In a modern Psalm (not scriptural quotation), Hillsong has created a beautiful prayer song—great for centering prayer and gathering together. It can be sung in a full band setting with the climax you would expect to see in an opening set, or it can be done acoustically with one guitar in a much more intimate fashion. The main consideration when singing a song like this is proceeding with the awareness that it is not a scriptural quotation, even though it might sound like one (We encountered this often in the midst of the CCLI Top 100 Project). However, the song is easy to sing, and it is most effective in the key of D.
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (NEW EBENEZER)
Taylor Burton-Edwards has created a new setting for this beloved hymn. It is full of energy and set in the perfect range for this song of praise. Accompany with a piano, organ, band, or any combination of instruments. Keep the tempo moving! If the key of C is too high for your congregation to sing the highest note, feel free to lower it, but not past the key of A. Otherwise, the lowest note will be too low, especially on such a vital word as “grace.” View and download "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (NEW EBENEZER)" »
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (NETTLETON)
A long-time favorite of many churches, this setting of Robert Robinson’s hymn text has its origins in the folk hymn tunes of the nineteenth century. One of its best characteristics is its ability to relate to congregations of all ages, nations, and races. Whether accompanied by organ, piano, or worship band, the melody is very accessible, and its motivic quality and interesting contours make it both fun to sing and memorable. Make sure the tempo never lags behind. The phrases of this tune call for intensity to reflect the praise in the text. In our hymnal, the setting is in E-flat, but it could also work in either D or E. If transitioning to “Blest Are They” as suggested in the worship order, keep it in E-flat, which will transition easily to A-flat in the next song.
Blest Are They
David Haas has written what has become for many the standard of hymns on the Beatitudes with his paraphrase of Matthew 5:3-12. Even though this is found in The Faith We Sing, the accompaniment and SAB parts in Haas’ choral setting of this from GIA Publications, embody the spirit of the text so well that it will be well worth the investment in the music. Allowing the congregation to have access to the printed music can be helpful with this selection because the rhythms differ from stanza to stanza because of the irregular meter of the text. As with many hymns of this contemporary folk genre, supplement the piano part with a guitar and some light percussion. See the note above with “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing (NETTLETON)” for a comment on the key and the transition between songs. Read History of Hymns: "Blest Are They" »
We Would See Jesus
Our recommendation with the use of this resource this week is to speak the words of stanza 3 while the instruments accompany underneath. The use of a folk ensemble (guitars, mandolin, fiddle, etc.) can go a long way in helping this become a heart song of the congregation. Read History of Hymns: "We Would See Jesus" »
Cuando el Pobre
Whereas the Beatitudes point toward the paradoxical nature of God’s reign, another expression of this can be found in the hymn, “Cuando el Pobre.” Living within the tension of these paradoxes are those who have nothing, yet share with strangers. Here is where God is found. This hymn is a ballad that can be easily accompanied by piano, organ, or guitar, with preference on guitar or another string instrument. If you choose to sing the entire hymn and have the congregation sing in Spanish, it might be wise to alternate between English stanzas and the chorus in Spanish if they are unfamiliar with this hymn. No matter how it is sung, keep it stark and simple, and allow the words to stand on their own with minimal accompaniment. In the recommendation of this service, use the refrain only as a beautiful response within the Prayers of the People, and the prayers will come alive. In addition, it will be a great way to teach the song. Read History of Hymns: "Cuando el Pobre" »
Oh, How Good It Is
This modern hymn contains allusions to the Beatitudes Scripture of Matthew 5, when we see the paradoxes of rejoicing/mourning, weak/strength, and affliction/grace. If you are familiar with the Getty/Townend song, “Across the Lands” (Worship & Song, 3032), the overall character of this hymn is very similar. The 6/8 meter gives it a boisterous quality that is a morale booster within a singing congregation, and its very nature, when learned by the gathered people, lends toward spirited singing. The best instrumental support would be an acoustic band with guitar, bass, and percussion. Have a choir sing in four-part harmony (found on the “vocal sheet” on the CCLI website), or a praise team sing in three-part harmony. The ideal key is C or D, depending on the comfortable singing range of your church.
Other Suggested Hymns for The Great Invitation, Week 4:
“The Beatitudes” (As scripture reading) Songs from Taizé, 99
“More Like You” TFWS 2167
“Oh, Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit” GIA Publications 1985 (OneLicense or LicenSing necessary for reproduction)
“Bring Forth the Kingdom” TFWS 2190
“We Utter Our Cry” UMH 439
“You Who Are Thirsty” TFWS 2132
“Build Your Kingdom Here” CCLI # 6186078 (Rend Collective: See cautions here)
“We Will Wait” Eucharist Church, Hamilton ON (recording here; lyrics here) (intercessions)