Songs, Hymns & Music for Palm Sunday (28 March 2021)

You might also like to sing songs on the theme of Peace (some songs listed here).

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
Any Holy, holy, holy will work well (Here's a list).
  • MV008 And on this path (Linnea Good) An energetic gospel style song. Here's a Youtube video. We sing it much slower than this and as a gospel style song with big chords and a groovy bass part. I thought I'd never say that we sing something slower than anyone! Good for kids.
  • TiS 74 / GA070 This is the day the Lord has made (Christopher Willcock) Unusual timing in this refrain, but once you've nailed it, it will be stuck in your head for the rest of the week, which is what I like about Psalm refrains.
  • PfAS118D This is the day the lord has made (Joy Patterson) A good 7/8 setting of the Psalm. It will need to be taught, but will be enjoyed. Sheet music and lyrics.
  • Online Resource / MV122 This is the day (Bruce Harding) This is a really simple nice jazzy song. Sound sample and free sheet music. Good for kids. 
  • Recorded Music Odecha (Yasmin Levy) This is something quite different, but will fit well with some services, particularly while reflecting on Christ's journey in the coming week. Yasmin Levy is a Sephardic Ladino singer (yes, Ladino, I had to look it up too). I really love this sorrowful but also hopeful version of the Psalm; it focuses entirely on vs 21 and 22. Sound (Youtube).
  • G(II)102 / GC114 / GC(II)65 / G(3)081 This is the day the Lord has made (Let Us Rejoice) (Marty Haugen) Joyful and sort of minstrelly. Verses should be sung by a cantor. The same tune can be used for Alleluias for this Psalm when it is not Palm Sunday.  Sound sample. Sample sheet music. 
  • Online Resource / PfAS118G This is the day the lord has made (Leon Roberts) A bright and cheerful refrain for the Psalm. Sound sample and sheet music (choral arrangement).
  • Taizé / MV016 / StJ / ELW528 / GA430 / SFFS 2157 / HPP410 / GtG466 / G(II)398 / GC570 / GC(II)550 / G(3)637 / CP402 / URW378 / Lau701 Come and Fill our hearts/ Confitemini Domino (Jacques Berthier) Can be sun in English as "Come and fill our hearts with your peace, you alone O God are holy. Come and fill our hearts with your peace, Alleluia". A good song of recommitment. Obviously if you don't sing Alleluias during Lent, this is not for you. You could replace the Alleluia with Hosanna if you really want to sing it. Sound samples and sheet music.
  • NCH387 / GtG361 / PH443 / GC(II)646 / RS782 / CP524 / Lau829 O Christ the great foundation (Timothy T'ingfang 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. Note that the lyrics in the NCH are slightly different, and more inclusive. Youtube video. New words to old tunes
  • MV187 / ELW682 We give our thanks / Reamo leboga (Traditional Botswana) A great song to sing for the offering. Video of some guys and a keyboard having fun with it. Good for kids.
  • TiS 48 / AoV1-153 / ATOK 411 / VU808 / WoV779 / ELW787 / GA452 / HPP385 / GtG043 / G(II)433 / GC611 / GC(II)593 / G(3)691 / CP531 / W&R438 / PfAS091E / Cha077 / Lau952 You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord / On Eagle's Wings (Michael Joncas) This is a big favourite all over the place. It has masculine imagery for God. This doesn't have to be sung slowly and meditatively - it also works very well as a more upbeat song. If it is not familiar to you, a cantor can be used for the verses. It is not inclusive. Lyrics.
Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16 (Year B)   
Christ’s entry into Jerusalem
  • Online Resource Two processions entering Jerusalem (Amanda Udis-Kessler) A meditative song based on the book "The Last Week" by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan - not really a congregational song. It would be lovely for a time of thoughtful reflection as the words are very powerful. Sound sample and lyrics. Free sheet music
  • TiS 279 / AHB 212 / SFFS 2091 / HPP158 / GC487 / GC(II)494 / G(3)572 / CP632 / Lau107 The King of glory comes the nation rejoices (Willard Jabusch) Fun and energetic song to a traditional Israeli folk melody. A good processional. Lyrics (scroll down). Watch Stephen Colbert crack some fancy dance moves to this song. Good for kids.
  • CH366 / AA022 Come into the streets with me! (Shirley Murray) Simple folk tune which is great for kids; chorus is "Come and follow my leader". A good fun choice for Palm Sunday. Lyrics and sheet music. Good for kids.
  • Online Resource / StS073 / SP&P132 Jesus is coming / Pave the way with branches (Bret Hesla) Palm Sunday this song has a great rhythm; You could sing "Pave the way with branches" or "Pave the way with justice"; I prefer the year-long version. It would be great for kids, and good for drumming. It's very repetitive so good for kids and non-readers. Other verses include "Hope for the downtrod / Pave the way with justice" and "Debts are forgiven / Pave the way with justice". One year we sang it, with a very strong cantor, all the way up the street to our ecumenical Palm Sunday service. It worked really well! Lyrics and Youtube video. Good for kids.
  • VU128 / A&M162 / GtG597 / W&R269 / SP54 / World Council of Churches Assembly 1991  Sanna sannanina An excellent African processional, which simply means "Hosanna". GtG has the option of singing the Holy Holy to this tune, but I think that just seems a bit odd. Great for drumming. Sound sample (scroll to the 2nd album). Sheet music sample. Good for kids.
  • SFFS 2109 Jesus rode into Jerusalem (Cathy Townley) Fun call-and-response song. Lyrics.
  • StS025 / LBW074 / GtG160 / G(II)269 / GC356 / CP(E) 42 / W&R206 / Cha141 / 82Hml-104 A Stable Lamp Is Lighted (Richard Wilbur) Starting From the stable, ending on the cross. This has a nice celticish tune, which is simple to sing, and a refrain of "and every stone shall cry". I like it. Lyrics and links to youtube videos of two possible tunes.  Sound sample and sheet music from Ana Hernández; this version is probably better for a soloist. It's lovely.
  • AoV1-061 / ATOK 355 / GtG359 / SFFS 2194 / G(II)521 / GC723 / GC(II)707 / G(3)814 / ZSS110 / SgTJ1035 Freedom is coming (South African) Excellent and lots of fun, especially if you have a keen African-style drummer in your congregation. It's really worth teaching the parts to your congregation before the service. It can get a bit confusing for the congregation otherwise. European choral version on Youtube. Good for kids.
  • SFFS 2111 We Sang Our Glad Hosannas (Mary Nelson Keithahn) Good words that follow Christ from Palm Sunday to the Crucifixion. Sung to a hymn tune. Lyrics
  • Online resource From the East the Poor are Marching  (Daniel Damon) Based on the writings of Borg and Crossan, this hymn speaks of the two processions coming into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday - the peasant procession with Jesus, and the Imperial procession with Pilate. Sheet music and lyrics.
  • GA312 Hosanna to the son of David (Jane Wood) A simple and energetic Hosanna.
  • GtG200 / Cha193 A Cheering Chanting Dizzy Crowd (Timothy Troeger) Lyrics are great; pretty solemn at the end... There are two possible tunes; I prefer it to the well known folk melody MORNING SONG (TiS 172), but this requires repeating the last line. Some lyrics and a reflection on these words (scroll). Tune sample.
  • Iona (Enemy of Apathy) / CH370 / VU126 Ride on ride on the time is right (John Bell) A different version of “Ride on Ride on in Majesty”. Lyrics (scroll down)
  • Iona (The Courage to Say No / Enemy of Apathy) Travelling the Road to Freedom (John Bell) Easy tune and excellent words. Who wants to travel the road with me? Sound sample of a lovely virtual choir with musicians.
  • TiS 348 / AHB 264 / NCH215 / CH365 / VU127 / R133 / ELW328 / A&M161 / HPP186 / GtG198 / PH090 / CP182 / CP(E)129 / W&R268 / 82Hml-156 / Lau230 / StF265 / MP580 Ride on ride on in majesty (Henry Hart Milman) The lyrics to this hymn contain some amazing imagery, but it is very inaccessible for young people, people who are new to the church, or people who don't like masculine God-talk. The NCH has excellent traditional, yet inclusive, lyrics for this hymn. I encourage you to seek them out if you would like to sing something more traditional and still accessible. Lyrics and sheet music. Oldy but a (mostly) goody
  • TiS 333 / AHB 250 / NCH216 / CH364 / UMH280 / VU122 / LBW108 / ELW344 / GA309 / A&M159 / HPP179 / GtG196 / PH088 / GC402 / GC(II)421 / G(3)498 / CP181 / CP(E)128 / W&R265 / Cha192 / 82Hml-154 / Lau229 / StF262 / MP009 All Glory Laud and Honor / All Glory Laud and Honour (Theodulph of Orleans) Most hymnals have very non-inclusive language for this hymn. If you would like an alternative, the NCH has excellent lyrics, which are still poetic. Lyrics & sheet music. Oldy but a (mostly) goody
  • ATW 444 Hey King (Paul Grant & Marion Palmer) Good for kids. What sort of King was Jesus, anyway? My niece was obsessed with this when she was 7. Good for kids.
  • MV 128 / GC(II)420 / G(3)496 When they heard that Jesus was coming (Rory Cooney) A simple and excellent antiphon (led by one singer, and a simple repeated chorus by the congregation). It has 11 verses, so you may want to just chose the ones that fit for your service. Just the first 3 would do the trick for Palm Sunday really. It would work really well to help the whole congregation tell the story, and fun for kids. Lyrics and sample sheet music. Sound sample. It could be sung much more energetically than the sound sample.
  • FFS18 For the crowd another busy day (Colin Gibson) Tune might be a little tricky, but the words are really excellent.
  • TiS 357 / ATA 147 When his time was over the palms lay where they fell (Robin Mann) A quiet and mournful song that would lead well into Holy Week if you wish to end your Palm Sunday service on a more sombre tone. Lyrics.
  • TiS 244 / AHB 187 Trotting trotting through Jerusalem (Eric Reid) An old favourite. Lyrics (downloads pdf).
  • Lutheran Service Book No tramp of soldiers marching feet (Timothy Dudley-Smith) Pretty good words, and sung to a familiar folk tune (STAR OF THE COUNTY DOWN) or to KINGSFOLD. Lyrics. New words to old tunes.
  • G(3)499 Blessed is He / Hosanna (Scott Soper) I think the sound sample of this makes it boring, but it could be quite energetic with drums etc. Sheet music. Sound Sample.
  • NCH214 / UMH279 / GtG199 Filled with excitement / Mantos y palmas (Rubén Ruiz Ávila) Fun and joyful verses, with an energetic chorus. Can be sung in English or Spanish. Best with percussion!  Youtube of the organ accompaniment with lyrics and commentary. Good for kids.
  • Recorded Music Hosanna (Page CXVI) Not a congregational song. If you've got hipster musicians, they could play and sing this maybe? Sound sample. Youtube with lyrics
  • Online Resource Not on a war horse but on a humble donkey (David Miller) Good words to the familiar tune FINLANDIA. This is one of those hymns that reminds us what will happen later in the week - especially appropriate for churches unable to host Holy Week services. Lyrics. New words to old tunes 
  • VU124 He came riding on a donkey (Gordon Light) Good words and a simple tune to sing. Thanks to Craig Miller for suggesting this song. Fun recording.
  • Online Resource This day has challenged us to make good trouble (Tom Keesecker) This song is not specifically about Palm Sunday, but I think it would work well. It is written for choir, but it strikes me that the chorus would work very well as a sung response for the congregation. Sheet music for purchase. Sample sheet music. Sound sample.
What will you be singing as you wave the Palms this week? Add a note in the comments - I'd love to hear your thoughts!


RevPete said...

I find George Stuart's version of Ride On, Ride On in Majesty to be a good one for this day (Singing a New Song, vol 1, #40 to the regular tune)
Last verse:
Ride on; ride on to Calvary
with tortured grim integrity.
Absorb the pain; repay with grace,
and thus transform the human race.

Sean Meade said...

All Glory, Laud and Honor
Ride On To Die (Michael Card)
Hosanna in Excelsis (Requiem, Andrew Lloyd Webber)
Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord (Godspell)

Anonymous said...

If you’re looking for good lists of songs for Lenten worship, do check out this blog:

There are specific song lists for Lent and Holy Week days.

Heather Nicole said...

Hi Natalie: I use your site a bunch. Thank you for the good work.

I wrote some new words to the Darwall hymn tune for use on Palm Sunday. I'm sharing them for free on my blog. You are welcome to share them, too.


Craig Miller said...

Hi Natalie, Love your blog and use it regularly. Check out "He Came Riding on a Donkey"(1986) by Gordon Light in Voices United 124 for Palm/Passion Sunday. Our congregation loves this one. Easy to sing.

Kely Sara said...

Great, thank you so much

Darren Wright said...

Hey Natalie, do you have a copy of the Page CXVI holy week EP pdf music sheets? I can't find mine anywhere and its not on their website anymore.

Black Min said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lectionary Singer (Natalie Sims) said...

Unfortunately no Darren. Sorry. Let me know if you track down the website!