November 2018 Post-Pentecost Worship Planning Series

Twenty-Sixth Sunday After Pentecost 2018, Year B

Jesus came to free us from the chains of shame and created the church as a place for us to be vulnerable and challenge one another in love. Regularly, we all still sin and fall short of who God desires us to be; but through vulnerability and accountability, we can hold the things we’ve done up to who we want to be without letting those things define or paralyze us.

Dwellings Worship Series, week 3 — CONFIDENCE
November 18, 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.

Fix Me, Jesus

Source: Songs of Zion, 122; The United Methodist Hymnal, 655
Recommended Key: E–F
Tempo: 60–64 bpm
Instrumentation: a cappella, organ or piano if needed
Notes: This spiritual is set in the same style as “Were You There” and is best sung slowly, with as much space needed to make long, lyrical phrases. The vocal setting in Songs of Zion is simpler, especially on the antiphonal verses. Consult both sources and sing the setting that would work best in your context. As with other spirituals, a cappella singing is preferred to embrace the authenticity of performance practice.
Resources: History of Hymns: "Fix Me, Jesus" »

I Am Thine, O Lord

Source: Mil Voces Para Celebrar, 218; The United Methodist Hymnal, 419
Recommended Key: A
Tempo: 88–96 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ, piano, or American folk ensemble
Notes: This hymn is often sung in a traditional approach–with organ or piano accompaniment–but would also work well with a bluegrass or other American folk-styled ensemble. If an ensemble with guitar is used, the key of G would also offer a good key for congregational singing. I would encourage holding the fermata on the word “Lord” (in the refrain) for three full beats before proceeding.
Resources: History of Hymns: "I Am Thine, O Lord" »

Living for Jesus

Source: The Faith We Sing, 2149
Recommended Key: F
Tempo: 116–124 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ or piano
Notes: This older hymn has quite a sentimental quality to it, but I find the most useable part of it to be the refrain, which can be used as a prayer response within the liturgy. It can easily serve as a song of commitment, offered in thanksgiving for Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
Resources: History of Hymns: "Living For Jesus" »

Victim Divine

Source: The Faith We Sing, 2259
Recommended Key: A
Tempo: 62–68 bpm (half note)
Instrumentation: Organ or piano
Notes: Charles Wesley obviously had our lectionary passage of Hebrews 10 in mind when writing this hymn, which speaks of the connection between the sacrifices of priests and the sacrifice of Jesus, the High Priest. The final stanza bridges the gap between Scripture and the present, in which we encounter Jesus here and now (“We need not go up to heaven, to bring the long-sought Savior down”).

Wash, O God, Our Sons and Daughters

Source: The United Methodist Hymnal, 605
Recommended Key: F
Tempo: 70–76 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ or piano
Notes: BEACH SPRING is one of the most sung shape-note tunes in United Methodist collections, and it is a magnificent pairing with this text by Ruth Duck. This hymn includes some of Duck’s signature imagery, which presents an expansive view of the nature of God. Typically associated with baptism, this hymn can be used to claim the name of Christ any time during the church year.
Resources: History of Hymns: "Wash, O God, Our Sons and Daughters" »

Perfect Us in Love

Source: Discipleship Ministries (Burton-Edwards)
Recommended Key: D
Tempo: 82–90 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ, piano, or guitar
Notes: This Charles Wesley text has its roots in the Hymns and Sacred Poems (1742), but the opening stanza of this setting by Taylor Burton-Edwards has often been overlooked in hymnals because of a syllabic issue in the fourth line related to the word “perfect.” We have found a way to work through this and present it to you here as a lead sheet, with a choice of either using the tune ST. AGNES (without the refrain composed by Taylor) or the new tune PERFECT US. This hymn can serve as a wonderful prayer related to sanctification and the journey toward Christian perfection. Accompany with a piano, guitar, or small instrumental ensemble. Be sure not to make the accompaniment too complex, or the gracefulness found in its simplicity will be muddled. The refrain alone would also make a great prayer response for your church, regardless of style of worship.
Resources: Hymn (in Sibelius or PDF) »

Better Is One Day

Source: CCLI #1097451
Recommended Key: E
Tempo: 72-76 bpm
Instrumentation: Full band, piano, or guitar
Notes: One of the most popular CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) songs to have come from the 1990s, Matt Redman’s classic has been adapted across cultural lines and in different styles. We recommend this song of adoration as a possible theme song throughout the “Dwellings” series. Keep the rhythm of the accompaniment simple while the congregation sings the chorus, which resembles a rhythmic chant.

Soon and Very Soon

Source: Songs of Zion, 198; The United Methodist Hymnal, 706; Come, Let Us Worship, 385
Recommended Key: F–G
Tempo: 64–76 bpm (half-note)
Instrumentation: Full band, rhythm section, piano, or organ
Notes: This well-known gospel song of the late twentieth century is another suggestion for a theme song for this series, especially considering the hope found throughout these scriptural narratives, beginning with All Saints and ending with the Reign of Christ. The wide tempo suggested is based upon the variety of contexts in which it can be used.
Resources: History of Hymns: "Soon and Very Soon" »

Dwell in Your House

Source: CCLI #3001637
Recommended Key: A
Tempo: 92–100 bpm
Instrumentation: Full band, guitar, or piano
Notes: Another suggested theme song, this work from Hillsong turns the image of “dwelling” into where we may dwell with God. Inviting the congregation to sing the entire song or just the chorus are both appropriate approaches to this modern worship song.

Lord Reign in Me

Source: CCLI #2490706
Recommended Key:
Tempo: 92–96 bpm
Instrumentation: Full band or guitar with percussion
Notes: The final suggested theme song for this month, this text brings together the images of God’s dwelling place and the Reign of Christ into one song. The rhythmic, memorable chorus will “dwell” in your ear long after the sending forth is concluded. Using a percussion instrument with whatever is used for pitched accompaniment will help make the rhythmic syncopation throughout the song more accessible for the congregation.

In This Series...

Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Pentecost 2018 — Planning Notes Twenty-Fifth Sunday After Pentecost 2018 — Planning Notes Twenty-Sixth Sunday After Pentecost 2018 — Planning Notes Christ the King Sunday 2018 — Planning Notes