August 2018 Post-Pentecost Worship Planning Series

Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost 2018, Year B

Today is the continuation of the new four-week series. Paul’s writing asserts that Christians are created to live in community with one another. This requires a certain level of spiritual maturity that we can reach only when we act toward one another in the spirit of Christian love. Each week, we will focus on the text and how Paul instructs us to act. This second week, we are called to “Live in Love.”

LIVE ...In Love Worship Series, week 2
August 12, 2018

The following selections are congregational songs (most of which are chosen from this week’s Hymn Suggestions) with notes on key, tempo, and instrumentation, along with some practical and creative considerations in singing.

There’s a Spirit of Love in This Place

Source: Worship & Song, 3148
Recommended Key: E
Tempo: 60-64 bpm
Instrumentation: Piano, organ, band, or rhythm section
Notes: This song by Mark Miller would make a great theme song for the entire “...In Love” series. Singing this work would be fitting at any point during the worship service, but it would be especially poignant as the last song of an opening worship set to put the language of love and peace on the mouths of the gathered community near the beginning of the service.
Resources: There's a Spirit of Love in This Place Hymn Study »

They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love

Source: The Faith We Sing, 2223
Recommended Key: Em–Fm
Tempo: 92-136 bpm (quarter note)
Instrumentation: Organ, piano, solo guitar, strings, or any band ensemble (rock, jazz, etc.)
Notes: Another option for a theme song for the series, I would wager this is one of the most widely sung works across worship styles throughout the church. The unity expressed in the text and the immediately recognizable tune make this a congregational favorite, even across generational lines. As indicated in the tempo suggestion above, it is possible to sing this in a variety of ways, whether slow or fast, and across genres. Experiment with the accompaniment, and be encouraged to sing boldly!

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

Source: The United Methodist Hymnal, 384
Tempo: Varies, depending on tune
Instrumentation: Organ, piano, instrumental ensemble
Notes: “Love Divine” is a classic example of Wesleyan hymnody that embraces the Methodist spirit. The stanzas of this hymn included in The United Methodist Hymnal outline the Wesleyan way of salvation, highlighting prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying grace, and the dramatic conclusion of Christian perfection (“Lost in wonder, love, and praise”). Although BEECHER is the tune provided, many congregations sing this hymn to different tunes, with the most prominent alternate setting being HYFRYDOL. Other 87.87 D tunes will work, and it may depend on the dynamic of worship in your setting. Sing this hymn often, and claim it as a vital part of the identity of Methodism!
Resources: History of Hymns: "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling" »
View and Download the FUSION tune by Jackson W. Henry »
View and Download a simplified accompaniment »

O How He Loves You and Me

Source: The Faith We Sing, 2108
Recommended Key: A
Tempo: 76-80 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ, piano, guitar, or band
Notes: This hymn is characterized by long, lyrical phrases that yearn to be savored. Therefore, be sure not to sing too quickly. In this case, the tempo can be a vital part of creating an atmosphere of reverence and solemnity. Each phrase should be shaped within the arc of the entire stanza (meaning, the climactic phrase is the third phrase, so the first and second phrases should dynamically lead to that point). This hymn is appropriate for Holy Week or any time there is a focus upon the love of Jesus Christ.

Take My Life, and Let It Be

Source: The United Methodist Hymnal, 399
Recommended Key: F
Tempo: 92-96 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ or piano
Notes: Many congregations will be familiar with this hymn, which speaks of offering our lives to God. The primary concern for congregational singing here is to make sure a tempo is chosen in which the average congregation member can sing four measures in one breath. Dividing into two-measure phrases makes the melody too choppy, which can become a hindrance to the musical line. The text is dramatic, as shown in this progression of offerings to God:

  • Take my life
  • Take my moments and my days
  • Take my hands
  • Take my feet
  • Take my voice
  • Take my lips
  • Take my silver and my gold
  • Take my intellect
  • Take my will
  • Take my heart
  • Take my love
  • Take myself

These offerings very closely resemble the sentiment of the “Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition,” which begins, “I am no longer my own, but thine.”

Resources: History of Hymns: "Take My Life, and Let It Be" »
View and download the Take My Life, and Let it Be Lead Sheet »

Woke Up This Morning

Source: Songs of Zion, 146; The Faith We Sing, 2082
Recommended Key: F
Tempo: 104-110 bpm
Instrumentation: a cappella; piano, if needed
Notes: Since this song is a spiritual, the ideal setting is for a congregation to sing a cappella, but an improvised piano accompaniment may also be fitting for some contexts. “Living in love” is a theme that is especially prominent in stanzas after the first: “Can’t hate your neighbor,” “Makes you love everybody,” etc. Insert claps on beats 2 and 4 only.

I Love You, Lord

Source: The Faith We Sing, 2068; Zion Still Sings, 40
Recommended Key: F
Tempo: 66-70 bpm
Instrumentation: Piano, guitar, band, or organ
Notes: “I Love You, Lord” is a classic example of praise and worship music from the 1970s, and this song has enough staying power to be relevant today as a song of prayer and devotion. The song leader might be tempted to close her/his eyes as this is sung, but I encourage giving attention to visually connecting with the congregation, especially to help cue breaths and entrances after such long notes in this slow tempo.

This Is Living

Source: CCLI #7032393
Recommended Key:
Tempo: 120 (eighth note)
Instrumentation: Band, guitar, or piano
Notes: This modern song from Hillsong points toward emotions that often follow what we refer to as regeneration, or the new birth. The result is a new way of living. Although this work might not be the best choice for a congregational song, it might be a great option for a young soloist or ensemble. The primary reason I have included a tempo based upon an eighth note is because the recording of this song clearly points to the eighth note as the agogic (primary) beat.

In This Series...

Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost 2018 — Planning Notes Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost 2018 — Planning Notes Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost 2018 — Planning Notes Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost 2018 — Planning Notes