant, good for singing in response to a list of names of those who have died in this event or any other. "Be their names remembered in the heart of God.
Specifically for bushfires
Online resource O God of mighty wind and flame (Winfrey-Gillette) This hymn was written at the time of the 2007 fires in California, and is just as appropriate for Australian fires. Free sheet music here. Carolyn has given free-one-time use of this hymn to congregations that support the relief work by the Uniting Church in Australia, Anglican Church of Australia, Roman Catholic Church and/or ecumenical relief efforts in Victoria.
Online resource Abide with me, there seems no place to hide (Peter Oliver). Please see in the comments section below some lyrics written by Peter. Thank you, Peter for contributing this.
MV 74 When painful mem'ries haunt each day / When painful memories haunt each day (Ruth Duck). I suggest singing it to the more familiar Celtic tune KINGSFOLD (TiS 262). "When painful mem'ries haunt each day and dreams disturb the night, when life is washed with shades of grey and phantoms fill our sight, Christ stay beside us and embrace the child who dwells within; come, Healer, touch or lives with grace; restore our lives again."
Iona (Enemy of Apathy): Sing my soul when hope is sleeping. "Sing, my soul, when hope is sleeping. Sing when faith gives way to fears; Sing to melt the ice of sadness Making way for joy through tears." Simple to sing.
SFFS 2216 When We Are Called to Sing Your Praise (Keithahn) A good hymn for times of trouble, sung to a very standard hymn tune, KINGSFOLD. Maybe a little bit preachy?
To remember the deaths of children
Iona (Last Journey, When Grief is Raw) / CH746 There is a place prepared for little children (Bell / Dunblane Primary) This song particularly grieves for children who have died. All lyrics are here (loads a Word document). "There is a place where God will hear our questions, Suffer our anger, share our speechless grief. Gently repair the innocence of loving And of belief. "
A song of hope to end: even in the dust the sun still rises:
TiS 156 / AHB 91 / AoV1-135 / ATA 123 / CH212 / UMH145 / VU409 / ELW556 / HPP267 / HPSS469 / G(II)546 / GC756 / GC(II)748 / CP003 / W&R35 / Cha053 / URW186 / 82Hml-008 Morning has broken (Farjeon) This song makes me smile every time. Thanks Sheryll for taking me to see Yusuf Islam last year! Here he is, in 1976 (love those green boots).