God gathers the chosen people, they rejoice and are comforted
AoV1-071 / GC(II)742 Gather Your People (Hurd) Excellent words and eucharistic theology. Lyrics, sheet music and sound sample.
TiS 474 / AoV1-012 / ATE 295 / CH623 / GA526 / SFFS 2236 / HPP553 / G(II)539 / GC839 / GC(II)743 / CP465 / W&R649 / Cha284 Here in this place new light is streaming / Gather us in (Haugen) Excellent. Surely everyone knows how great this song is.
TiS 647 / AoV2-012 / ATN 25 Comfort comfort all my people (Mann) This is one of my all time favourite songs. Easy to sing, beautiful lyrics. Chorus is“Comfort, comfort all my people, with the comfort of my word. Speak ye tender to my people, all your sins are taken away”. Lyrics and mp3.
AoVK-125 / ATW 489 Turn our sadness upside down (Leigh Newton) Good for kids, and adults too. Simple tune, but not so simple that it’s boring. Lyrics (search in the page for "sadness").
Iona (There is one among us) Lord you can turn all mourning into dancing An excellent simple refrain from John Bell “Lord you can turn all mourning into dancing, evenings of grief to mornings of great joy”
ATE 253 He turned my mourning into dancing This is not at all inclusive, but if you change the lyrics to make it addressed to God “You turned my morning into dancing”, it’s much much better.
Tune In: You in all our worries / All will finish well “In this world where injustice reigns, you are in the midst of pain”. Excellent words of reassurance in a difficult world. Sound sample, lyrics and songbook available here.
TiS 670 / AoVK-138 / ATE 258 / CH692 Jesus put this song into our hearts (Kendrick) A fun Yiddish tune that gets even more fun if you get faster and faster as you go. Try teaching your congregation a simple side to side “dance” step. If you teach them and make it clear that it’s okay, you’ll be surprised how many people dance to God. Great for kids, too.
God of peace and interesting weather
Taize / AoV2-142 / SFFS 2013 / GC(II)576 / CP360 Bless the Lord my soul Berthier A beautiful and very well known Taize chant. Sound samples, sheet music.
TiS 181 / AoV2-032 / GC(II)497 / CP589 Come O God of all the earth / Sing Out Earth and Skies (Haugen). A big favourite of our congregation. Sheet music, lyrics and a nice sound sample.
AoVK-24 / Iona (T1AU) / CH756 / GC141 / GC(II)77 Bless the Lord (Kenyan) Simple and fun Kenyan call and response. "Bless the Lord there is no other God" Kids would really enjoy this, and with some African drumming, it would really be excellent.
MV037 Each blade of grass / Circle of God (Wehlander) Lovely words set to a familiar-feeling folk tune. Lyrics (downloads a pdf).
VU888 / LBW558 / ELW731 / HPSS458 / RS681 / CP358 Earth and All Stars (Dexter) Fun words of cosmic praise. An easy hymn-like tune. I really like the "loud boiling test tubes" bit, although this verse is not in all hymnals. Sheet music, lyrics and a keyboard tune sample (search for Ritual Song 681)
MV095 How deep the peace (Bauman / Good) Simple song. Would work particularly well as words of assurance after the prayers of confession. Lyrics (downloads a pdf - go to the words of assurance!)
Iona (SBL) / CH140 / MV181 / WoV727 / ELW554 / G(II)341 / GC495 Lord Your Hands Have Formed This World / The Earth is the Lord's (Oliano) Good words of creation to a lovely, and not too difficult, Phillippino melody. Lyrics (first verse only) Tune.
ATE 216 / Iona (SBL) / CH126 / StJ / ELW555 / HPSS472 / G(II)365 / GC527 / RS 671 O sing to the Lord / Cantai ao Senhor / Cantad al Señor (Traditional Brazilian) A good, fun and simple song that is easy to learn in Portuguese or Spanish too.
Adopted children with the inheritance of forgiveness
TiS 303 / AHB 227 / AoV1-171 / NCH144 / CH301 / UMH240 / VU48 / LBW60 / ELW270 / HPP123 / HPSS031 / GC348 / GC(II)356 / CP138 Hark, the herald angels sing (or any Christmas carol really). This is just a reminder - Don’t forget to sing carols after Christmas Day!!
MV157 I am a child of God (Harding) A simple song with powerful words. Good for kids and adults alike. Very easy to learn.
ATE 284 / VU395 Come in come in and sit down A good welcoming song for kids.
TiS 465 / AHB 399 / ATA 115 / Iona (SBL) / CH116 / GA381 Our God in heaven / Father in heaven / Loving Creator grant to your children (Niles) I really like this hymn, especially the Philippino folk melody to which it's set. Newer versions of the hymn from the Christian Conference of Asia have altered the lyrics to "Our God in heaven / Creator God" in the first verse. Other versions, such as CH4 have "Loving Creator / Parent and God".
TiS 163 / AHB 112 / NCH556 / UMH150 / LBW463 / ELW771 / HPSS268 God who stretched the spangled heavens There are many possible tunes to these excellent words. I like HOLY MANNA best (NCH 376). A particularly good hymn for the start of a new year, too. “May our dreams prove rich with promise, each endeavour, well begun: great Creator, give us guidance till our goals and yours are one”. Lyrics and midi sample of HOLY MANNA.
TiS 428 / AHB 340 Help us O Lord to learn Great challenging (but quite formal) words about being committed to learning the faith. Good for a New Year message. Boring tune though. I would sing it to ST THOMAS (TiS 271 / AHB 198) Lyrics (with thees and thys, which are not in TiS).
Tune In: Community (Brown) A song about being welcomed and part of a community. Sound sample and lyrics here.
TiS 164 / AHB 105 / CH358 The great love of God (Niles) A simple creed song from the Christian Conference of Asia. The tune is really beautiful.
TiS 417 / AoV2-133 / ATW 448 / CH597 / VU387 / StJ / WoV683 / ELW397 / AA94 / HPP237 / HPSS323 / CP657 / W&R135 / Cha244 Loving Spirit loving Spirit There are about a zillion tunes set for this. I prefer FELICITY (by Colin Gibson TiS 417), but also like RESTORATION. Lyrics are here.
John 1:(1-9), 10-18
In the beginning was the Word…. Jesus, the light and the word
Well, of course you can sing lots of Christmas carols and I won't list them because you probably have your favourites!
TiS 156 / AHB 91 / AoV1-135 / ATA 123 / CH212 / UMH145 / VU409 / ELW556 / HPP267 / HPSS469 / G(II)546 / GC756 / GC(II)748 / CP003 Morning has broken
TiS 447 / AHB 61 God your almighty word chaos and darkness heard. 2nd verse is about the coming of Chirst to give healing and sight. An excellent hymn tune too. Lyrics. Some books have "Lord, your almighty word, chaos and darkness heard".
TiS 477 / Iona (LFB, Common Ground) / CH510 / StJ Jesus calls us here to meet him. Good words and a rollicking or gentle Celtic tune (depending on how you play it!). Lyrics. 4th verse (not in TiS, but in Iona sources) leads to communion.
G(II)445 / GC629 / GC(II)608 God Is Love and all who live in love live in God (Haas) This is a nice cantor and refrain piece. The refrain is very simple and the cantor part is inclusive. The words are really good. Sound sample, but it's pretty achingly slow and schmaltzy.
TiS 666 / AoV2-113 / AoVK-126 / ATOK 409 / NCH526 / Iona (Common Ground, Freedom is Coming) / CH516 / VU646/647 / WoV650 / ELW866 / SFFS 2235 / HPP153 / G(II)357 / GC513 / GC(II)516 We are marching in the light of God / Siyahamba / Caminando
Iona / CH317 / CP621 Before the world began (Bell/Maule) Excellent words from John Bell.
AoV2-060 / SFFS 2172 / HPP307 / G(II)518 / GC718 / GC(II)710 Come live in the light / We Are Called (Haas) Joyful song of mission. I love this. Lyrics, sheet music sample and painfully slow sound sample here. I would double the speed of this (almost).
VU886 / SFFS 2005 Arise Shine for your light has come (Smith) A simple call and response. Good for an intro to worship. This would be great for the whole Christmas season.
Epiphany - Matthew 2:1-12
The wise men! If you need a change from "We three kings of Orient are", there are many Christmas carols you can sing instead. Or you could sing one of these songs....
GC(II)386 Every nation sees the glory (O'Brien) BEACH SPRING (TiS 493) Beautiful words and very familiar tune. “Every nation sees the glory of a star that pierced the night. As we tell the wondrous story we are bathed in radiant light. Star sent forth from highest heaven, dancing light of God’s design, Shine upon the gift that’s given; Word made flesh now born in time.” Highly recommended! Lyrics, sample sheet music and nice sound sample.
TiS 281 / AHB 214 When God Almighty came to be one of us This is a great Christmas and Epiphany song. It’s also set to a very easy (and fun) tune to sing (URQUHART). I especially love verse 3 "Wise men, they called them, earnest astrologers, watching for meaning in the moving stars, science or fancy, learned or laughable, theirs was a vision that was brought to pass. Sing all you wise men, dance all the scientists whether your theories are false or true. God uses knowledge, God uses ignorance. God at his coming had a need of you". Lyrics.
AoVK-60 / AA04 And did you see him little star? (Clyde / Gibson) I quite like this song. It's very imaginative and good for kids.
GC(II)386 Every nation sees the glory (O'Brien) Beautiful words sung to the very familiar folk hymn tune BEACH SPRING, so it's easy to sing. Lyrics, sound sample and sample sheet music (search for Epiphany Carol).
SFFS 2094 I sought him dressed in finest clothes (Bell) Excellent words that speak of the search for a king in high places, and finding him among the poor. Sung to a celtic folkish tune. Lyrics.
TiS 307 / AHB 232 / CH300 / VU73 / SFFS 2098 / G(II)264 / GC345 / GC(II)378 The Virgin Mary had a baby boy Thought I should at least list one carol.
URW??? What gift can we bring? (Marshall) This song has great words for the offering, and seems appropriate to both Epiphany and New Year
Recorded Music Heavenly Child (Mayer) This is a great song from the viewpoint of one of the wise men. A great song for those who have travelled far in their spiritual journey but hold on to the image of the heavenly child. Lyrics and sound sample
New Year's Day
TiS 653 / NCH417 / CH526 / UMH383 / GC(II)453 This is a day of new beginnings. "This is a day of new beginnings, time to remember and move on, time to believe what love is bringing, laying to rest the pain that's gone." Excellent words of reconciliation from Brian Wren. A good New Year's Day hymn. There are two possible tunes. I prefer the more simple hymn-like tune by Carlton Young which is in most resources (including TiS). There is an optional final verse that can be used for Communion. Lyrics.
LBW222 / WoV778 / ELW480 / W&R433 O Christ the Same (Dudley-Smith) A bit more formal than I would usually suggest, but it's worth letting you know that this song is out there. Could be sung to RED or LONDONDERRY AIR. Lyrics
CP(E) 82 O God whom neither time nor space (Smith) An older style hymn casting away the old year, and committing to the new. I'm sure the lyrics could be modernised and it would still sound good (and be easier for those not inclined to thees and thous). Lyrics.
Iona (Love From Below) / GA555 / G(II)648 / GC894 / GC(II)877 The God of All Eternity unbound by time and space (Bell) Sung to the familiar tune O WALY WALY. Some non-inclusive language in the Gather hymnals.
URW430: Akekho Ofana no Jesu I found this song the other night while learning about the low life expectancy in Swaziland. The life expectancy there is only 31 years due to an incredibly high death rate from HIV/AIDS. I wanted to find a song to sing in prayer for Swaziland. This song is from Swaziland and is about searching for a saviour, so seemed kind of appropriate for Epiphany. Here are the lyrics and some good Youtube videos to help you learn the song. I particularly like the first one because it shows some simple dance steps and how to sing the English translation. Please join me in praying for Swaziland.