Jacob, alone in an unfamiliar land dreams of a passage to heaven, and receives anew God’s promise to Abraham. Recognises God’s presence and worships. Bethel.
*NCH 2 / ZSS117 Glory Glory Hallelujah! Excellent African-American chorus; includes the verse “We are climbing Jacob’s ladder” and “every rung goes higher higher”. There is a version here similar to NCH.
AoV2-154 / NCH606 / UMH528 / VU497 / HPP471 / CP538 / CP(E) 526 / Cha577 / Srce492 Nearer my God to you / thee (Adams/Mason). I didn’t grow up with this song, so the tune seems kind of sappy and sentimental to me. Having said that, I really like the words in the NCH and it is an excellent fit for this reading “When I am wandering as Jacob did, and in the deepest night, the path is hid, my dreams will bring me, too, nearer my God, to you”. Please note that not all sources have such accessible words. Traditional lyrics.
NCH500 / UMH418 / HPP454 / G(II)497 / GC693 We are climbing Jacob’s ladder. A traditional well-known favourite in some circles; NCH replaces “Soldiers of the cross” with “bearers of the cross”. Note that not all sources are as accessible. Traditional lyrics. Note there are also many recordings of this song (e.g. Pete Seeger, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Paul Robeson, Bruce Springsteen, Jane Siberry) that you may also want to use; it's interesting to see how each of these singers has altered the lyrics.
*TiS 569 / AHB 478 / NCH18/19 / CH167 / UMH127 / VU651 / LBW343 ELW618 / HPP432 / HPSS281 / CP565 / CP(E) 455 / W&R501 / Cha622 / 82Hml690 Guide me O thou great Jehovah / Redeemer (Williams) A rousing hymn of God’s presence and strength and making it to the other side. Sound sample and lyrics.
TIS 605 I am alone, yet not alone. This hymn has very beautiful words, but is not very well known. The traditional style tune is not hard, but will probably need to be taught as the metre is unusual.
*AoV2-103 / AoVK-115 / G(II)514 / GC712 / GC(II)715 The heavens embrace the earth / On Holy Ground (Donna Pena). I love the energy and passion in this song and the vision of the heavens embracing the earth. I especially like the “Do you believe in freedom? Yes we do Lord! Do you believe in justice? Justice for all!” call in the middle. Bilingual English/Spanish song. Sample.
*ATW 433 At the dawn of the ages / You were in this place (Mann) An Australian song about seeing God in this ancient land and in our indigenous people. “Do we take after Jacob, blind to what lies at hand, needing dreams to inform us God is here in this land?”. Tune is very smooth and simple. Lyrics.
*AoVK-144 / ATN 87 When the day has begun and the darkness is done (Walkin’ down the road). Great song for kids about God being with us. Lyrics.
*TiS 217 / AHB 148 / NCH43 / CH519 / UMH384 / VU333 / LBW315 / ELW631 / GA463 / HPP48 / HPSS376 / GC622 / GC(II)613 / CP485/6 / CP(E) 516 / W&R358 / Cha517 / Srce457 / URW100 Love divine all loves excelling A beautiful classic song and most hymnals use a very inclusive version of this hymn, even the AHB! Lyrics and sound sample.
*ATN 84 / NCH490 / CH539 / UMH521 / LBW660 / WoV660 / ELW325 / HPP433 / HPSS363 / CP512 / W&R506 / Cha627 / ZSS69 / URW110 I want Jesus to walk with me An excellent simple song. There are also many good recordings of this song. There are also some great recordings of this, like Eric Bibb's.
Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24
God knows us better than we know ourselves. We cannot hide.
*AoV2-031 / ATW 424 / CH97 / GC(II)509 / SP301 O God, you search me and you know me (Farrell). My favourite version of this Psalm. The tune flows effortlessly and it has a nice little hook at the end of each verse. Sample music and lyrics here.
NCH Psalter has a very simple refrain for this Psalm from Jane Marshall, which is worth a look.
TiS 87 / VU862 / HPPS248 You are before me, Lord, you are behind. A beautiful chant setting to this psalm; sung to SURSUM CORDA. The words are directly from the Psalm and are very beautiful. lyrics.
*ATOK 320 / NCH351 / VU645 / StJ / WoV770 / ELW732 / SFFS 2051 / HPP516 I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry. A song of God’s presence in all stages of life. Very simple tune to sing. Lyrics, and a nice (slow) sound sample.
*Worldmaking.net God of My Breathing (Bruxvoort-Colligan). Excellent words to a well-known hymn tune. Sample and lyrics.
*ATW 487 Make your home in me A simple beautiful invitation. Written by Melbourne songwriter and teacher, Fay White. “If you fly to the point of the day’s sunrise or westward across the sea, if you travel to the uttermost ends of the earth, there I will be; Make your home in me as I make my home in you. I am everywhere that you can be. Make your home in me”. This is quite different to the Vineyard / Josh Young version you can find all over the internet. I can't find a sample of this one, unfortunately.
*TiS 725 / ATE 275 / TiS 725 / AoV2-167 / ATE 275 / StJ / GA538 / G(II)553 / GC763 / URW391 In our darkness there is no darkness in your sight, the deepest night is clear as the daylight (La tenebre). Also translated as "Our darkness is never darkness". Sample music and lyrics.
*Music by Heart 15 Darkness is not dark (Law) A simple round, with optional cantor part. Good to teach to your congregation without lyric sheets or projections.
*VU384 / SFFS 2052 / HPP229 / HPSS320 The Lone Wild Bird in lofty flight (Haugen / PROSPECT) Familiar tune and excellent words. First 3 verses and tune sample.
*NCH274 / SFFS 2046 / CP390 Womb of Life and source of being (Duck / LADUE CHAPEL) Excellent words. The tune is unlikely to be familiar, and is just a little bit tricky.
AoV2-079 / GA081 How Rich Are The Depths (Willcock) A good Cantor and refrain version of the Psalm.
ATFG511 There are lots of things that I can do / I'm the only one like me (Kirkland) OK. Adults think this is stupid. Little kids like it a lot. So it's a good song if you want to teach something to your sunday school class.
TiS 87 / VU862 / HPPS248 You are before me, Lord, you are behind. A beautiful chant-like setting to this psalm; sung to SURSUM CORDA. The words are directly from the Psalm and are very beautiful. lyrics.
*Worldmaking.net Open unto me light for my darkness (Richard Bruxvoort-Colligan). Sample here.
*MV 131 You, Creator God, have searched me. Get out the maracas for this one! This joyous calypso chorus for this Psalm is so refreshing. I think it’s really good fun, and very catchy!
ATW 423 Examine my heart, explore my mind (Mann). This is a bit tricky, but if familiar to your congregation would be great to sing.
Linnea Good: Psalm 139: Where Can I Go? “Where can I hide from your Spirit? Where can I run from your presence? Where can I go, when you are always there?” A simple refrain.
*TiS 611 / AHB 543 / NCH436 / UMH577 / VU686 / LBW415 / ELW705 / HPP456 / HPSS420 / CP577 / CP(E) 448 / W&R569 / Cha464 God of Grace and God of Glory (Fosdick) A song about being courageous and wise. There are many possible tunes and many sets of words to this hymn. NCH has the most inclusive words, but TiS and AHB are okay too. They don’t hold back in verse 3. Chorus is “Grant us wisdom, Grant us courage, for the facing of this hour”. Don’t know about everyone else, but I know best the tune AHB 543 (ii).
Alternative Hebrew Scripture: Wisdom of Solomon 12:13, 16-19
God's strength, and kindness in righteousness
*ATW 463 / Iona (T1AU) / R239 / ELW721 / SFFS 2219 Goodness is stronger than evil (Tutu / Iona) Words from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. "Victory is ours, victory is ours, through him who loves us". Some congregations change the last line to "Compassion is ours, compassion is ours...". It depends on the context in which you sing it, I suppose. Sound sample.
Alternative to the Alternative Hebrew Scripture: Isaiah 44:6-8
Alternative Psalm: Psalm 86:11-17
NCH Psalter O God you abound in steadfast love (Hunnicutt) A nice joyful refrain for this cantored or read Psalm.
Live by the Spirit. Lots of stuff…. Hope
*Tune In: Father of Earth, Mother of Sea (Brown) A good latin-rhythmed song that seeks Christ’s presence for the prisoners, the blind. Lyrics and sound sample.
*TiS 474 / AoV1-012 / ATE 295 / CH623 / SFFS 2236 / HPP553 / G(II)539 / GC839 / GC(II)743 / CP465 / W&R649 / Cha284 / URW054 / SP175 Here in this place new light is streaming / Gather us in (Haugen) Excellent and very well known. Sample.
*TiS 410 / AHB 323 / LBW523 / ELW582 / NCH59 Holy Spirit, ever dwelling I like these words, but prefer to sing it to NETTLETON (TiS 392). Lyrics and sound sample.
*TiS 178 / G(II)335 / GC478 / GC(II)487 Praise the God who changes places I like the joy of the tune written by William Rowan (BOE) for this song. Lyrics and sign language here (scroll to the bottom for the lyrics). Sample here, to a different tune.
TiS 415 / CH588 Praise the Spirit in creation Amazing words. Tune is unfamiliar, but good.
*Tune In: The desert will spring to life / Making things new (Anderson). A groovy one. Great for kids, and lots of fun. Reference recording, lyrics and songbook. “Take hold of the hope that I give, trust in me, reach out for the love you can live, eternally”.
AoV2-040 In Labor All Creation Groans. Excellent words of creation's longing for peace and an end to violence. Lyrics.
URW154 Holy holy holy you are whole and holy (Harling) Very simple tune. Would be a nice Sanctus to use during communion this week if you like, even if you just used the chorus.
*TiS 417 / AoV2-133 / ATW 448 / VU387 / StJ / WoV683 / ELW397 / AA94 / HPP237 / HPPS323 / URW203 Loving Spirit, Loving Spirit (Murray). There are about a zillion tunes set for this. I prefer FELICITY (by Colin Gibson TiS 417), but also like RESTORATION. Lyrics are here.
*TiS 421 Where the Spirit is there's freedom (Harling) Fun and good; excellent fun for the pianist! Lyrics.
NCH520 / LBW441 / ELW402 / AA033 / CP557 / W&R475 / 82Hml-698 Eternal Spirit of the living Christ (von Christierson) There are many tunes to these very honest and realistic words. For a more modern alternative, Gibson's tune in AA (ARGYLE STREET) is quite good. Lyrics.
*AoV2-003 / ATOK 313 / CH543 / StJ / R127 / ELW715 / GC(II)512 Longing for light we wait in darkness / Christ, be our light (Farrell). One of my favourites, especially if someone can sing or play the descant line in the later verses. Sound and sheet music sample here.
*VU379 / LBW459 / ELW786 / SFFS 2121 O Holy Spirit root of life Good words from Hildegard of Bingen. Simple known tune. You can see the sheet music here (doesn't always work).
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Seed sown which grows up together with the weeds. Separate them at the harvest time.
*GC(II)641 The Reign of God (Dufner) Excellent words, sung to a very familiar traditional American tune. Highly recommended. This song will also fit next week's readings, so if it's new, now would be a good time to introduce it. I'd play it a little quicker than this sample. Sample lyrics and tune. Sound sample.
*Tune In: Kingdom Come “The kingdom is here, it’s not in a jar. Try weeding it out, you won’t get far”. A song about what the kingdom might be like, with plentiful images from the parables. Sample here.
*NCH 608 Christ will come again (Wren) One of few hymns that talks about sifting the weeds from the wheat. The tune is new, and fits the unusual metre of these words. It should be picked up quite quickly by a singing congregation, but would benefit from a quick lesson before the start of the service. “Christ will come again, God’s justice to complete, to reap the fields of time and sift the weeds from wheat. Then let us passionately care for peace and justice here on earth, and evil’s rage restrain with love, till Christ shall come again”.
*WoV658 / ELW506 The word of God is source and seed "The Word of God is source and seed; It comes to die and sprout and grow. So make your dark earth welcome warm; Root deep the grain God bent to sow." The words also fit with the Psalm, so you might want to sing this song if you have access to it. There's a very helpful commentary including the lyrics of the hymn here. (Thanks to Bob Gardiner at crossbeams for this link).
*NCH 528 You are the seed / Sois la semilla. This is a simple song to sing, and the words are very cheering. “You are the seed that will grow and new spout; you’re a star that will shine through the day”. Good for older kids who can read all the words.
*MV 174 Soil of God (Holy Ground) This is probably most appropriate for last week’s reading, but would also fit for this week. The tune is quite siple and the words are good “Soil of God, you and I, stand ready to bear seeds of faith nourished by God’s tender care”.
*TiS 531 / VU481 / ELW330 / NCH76 / HPP578 Sent forth by God’s blessing (particularly if you celebrate communion/eucharist this week). Note that not all hymnals are gender inclusive for God on this one. NCH is. “The seed of God’s teaching, our hungry souls reaching, shall blossom in action for all humankind”… Lyrics and electronic tune here.