Monday, November 10, 2008

Songs for Adult and Infant Baptisms, confirmations and blessings

For anyone being baptised:
StJ / URW187 Water has held us (Postlethwaite) Good words based on the use of water in baptism, and images of water in creation, parting of the sea, washing and baptism, sung to the familiar tune BUNESSAN (Morning has broken). Highly recommended. Lyrics.
AoV1-074 Come To The Water (Andersen) I love the words to this, suitable for infant, child or adult baptism. Lyrics (scroll down to the comments page)
AoV1-158 Create a new heart Holy Lord / A new heart for a new world (O'Brien/Watts) Very simple melody, Good words. Also appropriate for confirmation.
AoV1-034 Create in me O Lord a heart that is pure / I'll Sing Your Song (Marshall) Good honest song. Simple to sing.
TiS 493 / UMH605 / VU442 / WoV697 / ELW445 / GtG490 / CP035 / Cha365 / ZSS191 Wash O God our sons and daughters / Wash us God your sons and daughters (Duck) A good hymn for the congregation to sing before or after a baptism. Sung to the familiar tune BEACH SPRING.
AoV1-005 Deep within my heart I feel / Galilee Song (Andersen) This one is quite nice. Chorus has this jubilant "So I leave my boats behind!" part.
ATW 432 Girl or boy big or small (Holmes) This would be good for a kids' song anytime we have a baptism. It will help them understand what’s going on.
AoV2-085 / MV115 Behold, behold, I Make All Things New, beginning with you and starting from today. A lovely energetic chant from John Bell. Would be great if your congregation gets to know the parts.
MV 157 I am a child of God, I am a glimpse of God’s new creation (Harding) This is a really lovely song, and very easy to learn. Probably just the first verse is good for a baptism.
Recorded music: Forever Young This song from Bob Dylan is a really beautiful blessing. Lyrics and a video of Joan Baez.
MV190 Laughter lit the stars of morning (Pedersen) Lovely lyrics and a simple waltz melody. Has lyrics for both infant and adult baptism or renewal of baptismal vows.
*URW106 Here at Jordan's river (Duck) baptism; jordan Sung to NOEL NOUVELET, this challenging song is just perfect for our congregation. I really love this. Great for Baptism of Christ or any baptism.
*MV135 Called by earth and sky (Mayberry) Gentle song about the blessings of water, air, soil and fire. While it doesn't explicitly mention baptism, it is really beautiful and would work well.
*MV117 By the well a thirsty woman (Stilborn) This is not specifically a baptism song, but it has lovely water imagery, and would work well on a baptism day. The tune will probably need to be taught.
ATOK 316 From the air and from the light (Mann)

For children and infants:
AoV2-144 We Welcome This Child (Kearney) "We welcome you, child, to our beautiful world, we give you the earth and the sea and the sky. We give you the sun and the moon and the stars. We welcome you, child, to the heart of our world." Lyrics (downloads a Word document)
AoV2-116 / CH633 / UMH611 / VU444 / AA11 Child Of Blessing Child Of Promise (Cole-Turner Witt) Excellent words to a familiar hymn tune. Lyrics.  
ATAR590 A child is born (Newton) Uplifting new words for a baptism, sung to the tune JERUSALEM. I am not a fan of the tune; the words would fit well to other standard hymn tunes as well if you would like to use them.
ATAR603 Warmly he embraced them / More than a sign (Mann) A good song of welcoming children; particularly appropriate for a day when there is a baptism. 
AoV2-125 / ATA 132 Lift this child to the sun (Anna's song) (Habel/Mann) I'm not wild about this, but everyone else likes it. Lyrics
Tune in II Child of God (Loukes) Elaine's new song is really good and would fit very well with our congregation. While it is still new, may be best to have the congregation sing only the first part, which is the most simple.
VU443 God we pray at this beginning (Redmond) Lovely balanced words to a familiar tune (ABBOT'S LEIGH).
SFFS 2233 This, this is where children belong (Ritchie) A simple song about the inclusion of children in the church. It would be great to sing this at a baptism.
Cha362 Filled with the Joy and Gladness (Merrick) Excellent words for baptism of an infant; quite formal. Sung to the very familiar tune O PERFECT LOVE
Here in this place Infant born of human love (Wiltshire) Simple baptism song for an infant. Suggested tune is CAPETOWN. Free sheet music.

Adult baptism
Iona Were I the perfect child of God (Bell) This lovely song to a simple Scottish folk tune talks about taking up the call of Christ in the midst of doubts and fears. "Then sprinkle water on my brow, as in this place I make my vow to own and love my Saviour now and give myself to Jesus". Lyrics (downloads a pdf) Youtube sample.
Cha368 I Come to Be Baptized Today (Adams) Good words and very familiar tune. Would be good if you have a group of people being baptised together. O WALY WALY
GtG164 / CP045 Down Galilee's slow roadways (Dunstan) Good words for adult baptism, or for any Sunday that reflects on Christ's baptism. 

Song for after baptism
Cha373 Be In Our Midst O Christ (Cartwright) Good for the end of a baptism of some adults, or confirmation, particularly of young adults; it's the same tune as "This is a day of new beginnings" so will be familiar to some congregations.

Presentation of Baptismal Candle: 
AoV1-053 / AoVK-82 Receive The Light of Christ (Marshall) Simple round "Receive the light of Christ, May (it) shine within our hears, May the Christ Light fill us with joy and peace". This could be really wonderful for the congregation to sing when the candles are being presented at the end of the baptism.
TiS 780 May light come into your eyes (Treagus) A simple benediction or blessing for someone leaving, or being baptised.
Taizé / MV164 Christe lux mundi (Taize) A slower, and very simple Taize chant. Only works in Latin. Sound samples, sheet music.

Aaronic blessings (or substitutes):
Also see multipurpose blessings below....
  • TiS 776(ii) / AHB 572 The Lord bless you and keep you (various tunes, traditional words) The Australian hymn books have two settings for the Aaronic blessing. I prefer tune (ii) rather than the chant version. Oldy-but-a-goody.
  • Iona (Love From Below) The Lord bless you and keep you The Iona community also have a very nice, but very tricky setting of the standard Aaronic blessing words. It’s more something you would ask your choir to sing, if you have one!
  • CH796 The Lord bless you and keep you (Mason) Standard words to a tune by Lowell Mason.
  • *AoV1-177 / GA441 May God Bless and keep you (Walker) Simple and inclusive Aaronic blessing that has words everyone can understand. I strongly suggest having a look at this one as an alternative to the standard Aaronic blessing.  
  • CH785 May god bless you (Aaronic blessing adapt) A nice alternative, and quite simple tune
  • *MV218 / GtG549 / STB315 May the love of the Lord / Wei yuan shen di ai (Choo / Lim) Lovely alternative words to a simple Chinese melody. It will need to be taught, but is not too hard.
  • Iona (SBL) / CH787 / PH596 / G(II)413 / GC589 / CP661 / URW445 May the Lord Mighty God (Wen-Ti) Many of these sources are quite masculine, but URW is very good. Sung to a traditional Chinese melody. Lyrics and lead sheet. Sound sample.
  • *AoVK-161 / GC(II)577 / G(3)675 May God bless and keep us (Haas) A nice simple and largely inclusive Aaronic blessing set to the familiar tune ADORE TE DEVOTE. Sound sample. Sheet music sample. Good for kids. New words to old tunes.
  •  NCYC07 The Lord bless you and keep you / Blessing (Burtenshaw) A nice new tune for the standard words of the Aaronic blessing. Worth a look. Will need to be taught to your congregation, but I can see this being a keeper for more contemporary congregations!
  • AoV2-089 / Taize / MV086 / SFFS 2156 Give peace to every heart / Da Pacem Cordium (Berthier) A good, simple Taize chant. Sound samples, sheet music (not cantor lines though). 
  • STB080 May the Lord gracious God bless and keep you forever / Yuan quan-neng zhu  shang-di (Loh) This is quite lovely, and when sung in two parts would be really special. You would need to teach it, or to have your musicians sing it often until the congregation get to know it; if the person being baptised is from a Mandarin-speaking family, that would be particularly nice.
Multipurpose Blessings (Baptisms, Farewells, Commissionings):
VU454 May God who creates you (Skibsted) A lovely blessing for a baptism, or a farewell. Lyrics (downloads a pdf).
ATW 494 For you deep stillness Mann/Perrin. This homegrown favourite is just excellent. Lyrics and mp3 sample
BUC Resource May the feet of many walk beside you (Robson) A beautiful, flowing blessing; much loved by our congregation, both for its beauty and for the person who wrote it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Overdose Awareness Day Song Suggestions

Every year at Brunswick Uniting Church, we have a service for Overdose Awareness Day. It's for those who have been affected by overdose; family and friends of those who have suffered fatal and non-fatal overdose, their supporters and those recovering from overdose themselves.

I've posted them in case other congregations are looking for resources for grief, lamentation and comfort and hope.

StS121 / FFS50 Nothing is lost on the breath of God (Colin Gibson). A beautiful song, easy to sing "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." Lyrics and free sheet music. Sound sample.
Taize Nothing can ever come between us and the love of God. A strong Christ-centric chant from Taize. Lyrics, sheet music and sound samples.
Taize In God alone my soul can find rest and peace. A beautiful healing chant from Taize. Lyrics, sheet music and sound samples.
Iona (Heaven Shall not Wait) / VU19 Kindle a flame to lighten the dark and take all fear away. A good chant to use if you will include candle lighting in the service. Sometimes a bit tricky to sing - there's a strangely large jump at the start.
Tune In: God's Mercy. A beautiful ballad of healing: "Like the sun upon my skin, I can smile and take it in, and my wounds begin to heal, that's God's mercy". Lyrics and sound sample.
MV 74 When painful mem'ries haunt each day / When painful memories haunt each day (Ruth Duck). I suggest singing it to the more familiar Celtic tune KINGSFOLD (TiS 262). "When painful mem'ries haunt each day and dreams disturb the night, when life is washed with shades of grey and phantoms fill our sight, Christ stay beside us and embrace the child who dwells within; come, Healer, touch or lives with grace; restore our lives again."
Iona (Love From Below) / CH734O Christ you wept when grief was raw. This is really a funeral song, for the death of a particular person but I have listed it anyway, so that you know about it. Lyrics
Iona (Enemy of Apathy): Sing my soul when hope is sleeping. "Sing, my soul, when hope is sleeping. Sing when faith gives way to fears; Sing to melt the ice of sadness Making way for joy through tears." Simple to sing.
TiS 638 / NCH175 / CH717 / UMH265 / LBW380 / ELW675 /HPPS380 O Christ the healer we have come. A song of prayer for healing for others. I prefer the tune in TiS (INVERCARRY). Lyrics. "From every ailment flesh endures our bodies clamor to be freed; yet in our hearts we would confess that wholeness is our deepest need."
NCH553 / UMH375 / VU612 / WoV737 / ELW614 / HPP379 / HPPS394 / G(II)460 / GC648 / GC(II)617 There is a Balm in Gilead. Some communities will find this song more helpful than others. Not sure if it will be so familiar and helpful to Australians as Americans, but I've listed it anyway.
TiS 690 / CH259 / StS115 Beauty for brokenness hope for despair (Kendrick) Themes of healing from personal and universal suffering and a rousing chorus. Lyrics.
AoV2-085 / Iona (T1AU) / MV115 Behold behold I Make All Things New (Bell) A nice hopeful upbeat short song. Lyrics (downloads a pdf)
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"

Monday, June 2, 2008

Lectionary Suggestions for June 8th 2008 (Proper 5A / Ordinary 10A / Pentecost +4)

Genesis 12:1-9:
Abram and Sarah’s travels and the promise of the future.
Iona / G(II)503 / GC701 / RS818 God it was who said to Abraham.... Familiar tune, words of Abraham, Sarah and others in salvation history. "God it was who said to Abraham "Pack your bags and travel on!".
ATOK403 / AoV(1)137 / GC(II)286 God of Abraham, lead us (Farrell)
ATOK402 God has chosen me
AT348 / HSNW / GC692 Sing Hey for the Carpenter (Iona)
NCYC95(?) We will love (We will walk with you at the edges)
NCYC07 Labyrinth (Chalson / Winton) A beautiful song about walking with God through all times. "To the heart of all that's sacred and to the margins we will walk the path with you". Excellent words. Not easy for a congregation, but if you have good musicians, they can sing it as a prayer for the congregation.
NCH 20 God of Abraham and Sarah – excellent words, straightforward tune. Salvation history in one song with a focus on Jusice, healing, courage. Fits well with all themes for this week. If you would like an alternative (well known) tune, NETTLETON works quite well and is just about every hymnal.
TiS 547 / AHB 455 / NCH451 / HPP353 / VU643 / HPPS339 Be thou my vision
TiS 125 / AHB 53 / NCH24 / HPP24 / GC544 / HPPS 488 The God of Abr’am praise (The lyrics are most inclusive in the NCH).
Tune in: Cover us with love. Challenging lyrics to listen, and see where God is leading us. Lyrics and sound sample available here.
Tune in: May you go well (into paths still unknown). Easy tune, and strong words. Would work well as a benediction. Lyrics and sound sample available here.
Taize: The kingdom of God is justice and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, come now and open in us the gates of your kingdom. One of the more upbeat Taize songs.
TiS 671 / AoV(2) 121 Made in God’s likeness. "called to create a new world for the Lord" Excellent Australian images.
TiS 569 / AHB 478 / NCH18 / HPP432 / VU651 / HPPS281 Guide, me, O thou great Jehovah

Psalm 33:1-12
Praise God. God is just. God created the earth, sea and heavens. Happy are those who trust in God.
TIS 742 One God, one living God. We've not sung this for a while at Brunswick.
Any song that praises God as creator. There are so many - some of the last few posts have listed some creator / cosmic praise songs.

Romans 4:13-25
The promise to Abraham came through his faith. Belief even in the face of impossibility.
SFFS 2196 / HPP489 / G(II)414 / GC590 / GC(II)583 We walk by faith, each step by faith.
ATOK 376 Faith, Hope and Love (Trisha Watts)
AOVK Give us courage (Trisha Watts)
TiS 691 Faith will not grow from words alone
SFFS 2235/TiS 666 / ATOK 409 / AoV(2)113 / NCH526 / HPP153 / G(II)357 / VU646 We are marching in the light of God (Siyahamba)
GC(II)651 Size Bambelela (Never Give Up). An excellent African chant. Would be fun to get a few singers together to sing the parts to this. Free sheet music (for non-profit use only) available from the World Council of Churches here. Sound sample from GIA publications here.

Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26
Jesus calls Matthew and dines with tax collectors and sinners. Healing of the centurion’s daughter and the bleeding woman.
TIS 693 Come as you are, that's how I want you
TIS 665 / VU 117 / Iona Jesus Christ is waiting
TIS 737 / Iona Lord Jesus Christ, lover of all
TiS 749 / ATE 305 / NCH 360 / HPP 340 / G(II)484 / VU572 / GC677 / GC(II)674 Send me Jesus (Thuma mina)
SFFS 2130 / ATOK 413 / HPP317 / G(II)510 / VU567 / GC700 / GC(II)687 Will you come and follow me (The Summons)
TiS 477 / Iona Jesus calls us here to meet him
ATA 200 / VU639 One more step along the world I go
TiS 638 / NCH175 / HPPS380 O Christ, the healer, we have come
Tune In: Invitation - “when we hear the invitation, will we lay our burdens down?”. A Cuban beat, and feminine God-imagery. Sound sample and lyrics here. Lyrics and sound sample available here.
Tune in: Jesus is waiting; hopeful song of Jesus calling us to bigger things. Lyrics and sound sample available here.
NCH 545: There was Jesus by the water. Paraphrase of the healing story. Would be good sung by a soloist – a storytelling song, not a congregational worship song, really.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Lectionary Suggestions for June 1st 2008 (Proper 4A / Ordinary 9A / Pentecost +3)

Genesis 6:9-22; 7:24; 8:14-19
The story of Noah
NCH 32 / HPP 32 / VU 229 / HPSS 272 God of the sparrow, God of the whale. This is a beautiful song, but I find the reference to creatures kind of odd. Works especially well this week with the lyric: “God of the rainbow, God of the cross, God of the empty grave”. I like to listen to this version from the River's Voice album Namaste.
TiS 668 / NCH 569 Touch the earth lightly, sings of the redemption of all creation.
Tune In: Tune in. A simple kid’s song. “Tune in, tune in, there’s a message coming in.” Encourages kids to look for signs of God’s love. Lyrics and sample available here.
Seeds of Faith: It’s a sign of God’s love. Not a congregational song – needs someone to sing this to the kids, really. Sample and lyrics available on this website.

Recorded Music: "Just look up" by Eric Bibb and Michael Jerome Browne. On Eric Bibb's album "Friends" and on Putumayo's "Folk Playground". "There's a rainbow waiting for you, just look up".
Recorded Music "Didn't it Rain" Mahalia Jackson. Just love this song!

Psalm 46
God our refuge and strength, even in the midst of disaster
TiS 103 / AHB 8 / NCH 439 / HPP 382 / VU 262 / GC 607 / HPPS 260 A mighty fortress is our God. The old versions are not gender inclusive for God, but the rest of the words are so ancient and poetic it doesn't bother me as much as some other hymns. The New Century Hymnal has excellent lyrics that are inclusive and have not lost their poetry.
NCH 408 All my hope on God is founded. The lyrics in the AHB and TiS (and most other hymnals) are not gender inclusive for God at all, and it’s hard to make one or two simple replacements. The lyrics in the New Century Hymnal are excellent and well worth using.
ATOK 311 / Iona / AOV(2)54 Be still and know that I am God (Iona)
ATW 496 / Come all you people (Iona) / AoV ?? Don’t be afraid, my love is stronger, my love is stronger than your fear – excellent parts for this simple song. Reminds me of a Billy Joel song. Sorry, that’s probably ruined it for some of you.
TiS 621 / VU 677 / GC(2) 717 O God of every nation. Excellent modern words “O God of every nation, of every race and land, redeem your whole creation with your almighty hand; where hate and fear divide us and bitter threats are hurled, in love and mercy guide us, and heal our strife-torn world”. Tune is not unfamiliar, but not well known by our congregation. Works quite well sung to Passion Chorale / O Sacred Head (TiS 339).
TIS 184 / Heaven Shall not wait When trouble strikes and fear takes root Good English folk melody. May be a little tricky if unfamiliar
TiS 262 When pain and terror strike by chance These excellent words may be particularly helpful given the recent disasters in Burma and China. Very familiar Irish folk tune.
Many and Great (Iona) / GC(2) 673 Stand, O Stand Firm: excellent call to be strong in faith. Fits well with the Romans reading also.
Linnea Good: Come and ponder everything. A quiet meditative chant of only these 4 words to be sung as a refrain to the reading over background music. Quite a different take on the psalm; would be good to provide some space in the worship service to include this. Could also use the 4 chants below in a similar manner - depending on the message you'd like to focus on.
TiS 737 / Heaven Shall Not Wait (Iona) Lord Jesus Christ, Lover of All.
TiS 747 / Taize / The Lord is my light, my light and salvation
Taize / TiS 739 / AoV2-041 / ATOK 404 / VU290 / GA269 / SFFS 2054 / G(II)451 / GC639 / GC(II)626 / CP568 / W&R421 Nada te turbe / Nothing Can Trouble
TiS 725 / Taize / In our darkness there is no darkness (La tenebre)
Tune In: Alive in Me “Quieten our minds so that we may hear the voice of love that will heal our fears”. Lyrics and sample available here.
Tune In: All will finish well “You, in all our worries, you offer peace”. Lyrics and sample available here.
Tune In: the God that I know. A ballad drawing on God’s strength and comfort. Lyrics and sample available here.

Romans 1:16-17; 3:22b-28, (29-31)
Not ashamed of the Gospel, Paul gets into a circuitous argument.
Justification by Faith
ATOK 376 Faith, hope and love: rocky little number from Trisha Watts.
TiS 671 Faith will not grow from words alone. Excellent inquisitive words to a standard hymn tune.
TiS 604 Make me a channel of your peace.
TiS 157 / AHB 103 / CH246 / A&M547 / PH297 / CP411 / CP(E) 263 O Lord of every shining constellation / Great God of every shining constellation (Bayly) Great words; the tune in the Australian hymnals (NORTHBROOK) is a little tricky. Note that AHB is masculine for all people, so look up other sources for inclusive language.

  • STB189 Why have you forsaken me? (Wallace) Quite formal and sorrowful words of Christ's sorrows, including his crucifixion and the death of Lazarus. Helpful. Set to a lovely Japanese melody - will need to be taught.



  • Matthew 7:21-29
    Not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom.
    "The wise man built his house upon the rock" Old kids action song. Search on google if you can't remember it. It's good for smaller kids; my 4 year old loves this song!
    TiS 578 / AHB 491 / NCH 407 / HPP248 How Firm a Foundation. Really masculine language, except, again for the New Century Hymnal. Use those words if you can.
    TiS 624 Christ be my leader by night as by day – Good celtic tune, excellent words.
    Heaven Shall not wait / VU 952 Through our lives and by our prayers, your kingdom come. A simple chant.
    Worldmaking: Ground and Source of all that is, one that anchors all our roots. This song is very beautiful and easy to sing. We’ve sung it a few times at Brunswick and it would be nice to sing it again. Listen to it, and read the lyrics here.
    GC(II)660: Deliver us, O Lord of truth (Stuempfle). Solid, challenging words of speaking carefully; specifically mentions this passage in the last verse. American folk tune.