Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Songs for St. Francis Day / Blessing of the Animals (October 4th)

* All of us belong (Bruxvoort-Colligan) A very simple song, with two parts that can be sung simultaneously about welcoming all creatures into the church. I especially like the second part "We have wings and paws and tails and toes and instincts and souls". Good for kids. Sound sample and lyrics
*HiOS022 Creator God, we give you thanks (Gibson) Fun song for kids and adults. The tune is very simple and joyful. "Creator God we give you thanks for those who live in nest or tank, in basket, kennel, bowl or shed, on sofas, perches, straw for bed."  
*NCH32 / UMH122 / VU229 / HPP32 / HPSS272 / CP414 / W&R29 / Cha070 God of the sparrow, God of the whale (Roeder) I like how this song asks questions about how animals might praise God. Lyrics. Good for kids.
*TiS 100 / AHB 3 / NCH17 / CH147 / UMH62 / VU217 / LBW527 / ELW835 / GA395 / HPP261 / HPSS455 / GC534 / GC(II)523 / G(3)611 / CP(E) / 250 / W&R23 / Cha022 / 82Hml-400 / Lau694 All creatures of our God and King (Francis of Assisi) A good classic sing! Hymnals vary in how inclusive (or not) the lyrics are. Using only Alleluia Alleluia or "Sing your praises" as some hymnals do, eliminates the "Oh praise him" which makes it annoyingly male exclusive. NCH has "To you, O God, all creatures sing" and eliminates all kingly language. ELW has "All creatures worship God most high". Lyrics and sound sample.
*ATN 66 / GGives1 If I were a butterfly (Howard) This is such a cute kid's song; I can't work out how to make it gender-inclusive for God when it gets to "But I just thank you Father for making me me!" Good for kids. Lyrics, chords and sound sample.
Cha697 Creative God You Spread the Earth (Duck) A song asking forgiveness for our disdain for the earth and animals. Sung to the familiar tune KINGSFOLD. The animals are largely European or North American, so maybe not great for Australians. Lyrics.
AoVK-35 O good and almighty Lord (Raimondo) Canticle of St. Francis. Good words of the earth.
*TiS 607 / AoV2-126 / ATN 95 / CH528 / VU684 / StJ / SFFS 2171 / HPP406 / G(II)524 / GC726 / GC(II)721 / G(3)828 / CP(E)519/ W&R587 / Srce 462 / Lau898 Make me a channel of your peace (Temple) An oldy but a very very goody, based on the Prayer of St. Francis. Although it doesn't specifically mention animals, I was really struck by how the words reflect behaviour more like a pet than a human. Youtube video of Sinead O'Connor singing it and lyrics and MIDI file.
CH527 / SP290 / 82Hml-593 Lord make us servants of your peace (Quinn) A nice alternative to "make me a channel of your peace". This is sung to the very familiar tune "O Waly Waly". It is also sung in the plural (us and we rather than Me and I), which is nice too.  
*TiS 135 / AHB 70 / AoVK-110 / NCH31 / A&M533 / CH137 / UMH147 / VU291 / WoV767 / HPP35 / PH267 / RS 635 / CP415/6 / CP(E) 251 / W&R30 / Cha61 / Srce21 / Lau685 All things bright and beautiful The TiS version has beautiful Australian imagery. If your congregation only has the AHB or other versions of the music, it is worth making copies of the TiS lyrics; the congregation will know the tune. Verse 2 and 5 have masculine language for God.
*TiS 671 / AoV2-121 Made in God's Likeness (Lewis/Spence) "Called to create a new world for the Lord". Excellent images of rainforest birds praising God. This is one of my very favourite songs. It is not difficult if you have a good musician at the helm. If it is new to your congregation, they will be able to join in on the verses by the time you get to the 3rd one. The change in tone with the verse really lifts this song. Lyrics (search for "Made in").
URW086 Creation sings! Each plant and tree (Leckebusch) Thoughtful words about our relationship with the earth and all that is in it. One of very few hymns that connects human creatures with the other creatures of our planet, and questions our desire to control all of earth. Sung to a fairly simple tune, that will need to be sung through once before the congregation joins in.

Recorded music: Sarah McLachlan has a very nice recording of the Prayer of St. Francis. Video here.

I'm sure Norm Habel will have written many songs that would fit. One example, including a whole order of worship for a similar service is here.

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