Songs, Hymns and Music for Proper 21B / Ordinary 26B / Pentecost +20 (September 26 2021)

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22  
Bits of the story of Esther saving her people. See also the suggestions for the Psalm below
  • Online Resource Perhaps you have come to the place where you are for just such a time as this (Unknown) A very simple and inspiring round. Thanks to Leah Fowler for this suggestion. Video. Good for kids.
  • Online Resource Dare to live the dream God gives you (David Bjorlin) Words of encouragement and strength, set to the very common hymn tune HOLY MANNA. Book available for purchase and download here. New words to old tunes. 
  • Online resource Esther was a She-ro! (Darlene Conner) This is a kid's song, and I'm not wild about the verses (e.g. Esther wasn't a girl, she was a woman!!), but I like the idea of the chorus. I think it would work really well to use the chorus during the children's talk as a call and response to keep the children focused. Sheet music, lyrics and sound sample. Good for kids. 
  • ATAR684 Who am I? (Anon) A good song for kids about all the different people called by God. Mentions Moses, Jonah, Esther and Jesus. Good for kids.  
  • ATA 200 / CH530 / VU639 / A&M757 / CP(E) 548 / URW109 / StF476 One more step along the world I go (Sydney Carter) A good fun kid's song from Sydney Carter which many of their parents will remember. "And it's from the old I travel to the new, keep me travelling along with you". Lyrics and sound samples Good for kids.
  • Iona (M&G, T1AU) / MV099 / GC(II)673 / G(3)763 / Lau996 Stand O Stand Firm (Cameroon) I love having an excuse to sing this simple and powerful song. Very easy for your congregation. You can make up cantor parts too “Oh my sisters…. Oh my brothers… Oh my children….” or you can name countries you are praying for in your intercessions. Good for kids. Scottish sound sample. Lead sheet.
  • TiS 611 / AHB 543 / NCH436 / UMH577 / VU686 / LBW415 / ELW705 / A&M648 / HPP456 / PH420 / GtG307 / CP577 / CP(E) 448 / W&R569 / Cha464 / 82Hml-594 / StF682 / MP192 God of Grace and God of Glory (Harry 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: “Grant us wisdom, Grant us courage, for the facing of this hour”. I know best the tune AHB 543 (ii) RHUDDLAN, but someone in our congregation told me off for choosing the "wrong tune" last time I chose it... *sigh*. One version of the lyrics. New words to old tunes
  • Online Resource / Tune in A vision strong (Shawn Whelan) A rock song about being strong in vision and courage, including an optional verse about women's empowerment. Lyrics, sound sample and free downloadable songbook. Good for older kids. 
  • Iona (One is the body) There is a line of women (John Bell) Eve, Sarah, Tamar, Mary, Shiprah, Rahab, Esther, Martha, are all mentioned in this song. You might need to run a Bible study group to satisfy everyone's curiosity after singing this... Video.
Psalm 124
Strength in the face of oppression.
  • Online Resource / Tune in You in all our worries / All will finish well (Dave Brown) “In this world where injustice reigns, you are in the midst of pain”. Excellent words of reassurance in a difficult world. Lyrics, sound sample and free downloadable songbook
  • NCH Psalter 124 Our help is in the name of God (Jane Marshall) Simple refrain and good paraphrase of the Psalm for a cantor, chanting, or to be read with a response. 
  • Online Resource / Tune In Come O God and visit us sick we pray / Your abundant life (Dave Brown) A joyful song "Lead us into your abundant life". This has been sung frequently by the musicians at BUC, but not by the congregation. Lyrics, sound sample and free downloadable songbook.
  • TiS 123 / AHB 48 / NCH488 / CH691 / UMH534 / VU652 / A&M594 / GtG819 / CP(E) 384 / W&R451 / Cha 566 / Src69 / Lau780 Be still my soul (Katharina von Schlegel) Sometimes this can be a bit mushy, but the words are really very strong and helpful. Lyrics and sheet musicOldy-but-a-goody. 
  • Public Domain Freedom is a constant struggle I love this song and I think it might work with this reading. Could be good used during prayers of confession or a time of lament; it doesn't have a happy ending. Historic sound sample.
  • AoV2-149 / NCH570 / UMH533 / HPP311 / GtG379 / G(II)522 / GC724 / GC(II)711 / G(3)817 / W&R512 / Cha630 / ZSS106 We shall overcome (Zilphia Horton / Frank Hamilton / Guy Carawan / Pete Seeger) Particularly good if your congregation is facing struggle. Other songs from the Civil Rights era would also fit well with this Psalm. Here's the sound of Martin Luther King Jr talking about the power of this song.  Oldy-but-a-goody.
  • NCH497 / SFFS 2208 / GtG741 / PH354 / G(II)508 / GC707 / GC(II)684 G(3)780 / CP513 / ZSS141 Guide my feet while I run this race (African-American Spiritual) Another  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.You could also make up your own lyrics. Lyrics. Good for kids.  
  • ATW 463 / Iona (T1AU) / ELW721 / SFFS 2219 / A&M835 / GtG750 / GC(II)451 / G(3)528 / W&R296 / URW436 Goodness is stronger than evil (Desmond Tutu) 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. Good for kids.
  • Unknown Source Blessed Be God (Linnea Good) This will need to be taught, but won't be too hard. Get one part of the congregation on the chant part (God before me….) while the others sing the top part, and then add in other parts as you are able. We have a copy of this at church, I believe.
Alternative Hebrew Scripture: Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29
The Israelites are sick of Manna; Moses is sick of the Israelites' grumbling! God institutes 70 Elders so that Moses is not bearing everything alone.
  • W&R584 / Cha454 Come Celebrate the Call of God (Brian Wren) Good words to a lilting intuitive tune. This song is written to recognise a commissioning or the gift of a particular person's call. Lyrics and sheet music sample. 
  • GGives1 Oh a body can't walk on its nose (Emmanuel Covenant Community) Great little song about being part of the body and working together. Chorus is "Oh I can't do without you and you can't do without me, 'cos each little member has a special work to do, to make the body grow". Lyrics. Good for kids. 
  • SgTJ1020 We are going / Woyaya (Ghanaian) A simple song about walking together no matter what the future holds, and trusting in God. Sound sample
  • SFFS 2175 / GtG767 Together We Serve (Daniel Damon) Good hymn about service, sung to a very straightforward tune. Lyrics and sheet music
Psalm for the Numbers reading: Psalm 19:7-14  
Cosmic praise. God's laws are perfect; God's commands are sweeter than honey;
  • TiS 187 / AoV2-130 / CH149 / StS122 / A&M539 / SP247 Let all creation dance (Brian Wren) I just love the imagery of this one, and it's a very joyous and familiar hymn tune too. Lyrics New words to old tunes
  • CH172 / URW062 / StF116 Sing for God’s glory that colours the dawn of creation (Kathy 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. New words to old tunes
  • PfAS019C Through the witness of creation / Lord You Have the Words (Gregg DeMey or Dohms) Two possible refrains to a chanted, read or cantored Psalm. The first (DeMey) is a lovely lilting refrain. I think this is really nice; be sure to lead it clearly or teach the congregation during the service. The second (Dohms) is simpler, and can be used as a round. 
  • MV31 Pure love (Linnea Good) 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. Lyrics. Good for kids.
  • Emergent Psalter The heavens declare (Isaac Everett) A simple and quite good Psalm refrain. Everett also suggests using: ATA 117 By the rivers of Babylon (Frank Farian, George Reyan, Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton) as a refrain for this Psalm. This is the Boney M version. It's not really very mournful. I can't resist though... here's a video. It was originally recorded by The Melodians. Sheet music (refrain only). Good for kids
  • TiS 156 / AHB 91 / AoV1-135 / ATA 123 / CH212 / UMH145 / VU409 / ELW556 / GA537 / A&M545 / HPP267 / GtG664 / PH469 / G(II)546 / GC756 / GC(II)748 / G(3)855 / CP003 / W&R35 / Cha053 / URW186 / 82Hml-008 / StF136 / Lau671 / MP467 Morning has broken (Eleanor Farjeon) This song makes me smile every time. Here's Yusuf Islam (when he was Cat Stevens) in 1976 (love those green boots). Oldy-but-a-goody.
  • 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 163 / AHB 112 / NCH556 / UMH150 / LBW463 / ELW771 / GtG024  / PH268 / W&R644 / Cha651 / URW084 / 82Hml-580 God who stretched the spangled heavens (Catherine Cameron) Good words of creation of nature and cities and creative possibilities for the future. TiS and other more modern sources are more inclusive. There are many possible tunes. I like it best to HOLY MANNA as in the link. Lyrics and sound sample. New words to old tunes
  • TiS 7 The sky tells the glory of God (Howard 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. Sound sample. Good for kids.
  • Online Resource / AoVK-50 / ATW 430 / NCYC'99 Come let us praise our God / A voice is heard (Trisha Watts) Excellent and energetic. Lyrics. Sound sample. Good for kids.
  • AoVK-113 Thank you O Lord for this world of ours I like this kid's song. Really fun and interesting with two parts! Good for kids. 
  • HPP28 / GtG023 / PH285 / W&R24 / URW083 God You Spin the Whirling Planets (Jane Parker Huber) Excellent words to a very familiar tune (TiS 772). Really good for the final hymn or response to the sermon. Lyrics. New words to old tunes
  • AoV1-003 / HPP258 / GA394 / G(II)342 / GC497 / GC(II)495 / G(3)576 / Lau693 / StF803 / MP648 The heavens are telling the glory of God / Canticle of the Sun (Marty 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.
  • Online Resource As rivers flow from a distant spring (David Bjorlin / William Beckstrand) Beautiful words using imagery of creation to inspire us to lives based in God's love that care for others, including the earth. Sound sample. Book available to purchase and download here
  • ATW 462 When I consider God's design / Hand in hand (Robin Mann / Norman Habel) Good words of all creation celebrating together. Tune is good, too. Lyrics.
  • Online Resource The Heavens Tell of Your Creative Glory / Los Cielos Cuentan la Gloria de Diosome (Horacio Vivares transl. David Bjorlin) An excellent folk song. Best for Spanish-speaking congregations, but works in English too. Sound sample. Songbook for purchase
  • TiS 166 / AHB 102 / GA398 / StB035 Sing a new song sing a new song (James McAuley) Excellent inclusive words. The last verse annoys me a bit, but the rest is excellent. Lyrics.  
  • AoV1-019 / CH151 / GA397 / G(II)340 / GC493 / GC(II)498 / G(3)575 / W&R39 All You Works of God (Marty 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. Lead sheet. Sound sample.  
  • VU888 / LBW558 / ELW731 / GtG026 / PH458 / RS681 / CP358 / W&R642 Earth and All Stars (Herbert Brokering) Fun words of the universe united in praise. An easy hymn-like tune. I really like the "boiling test tubes" bit, although this verse is not in all hymnals. Lead sheet. Sound sample
  • ELW561 / G(II)552 / GC762 / PfAS1040 / Lau12a Joyous Light of Heavenly Glory (Marty Haugen) Excellent words of light and darkness, sung to a simple hymn tune. Sheet music sample.
James 5:13-20
Persistence in prayer; healing; bringing back the wanderer
  • ATAR680 / Online Resource May our lives and our prayers be one (Paul Somerville) Our congregation is loving this right now. Excellent words about the nature of prayer, and how it changes our lives. An excellent song to sing before prayers of the people. You could also use the chorus on its own. Video
  • ATN 18 / NCH552 From the crush of wealth and power (Kendyl Gibbons) Good words about stepping out with courage to help those in pain and "bind all their wounds again". Well known tune (BRIDEGROOM).  Lyrics.
  • TiS 569 / AHB 478 / NCH18/19 / CH167 / UMH127 / VU651 / LBW343 / ELW618 / StF465 / A&M652 / HPP432 / GtG065 / PH281 / CP565 / CP(E) 455 / W&R501 / Cha622 / 82Hml690 / StF465 / Lau960 / MP201 Guide me O thou great Jehovah / Redeemer (William Williams) A rousing hymn of God’s presence and strength and making it to the other side. "Bread of heaven, feed me now and evermore." Lyrics and sheet music. Oldy-but-a-goody.
  •  VU870 /  CP419 /  W&R25  / URW069 Let all creation bless the Lord (Carl Daw) A very majestic hymn (the to tune MIT FREUDEN ZART). A good opening hymn.  Lyrics & sheet music. New words to old tunes 
  • TiS 689 / ATE 286 / GtB Lord hear my praying, listen to me / Sorrowing song (Robin Mann) Powerful words of prayer to a simple tune. Words are straightforward about asking difficult questions of God. Lyrics (loads a pdf). Sound sample. This song will work for next week as well, so now is a good time to introduce it. 
  • GC(II)554 / G(3)664 Lord hear our prayer (Liam Lawton) A very simple prayer response. Good if you'd like an alternative to the Taize "O Lord hear my prayer". Could be used as a response during intercessory prayers. Lead sheet. Sound sample (is that an accordion?).
  • Taizé / TiS 741 / AoV1-017 / ATE 282 / LBW368 / ELW407 / GA431 / SFFS 2200 / GtG471 / G(II)410 / GC586 / GC(II)566 / G(3)666 / W&R484 / Srce519 / URW390 / Lau929 / PfAS013A / PfAS102A / MP908 O Lord hear my prayer (Jacques Berthier) A simple and very well known Taizé chant. Works well during intercessions. Sheet music samples. Good for kids   
  • TiS 590 / AHB 165 / AoVK-117 / NCH506 / UMH526 / VU663 / LBW439 / ELW742 / HPP408 / GtG465 / PH403 / CP532 / W&R473 / Cha585 / Srce 776 / StF531 / MP746 What a Friend we have in Jesus (Joseph Scriven) There is a bit of masculine language, but the song has so many other good things about it. I like both tunes. AOVK has different lyrics, written specifically for kids, which I think are worth singing. Here's Aretha singing it! Good for kids. Oldy-but-a-goody.  
  • Iona (LFB) / Lau930 Listen Lord (John Bell) Beautiful chant-like chorus, can be used on its own or as a response, or used with the verses. Good to use for the intercessions. Youtube (slow).
Mark 9:38-50
There is way too much in this passage: cutting off the things that make you mess up, whoever is not against us is for us, saltiness.
  • ATFG561 / Online Resource / Tune In: Part of a fam'ly interconnected / Community (Dave Brown) A song about being welcomed and how to work together as part of a community. "Part of a family interconnected, this is community; Welcoming strangers, visiting neighbours, this gives us dignity". Very singable song about building community. Good for kids. A big favourite at Brunswick Uniting.Lyrics, sound sample and free downloadable songbook.
  • FFS22 Gentle is the way of Jesus (Shirley Murray) Good words about the victory of gentleness over selfishness. A nice tune too, which should be picked up quite quickly. Lyrics, and an alternate tune which is pretty groovy.  
  • AoVNG52 / MV209 / GC(II)664 / G(3)775 / SP&P199 Go Make a Difference (Steve Angrisano) Groovy sending out song. "We are the salt of the earth, called to let the people see the love of God for you and me" Sound samples on this page. Lyrics. Good for kids & teenagers.
  • VU361 / AA123 Small things count (Shirley Murray) Good simple song. Good for kids
  • TiS 686 / ATE 292 Lord Jesus we belong to you / Because we bear your name (Robin Mann) Excellent practical lyrics about living a Christian life. Lyrics
  • TiS 414 / CH616 / UMH192 / VU582 / HPP134 / PH433 / GC550 / CP(E) 198 / Cha257 / StF398 There's a Spirit in the Air (Brian Wren) A good song of getting the business of following Christ done. Speaking out, caring for others, being changed. Good, joyful tune too. Lyrics and sheet music. 
  • AoV2-004 / NCH181 / GA478 / G(II)468 / GC658 / GC(II)640 / G(3)734 / Lau854 You are a salt for the earth O People / Bring forth the kingdom (Marty Haugen) Joyful song. "Bring forth the reign of justice, bring forth the reign of peace...". Sheet music. Sound sample. 
  • Online Resource / Tune in: May you go well into paths still unknown (Dave Brown) Mostly easy tune, and strong words. Would work well as a benediction.Lyrics, sound sample and free downloadable songbook.
What ideas do you have? If you have some suggestions for any of the above readings, please join the conversation and post them in the comments below. I'd love to know what you're singing (or would like to sing...)    


Unknown said...

There is a wonderful round that goes with the Esther text. It's in my ears but I cannot place the composer anywhere on the internet. Perhaps one of you could help me find it!

Line 1: "Perhaps you have come to the place where you are for just such a time as this! (repeat)

Line 2: Speak out! Don't keep silent! Be true to God. (repeat)

Leah Fowler

Judy Redman said...

You mention "Who am I?" in the Esther songs. Linnea Good has a Youtube of it with lyrics and visuals that could well appeal to kids here:

She also has a straight audio with a pic from the cover of the album she's recorded it on here:

Unknown said...

A song that just seems so suitable for the gospel reading this week, a song for our time, and a favourite in our congregation is Paul Sommerville's 'In my Father's house'. It includes lines like, 'The strong and the scared come, from left and right. We're not so different, seen in this light.'

David Castles said...

"Just a cup of water" by Felicia Edgecombe fits the Mark reading well. It can be found in Alleluia Aotearoa 83 and Servant Songs 16.

Darren Wright said...

The Lioness song by Rachel kurtz from last week would also be a corker to play alongside Esther...

Allie said...

I have relatively recently taken over the (somewhat daunting!) task of choosing hymns for my church. I find your hymn suggestions and the accompanying comments so helpful. Many thanks.