Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Songs and Music to Lament the Mass Murder in Orlando

I wish I didn't have to write this entry, because I wish this had not happened. I know that many faith communities, particularly those who welcome LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex) people will be in mourning this week and may be looking for a song to sing to give voice to their grief, express their anger, and provide comfort. 

Although I am based in Australia, this blog is also read by a lot of communities in the USA who continue to mourn the ongoing loss of life that they witness from gun violence. My prayers are with you as I write this. 
  • Online Resource Let speeches fall silent (Tice) These words are excellent - and express the need for confession by the church and our society for an environment that made this act possible. Sung to the familiar tune COLUMCILLE this will be immediately singable. Lyrics and sheet music.
Songs to lament the deaths of many
  • W&R632 / Cha512 When Aimless Violence Takes Those We Love (Patterson) Excellent words sung to the well known tune SURSUM CORDA. Lyrics. 
  • MV179 People / Sisters let us walk together (Snowdon) A mournful (but still hopeful) song, that can be sung as 3 verses or as a round, written for a worship service to honour women killed in the Montreal Massacre of 1989. You can change the words to "People let us walk together" if the focus is not particularly on violence against women. 
  • FFS05 Be their names remembered (Murray/Jillian Bray) Simple chant, good for singing in response to a list of names of those who have died (e.g. catastrophe, ANZAC day). "Be their names remembered in the heart of God".
  • ATAR606 / StS121 / FFS50 Nothing is lost on the breath of God (Colin Gibson) A beautiful song and very easy to sing even if new. "Nothing is lost on the breath of God, nothing is lost for ever; God's breath is love, and that love will remain, holding the world for ever. No feather too light, no hair too fine, no flower too brief in its glory; no drop in the ocean, no dust in the air, but is counted and told in God's story." Words and full sheet music. Sound sample.
  • 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 particular 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).
  • 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; the church as a whole needs to ask forgiveness for the way it has closed its doors to LGBTQI people, and pray for a new way forward. Lyrics, sound sample and songbook. 
  • 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. 
  • Brunswick Uniting Song Project Why do we listen and fail to hear / Lament - for a people with a people with a dulled heart (Whelan) This lament, and its wailing ooooh would provide a good opportunity to reflect on how such a thing could happen, and why it's so difficult to make changes to prevent it happening again "We have turned away and our hearts have grown cold, heal us, help us to grieve".  Good for kids 
Songs for LGBTQI inclusion
  • AoVNG1 / CH685 / FFS17 / GtG769 / G(3)812 / W&R617 For everyone born / A place at the table (Murray) Words of welcome and change to everyone regardless of sex, age, sexuality. There are three possible tunes. The Lori True tune is the most common. I like the Colin Gibson tune in FFS (and on the Hope Publishing website that follows). Use whatever you have! This song is good for a service when communion is celebrated, but it makes sense without communion, too. There is also an optional verse: "For gay and for straight...." Lyrics & sheet music.
  • Online Resource / Rise Up Singing Songbook We are a gentle angry people (Near) I thought the time to sing this song had passed, but I guess not. Lyrics & Chords. Sound sample
  • Online Resource For all the children (David Lohman) A beautifully hopeful hymn. Sheet music for purchase a lead sheet, and a very sincere Youtube video. "O, may our hearts and minds be opened, fling the church doors open wide. May there be room enough for everyone inside. For in God there is a welcome, in God we all belong; may that welcome be our song.
  • Online Resource Believe out loud (David Lohman) So, this is not much of a congregational song, it's more like a show tune, and could be sung with a soloist and get the congregation to join in on the joyful chorus. Sound sample, sheet music sample and purchasing options
  • MV 145 / CP418 / SP&P123 Draw the circle wide (Light) A great song about welcoming all people; it doesn't focus on LGBTQI people, but I think the image of "no-one stands alone" is really helpful in this instance. Chorus is “Draw the circle wide, draw it wider still. Let this be our song, no-one stands alone, standing side by side, draw the circle wide”.
Songs against gun violence
  • Online Resource Give us a well of tears (Crider) Sung to the familiar tune TRENTHAM, this song was written after the murders in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2015. They do not specifically refer to that event and could be helpful for this occasion too. Sheet music.
I'm sure there are many more songs that could be added. Please add your suggestions in the comments.

8 comments:

Julie Holm said...

World Peace Prayer - Marty Haugen
We Shall not Give up the Fight (from Freedom is Coming)
Some older ones - God of Grace and God of Glory (Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore)
To Us All to Every Nation - for Americans making commitments to support of the LGBT Community

Sandy Boyce said...

Carolyn Winfrey Gillette has written a new song specifically for Orlando, http://www.carolynshymns.com/to_a_place_of_celebration.html

To a Place of Celebration
EBENEZER 8.7.8.7 D ("Why Do Nations Rage Together")
To a place of celebration filled with laughter, dancing, joy,
Came such violent devastation — one man's efforts to destroy.
God, we grieve for loved ones taken; we lament, "What can we do?"
Now, we're feeling lost and shaken; heal our nation! Make us new!

Weapons kill — and so does silence; hear our prayer as we confess:
We have given in to violence, we have bowed to hopelessness.
God, we've lost our sense of vision of a world where there will be
Plowshares made from violent weapons, justice in society.

Give our leaders strength for action, give them minds to mend our flaws,
Give them courage and compassion, and the will to change our laws.
May we work for legislation that will curb guns' awful toll.
God, renew our dedication to a world that's just and whole.

Give us love to change our vision; give us love to cast out fear.
Give us love to speak with wisdom — love to work for justice here.
Give us love to welcome difference — love no hatred can destroy.
Only love can stop the violence; only love will bring back joy.

Shawn Whelan said...

Thanks for these! I'd add: Lord Jesus Christ, lover of all.

Also note in Lament (Why do we listen and fail to hear), the quoted lyric should be "We have turned away, and our heart has grown dull".

Worldmaking42 said...

Wonderful and helpful list. Thanks, Natalie!

I'd suggest also:
"Whole and Holy, Called in Christ": http://www.worldmaking.net/whole-and-holy.php

"In the One Big Heart" (Psalm 117): http://www.psalmimmersion.com/#!psalm-117/c1e5h

"When We Are Afraid (Psalm 56): http://www.psalmimmersion.com/#!when-we-are-afraid/goeea

"We Lift Our Eyes to You (Psalm 123): http://www.psalmimmersion.com/#!we-lift-our-eyes-to-you/cek4

"Love Stands With" (Psalm 109) (Not as congregational as the others): http://www.psalmimmersion.com/#!love-stands-with/crfa

Worldmaking42 said...

Wonderful and helpful list. Thanks, Natalie!

I'd suggest also:
"Whole and Holy, Called in Christ": http://www.worldmaking.net/whole-and-holy.php

"In the One Big Heart" (Psalm 117): http://www.psalmimmersion.com/#!psalm-117/c1e5h

"When We Are Afraid (Psalm 56): http://www.psalmimmersion.com/#!when-we-are-afraid/goeea

"We Lift Our Eyes to You (Psalm 123): http://www.psalmimmersion.com/#!we-lift-our-eyes-to-you/cek4

"Love Stands With" (Psalm 109) (Not as congregational as the others): http://www.psalmimmersion.com/#!love-stands-with/crfa

kimiko karpoff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kimiko karpoff said...

Thanks for this. Here's a couple of more suggestions:

There is a Time by Carolyn McDade. MV 165.

Let Me Be Your Light by Christopher Grundy (free right now!)
https://soundcloud.com/christopher-grundy/let-me-be-your-light-isaiah-49

kimiko karpoff said...

One more suggestion: We Shall Go Out with Hope of Resurrection VU 586