Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20
The Ten Commandments
*Iona / ATOK 311 / CH754 / GA401 Be still and know that I am God and there is none beside me (Iona) A simple song reflecting on the 1st commandment. Some versions have a 2nd verse.
Seeds of Faith: Ten Commandments (because God loves us) (Bruxvoort-Colligan) A fun song for musicians to lead and for kids to join in the counting. Could be a good way of helping kids learn the 10 commandments in a Sunday School setting. Lyrics and sound sample.
AoVK-41 Moses climbed the mountain high Another good song to help kids learn the 10 commandments, probably better for Sunday School than congregational worship. There are other versions of this out there too, but this one is better.
NCH20 God of Abraham and Sarah. A great newish but very singable hymn tune with words that pick up the history of our faith, as well as some of the Psalm and Gospel themes this week. Excellent words. Could also be sung to NETTLETON if you want a familiar tune.
Heavenly praise; God's commands are sweeter than honey; Let the words of my mouth...
Cosmic praise. God's laws are perfect.
*TiS 187 / AoV2-130 / CH149 / StS122 / SP247 Let all creation dance I just love the imagery of this one, and it's a very joyous and familiar hymn tune too. Lyrics (downloads pdf).
*CH172 / URW062 Sing for God’s glory that colours the dawn of creation (Galloway) Beautiful poetic words of creation (first verse), release (2nd verse), justice (3rd verse) and saints (4th verse). Would be a good song to open worship. Sung to a very familiar hymn tune, LOBE DEN HERREN (TiS 111). Lyrics (loads a pdf).
GC(II)21 Words of Everlasting Life / Palabras de vida Eterna Simple bilingual (English / Spanish refrain) and cantored verses in either English or Spanish (or I guess you could alternate if you have a bilingual congregation). Sound sample. Sheet music sample.
*TiS 7 The sky tells the glory of God (Hughes) Excellent and simple cantor and refrain. could easily use the refrain with the Psalm being read also. Don't forget that these Psalm refrains are also great for smaller kids - they can join in without reading.
*MV31 / Linnea Good Pure love A simple two-part chant that picks up the Psalmist’s idea of the purity of God’s law “Pure love, pure truth, pure justice, God”. Would be great if you can teach it to some of the congregation before worship starts.
*AoVK-113 Thank you O Lord for this world of ours I like this kid's song. Really fun and interesting with two parts!
*AoV1-003 / HPP258 / GA394 / G(II)342 / GC497 / GC(II)495 / RS638 The heavens are telling the glory of God / Canticle of the Sun (Haugen) Energetic waltz of cosmic praise with great lyrics "Come dance in the forest, come play in the field, and sing, sing to the glory of the Lord". Sound sample. Lyrics and sheet music sample.
ATW 462 When I consider God's design / Hand in hand (Mann) Good words of all creation celebrating together. Tune is good, too. Lyrics.
*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. Here's Yusuf Islam (when he was Cat Stevens) in 1976 (love those green boots).
*TiS 166 / AHB 102 / StB 35 Sing a new song sing a new song Excellent inclusive words from Australian poet James McAuley. The last verse annoys me a bit, but the rest is excellent. Lyrics.
*TiS 163 / AHB 112 / NCH556 / UMH150 / LBW463 / ELW771 / HPPS268 / W&R644 / Cha651 / URW084 / 82Hml-580 God who stretched the spangled heavens Good words of creation of nature and cities and creative possibilities for the future. AHB has a Father and old language, but it works okay; TiS and other sources are better. There are many possible tunes. I like it best to HOLY MANNA as in the link. Lyrics and sound sample.
*AoVK-50 / ATW 430 / NCYC'99 Come let us praise our God / A voice is heard (Trisha Watts) Excellent and energetic.
*HPP28 / HPSS285 / W&R24 God You Spin the Whirling Planets (Jane Parker Huber / AUSTRIAN HYMN) Excellent words to a very familiar tune (TiS 772). Really good for the final hymn or response to the sermon. Lyrics.
AoV1-019 / CH151 / GA397 / G(II)340 / GC493 / GC(II)498 / W&R39 / URW097 All You Works of God (Haugen) Joyful call, response and chorus. This will take a little work to get your congregation into the rhythm of how this song works, but I really think it would be worth it. Lyrics, sound sample and sheet music (search for "all you works").
VU888 / LBW558 / ELW731 / HPSS458 / RS681 / CP358 / W&R642 Earth and All Stars Fun words of cosmic praise. An easy hymn-like tune. I really like the "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)
Alternative Hebrew Scripture: Isaiah 5:1-7
The promising vineyard that gives only wild grapes. God's frustrated.
*Tune In / NCYC '07: Forgive us now (Brown) “As we forgive may we be healed, as we reach out….” An excellent ballad seeking forgiveness in a sinful world. Lyrics and sound sample.
*Recorded Music If you had a vineyard (Sinéad O'Connor) Ray Gormann played this to our congregation three years ago; taken directly from this passage, this protest song is very moving. It's from the album "Theology". Video. Some words from Sinéad about her interpretation of this passage.
SFFS 2169 God How Can We Forgive (Duck) Good words of healing in the midst of broken relationships to the familiar tune LEONI. Lyrics (scroll down).
*HPSS437 / CP591 / W&R586 Our Cities Cry to You O God (Clarkson) Good words of helping to heal injustice in the world. Being the body of Christ. Sung to a very amiliar hymn tune. Lyrics and tune sample.
*Tune In: Our God who weeps (Kate Scull) Very simple folk-like tune and challenging and hopeful lyrics. "When death has taken those held dear"... Reference recording, lyrics and songbook available here.
*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 particularly 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 (loads a pdf).
Alternative Psalm for Isaiah reading: Psalm 80:7-15
Restore us, let your face shine that we may be saved.
*TiS 42 / GA047 Lord make us turn to you (Boschetti) A simple refrain and mostly inclusive cantor part (just change “man” to “one” in verse 3). Don't forget that you can use these refrains with a reader if you don't have someone confident enough to cantor.
*AoVK-29 Remember we are your people (Barr) Simple three part chant "Remember we are your people, your people O God". This would work really well as a sung refrain during the prayer of confession.
*Tune In: Longing for you (Loukes). A simple chant of longing for God. Sound sample and lyrics here.
Online resource: Prepare, prepare the way of the Lord (Kleinheksel). A simple round, particularly appropriate for kids. Adults might find it a bit simple, but it’s quite effective. Sheet music.
VU239 O great Spirit how I long to hear (Clellamin) Native American song - very simple, would be best with a good hand-clapping rhythm or drumming.
*NCH563 / MV143 / HPP260 / GC710 / GC(II)703 / RS 636 / Cha684 / URW169 We cannot own the sunlit sky / Abundant life (Duck) I like these words full of hope for the future. I would prefer to sing it to the tune of "How can I keep From singing". LA GRANGE is the other option.
Righteousness through faith, striving
*Tune In: A Grain of Wheat (Anderson) Excellent words about Christ's death and what it could mean to us. Lyrics and sound sample here.
*TiS 382 / AoV2-131 / ATN 15 / NCH238 / CH417 / UMH311 / VU186 / LBW280 / ELW570 / HPP210 / G(II)318 / GC444 / GC(II)456 Now the green blade riseth I don't think we need to sing this only at Easter. Some lyrics are more inclusive than others. One version of the lyrics is here.
*AoV2-033 / VU648 Travel on travel on (Sydney Carter). I think this old folk song would work well to pick up the theme of "pressing on". Lyrics and chords here.
*NCH497 / SFFS 2208 / HPPS354 / G(II)508 / GC707 / GC(II)684 Guide my feet while I run this race An excellent civil rights song. Would work well as a meditative prayer for guidance or as an uplifting call to action at the end of the service.
Worldmaking.net O Author of Faith yet at work in our hearts (Bruxvoort-Colligan) New words to an old tune “O Jesus our Christ, lead the way for our faith to give perseverance for running the race. You’ve gone on ahead for to stake out a claim. We trust in the journey and look for your footsteps. O Jesus our Christ, lead the way for our faith!” Lyrics and sound sample here.
*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 Don't forget to jump around a lot when singing this.
The murderous tenants and Christ's followers still don’t understand.
*Tune in / NCYC'07 Forgive us now (Brown) I've chosen this because sometimes we are the murderous tenants in the story, but God forgives. This is a beautiful and challenging song of forgiveness. Lyrics and sound sample here.
*NCH387 / HPSS443 / GC(II)646 / CP524 O Christ the great foundation (Lew) Excellent words of salvation and justice from Timothy Tingfang Lew, sung to the tune of "The church's one foundation" (AURELIA). There is a second possible tune (ABREU), which is more challenging. Lyrics, and both tunes here (search for "Foundation"). Note that the lyrics in the NCH are slightly different, and more inclusive.