Leaders are Raised Up | AND IN THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WORSHIP SERIES
Come, Holy Ghost, Our Souls Inspire
VENI CREATOR is one of the most well known melodies throughout the history of the ecumenical church, but it may well be unfamiliar to your congregation. Both the text and tune of this work are historic, but a proper tune for your setting will make this Pentecost hymn more poignant. If your church is familiar with this tune, that is wonderful! If another is needed, you might want to try DUKE STREET (No. 101) or HURSLEY (No. 339) from The United Methodist Hymnal. Because of syllabic emphasis at the beginning of each stanza, my preference between these two is HURSLEY (339). Accompany with organ or piano.
This modern worship music song has become a classic. I recall first hearing it sung by the band Third Day in the 1990s, and I developed a deep love for it during my college years. The text invokes the image of the choir of angels in Revelation 5:12, singing, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (NRSV) If using percussion with this song, make sure the drums do not play the triplet rhythms every time. Too much of the wavering rhythmic patterns can make the congregation a bit “seasick.” Continue a four-beat pattern instead. For maximum effect, begin with a soft “Alleluia,” and work toward a climax at the chorus. The ideal key is A. The ideal key for congregational singing is the original key of A, and accompaniment can range from solo piano or guitar to full band.
God, the Spirit, Guide, and Guardian
Written as an ordination hymn, this work by Carl P. Daw, Jr. emphasizes first the work of God the Spirit in consecration and commissioning people for ministry. What this creates, in effect, is an alteration of the usual Trinitarian form of many hymns and a reversal of the order of divine address (Spirit, Savior, Creator). The last stanza addresses the entire Trinity. HYFRYDOL certainly gives a formal air to the text, and it is recommended with organ or piano accompaniment. However, with an 87.87 D tune, there are many other options as well, which can be found on pages 928-929 of The United Methodist Hymnal. Read History of Hymns: "God, the Spirit, Guide, and Guardian" »
I Will Follow
With a quasi-paraphrase of Ruth 1:16, this modern song takes the words of Ruth and creates a mashup of sorts by placing her words alongside ours as we answer the call of Jesus to discipleship. Chris Tomlin is well known for singing in keys inaccessible to many, but the original key of Bb may work in your setting, depending on the singing ability of the congregation. If the key needs to be lowered, Ab or G would also be very accessible. The rhythms are syncopated, but are consistent throughout, so internalizing the rhythms is not incredibly difficult. Accompaniment would be best with full band or solo guitar.
Become to Us the Living Bread
The images of bread, wine, and table serve as the framework for this Eucharistic hymn, which is a congregational prayer to support the presider’s words of the epiclesis (“Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here…”). The joy contained in this sung prayer is well matched with the GELOBT SEI GOTT tune, which has a dancing quality to it if accompanied thusly. Singing the melody a cappella, either in unison or parts, would also be a powerful statement as people gather at the table. This would require preparation for the congregation beforehand, however, and it might be a good hymn to sing for a number of weeks when the church gathers for communion to build a congregational memory and appreciation of the text and tune. If not accompanying with organ or piano, consider a hand drum, guitar, and flute to create a Renaissance-like character.
For the Bread Which You Have Broken
This beautiful tune from Taiwan opens up many creative ways to sing this hymn by Louis F. Benson. Many congregations may know the setting of this on the previous page, UMH No. 614, but the melody of BENG-LI creates a mysterious, flowing line that meanders along throughout an F-Major pentatonic scale. This five-pitch scale can be found throughout Asian music, as well as other folk music around the world. You may choose to accompany the tune with organ or piano just as I-to Loh composed, but you may also experiment with a unison melody and an improvised accompaniment using the notes of the F pentatonic scale (F, G, A, C, D). Almost any combination of notes works to accompany. Also feel free to add a finger cymbal on count 4 of measures 4 and 8. Read History of Hymns: "For the Breach Which You Have Broken" »
Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart
This hymn represents a personal longing for the Spirit to enter our hearts and “teach” us–to feel the nearness of God, the struggles of our souls, the patience of an unanswered prayer, and to love God more dearly. MORECAMBE is a beautiful tune that your congregation should know, especially in its musical passion in the last two lines as it moves to the climax at the beginning of the final line. However, if your church is not familiar with this tune, another option would be to use the tune FINLANDIA (“Be Still My Soul,” “This Is My Song,”), and sing the last two lines twice to complete the stanza for that tune. Read History of Hymns: "Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart" »
With All I Am
The congregation is best served in this song to learn and sing the chorus while a soloist sings the verses. This song is a classic example of how notes on a page can actually complicate music-making at times. The congregation will learn the chorus much better with words only, allowing their ears to guide them. The syncopated rhythms, while not difficult, will only visually complicate things. The third phrase of the chorus (“You’re the reason that I live”), however, should be an important part of teaching the tune. Singing the first two phrases will entice the congregation to leap from D to B, rather than the D to A included in the third phrase. It can be taught, but it may take some time at the beginning of worship. Placing unfamiliar music at the end of a service is tricky because the end of the service sends people out into the world and the rest of their week. Songs placed here don’t need to always be familiar, but if they are not known by the congregation, teaching time before the service begins can be valuable for the flow of worship. The song is best accompanied by full band, solo piano, or solo guitar.